Cycling when you can’t hear what’s going on around you is not ideal, so listening to music or your favourite podcast when out on a bike is usually advised against, particularly when you’re on the road.
But advances in technology mean there is no reason not to forgo your soundtrack. Instead opt for headphones which let more of the outside world in while you listen. These cycle safe models offer a better chance of hearing possible hazards coming, while you sing along to your latest audio obsession.
Bone conduction headphones have been designed specifically with cycle safety in mind. They transmit sound through your cheekbones, leaving your eardrums free to hear everything else – be it a bus or another bike coming up behind.
Some wireless earbuds also carry transparency modes. In this case, they use microphones to pick up the sound around you and pipe it through the headphones alongside the audio you are playing – keeping you well aware of your surroundings.
Most good quality earbuds will also work while you only wear only one bud. This will allow you to keep the other ear clear to listen to traffic when you need to, preventing any surprises as you ride.
Helpful features also include wireless capabilities that connect to your phone or other device via Bluetooth. This will remove any pesky wires that could get caught or fall out while you move around on your bike.
We compiled a list of some of the best headphones out there for cyclists who want to keep their ears, as well as their eyes, on the road.
Shokz is the world’s leading bone conduction technology manufacturer and innovator, and this is their most advanced set of headphones yet.
Weighing only 26g, the lightweight frame means you hardly feel you have them on – but they still feel sturdy. They fit nicely beneath your helmet and are IP67 waterproof which will mean they will hold their own in a downpour.
They sound great, but more impressive is how much the bone conduction technology allows all the other sound in – it’s incredible how well you can really can hear others on the road. This does mean that when there is a lot of noise, it will affect how well you will hear what you are playing – but that’s what makes these headphones so safe for cyclists.
The OpenRun is the upgrade to Shokz’s previous flagship headphones Aeropex (which are being discontinued) and features a new quick charge function that gives you 1.5 hours of listening time off just a 10 minute charge. It’s a nice addition as it’s just a short wait for you to get them back up and running for your ride. Fully charged, you’ll get eight hours of battery life.
One thing to consider is that they are bulkier to take round with you than other earbuds and some also might not like the way the headphones vibrate against your cheekbones. It does take a little getting used to, but it’s not something that bothered us at all on the commute or during a ride around the park.
They come in four colours; black, blue, grey and red.