Friday, January 17, 2014

Bicycle Toons

I love my righteous tunes. Starting with The Doors - Waiting For the Sun, released in '68 when I was 15, I accumulated 300-odd record albums over the next 20-odd years. I bought a CD player in '85 - they were expensive back then! And I started my collection of 800-odd CDs by purchasing the Cincinatti Symphony / Kunzel version of the 1812 Overture (Warning: Digital Cannons!), and Dire Straits' just-released Brothers in Arms. My tastes are eclectic - the collection runs from Abba to Z.Z. Top. And from Luciano Pavarotti to the Ramones. (Actually my wife and daughters swiped the Abba CD, and I never bothered to replace it. If they swiped the Z.Z. Top, there would be hell to pay!)

When I served as an LDS missionary in 1974-75 in Uruguay, I took a cassette player (a predecessor to the "Walkman," with stereo playback thru headphones) and 60-odd cassette tapes. Six days of the week, I was forbidden from listening, but on the seventh day I rested and listened. (Usually in the gym while the other missionaries played hoops.) Nowadays, missionaries are discouraged from listening to anything but "sacred" music, as it can change one's attitude. (I don't deny that... music is powerful stuff that we don't fully understand.)

I don't know if my love for music is tapering, but I don't find myself gravitating to it as often as I did, say 20 years ago. It's been several years since my teenagers hollered at me, "Will you turn that noise down?!!?" (Ha!) But I'm sure I still listen to several hours a week.

I know I don't buy nearly as many CDs as I once did. There's not that much "new" music that compels me. (I'm glad I'm not a teenager in 2014!) Santa did leave Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day double-CD and blu-ray (!) under the tree. Sah-WEEET! I've purchased some MP3-only music, and find some stuff on YouTube.

Now and then, when I'm bicycling in light or non-motorized traffic, I'll don the earplugs and listen to a side or two. And it's always enjoyable. But it's not compelling enough to make me surrender my ability to hear my surroundings ("situational awareness"), when I'm in heavier traffic. (Previous commentary HERE.) But increasingly, there are alternatives to earplugs.

Check these out...

The Scosche Boom Bottle fits in your bottle cage, connects wirelessly. Review HERE.

The Outdoor Tech OT Buckshot is a wireless speaker that you connect to your handlebars. Review HERE.

And if you want something with more "oomph" that can really annoy the folks who don't have the same tastes in music as you do, you might opt for the BikeBeatz - a gizmo that attaches to your rear rack, has 240 watts and two 6x9 speakers.

(I'll probably pass on all of 'em. If they're loud enough to sound good, then they're probably loud enough to intrude on other peoples' space... know what I mean? That punk kid who's got a $1000 beater car with a 10,000-watt, $5000 stereo, and rolls down your street at 11:30pm, windows down, ghetto "tunes" cranked up? I don't want to be him!)

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