One Good Earbud combines both stereo channels into a single earbud, leaving the other ear open while you ride.
I occasionally receive requests to review various in-ear audio devices to review; I always decline because (1) covering both ears headsets is illegal in California per CVC 27400 and (2) I depend on my hearing to determine what’s around me.
I realize hearing impaired individuals can and do safely ride their bikes in traffic, but I don’t see the point of purposefully impeding one of my five senses if I don’t need to.
Still, I’ve cycled long, boring stretches of road where I could use an auditory lift. My typical solution has been to leave one earbud dangling while I listen to a single channel in my right ear. The missing channel makes some of my music sound funny, and that dangling earbud inevitably gets caught on something, often while I reach down for a water bottle.
Benjamin in San Diego, however, turned me on to One Good Earbud, which mixes the stereo channels into a single ear. Plugging only a single ear is legal in California, and I can still hear approaching cyclists (“on your left!“) and other traffic coming up from behind me.
It’s a simple, clever idea that works. Various earbud styles are available, including models with clips and mics, starting at about $20. You can buy these in any color you like, as long as it’s black. Outside of a handful of shops in Tucson, Arizona, One Good Earbud is available for purchase online.
These would make a good Christmas gift for the cyclist or runner in your life. One Good Earbud happened to send me an extra — so I’m giving it away on Wednesday, November 30 2011.
More info and purchase –> One Good Earbud.