Ride with Tech – Getting started

You don’t need to buy new or expensive kit to ride with tech.  By simply using your mobile/cell, smartphone or mp3 player you’ll soon be hitting your favourite roads while listening to your favourite songs.

Just about all cell/mobile phones and smartphones today come supplied with a headset/earphones and preloaded music/media player software or App.

Of course you could also use and iPod (Touch/Classic/Shuffle/Nano) or any other MP3 player.

Some types of Smartphones may be better suited to motorcycling than others, although the headset will have the single biggest bearing on how well this works for you.

Headsets, headphones, earphones, earbuds or in ear monitors come in all shapes and sizes for all budgets.  It seems there are almost as many different headsets as there are diferent shaped ears.

Some will simply not fit comfortably underneath a motorcycle helmet and some will not feel comfortable in your ear.

I’ve long searched for the perfect headset and only recently found it by investing in custom molded in-ear monitors.  They are the ultimate solution but very expensive.

In my experience, all other shapes and sizes available off the shelf are a compromise.  I have a collection of headsets, discarded after a few uses in search of something better that will stay in the ear, is comfortable underneath a helmet and reduces road, engine and wind noise.

All ears are different but the pictures below will give you a guide as to the best types of earbuds for using with a motorcycle helmet.  But it is largely personal choice based on the shape of your ears so be prepared for a little trial and error.

Many riders already wear safety style foam earplugs to protect their hearing (all riders should do this) and so will adjust quickly to wearing headsets/earbuds.

If you have never worn earplugs then take some time to get used to the sensation of riding with something in your ears – it can feel a little uncomfortable at first but is something you will soon become accustomed to, provided you have a comfortable headset.

Keep the volume at a reasonable level, low enough so you can still hear your engine revving, horns honking and emergency sirens.  Hearing is an important sense when riding and the aim is not eliminate it completely.  And check that riding while listening to music does not breach your local laws.

Wearing a balaclava or buff will help keep the earbuds from falling out of your ears when pulling on your helmet.

When your helmet is finally on, ensure you do not experience any pain or discomfort from the headset.  Plug it into your Smartphone and start up your music player.  Select your favourite album, artist or playlist, adjust the volume (this may take a little trial and error) and put your Smartphone into your jacket pocket. You are ready to go.

Plan for a stop after a short distance to make any necessary adjustments to the volume or the headset.  If you experience prolonged pain or discomfort make sure you stop as soon as is safe and remove the headset completely.

But don’t give up, you may just need to try a different headset design.  If you have a few different styles of headsets maybe take them all with you on that first ride to test which are best for you.

And that’s all there is to it.   Why not give it a go this weekend.

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