i’m a geek. i’m also a geek that loves music. so, when it comes to working out, i’m just nuts about the technology that allows me to take hours worth of my music out on the road or trail with me. the one ongoing drawback of this technology, though, is how it reduces your ability to be aware of your surroundings. i refuse to run with music if i’m out on city streets, whether running or cycling, and with recent wilderness issues in southern california, even trails aren’t safe to run on with music.
AirDrives, interactive stereo headphones, are a new product that successfully addresses the issue of being cut off from your surroundings while wearing earphones. i tried these bad boys out a couple times over the past few weeks and have been really impressed with how the product works. the design has the earphone wrapping around the ear and sitting outside the ear. at first i was somewhat skeptical, thinking that the sound quality would be poor, but i was quite wrong and was immediately impressed with the sound quality AND the ability to hear my surroundings clearly.
i ran with them on busy streets and was able to hear my music very clear as well as approaching cars and ambient noise. toward the end of one of the longer runs, the sound did start to get a little quieter. i can’t say if that was a result of more power drain from the earphones or if my ipod was just running low on juice.
i also took them for a spin out on the bike. again, i was skeptical of the sound quality. i turned the volume up a little bit more than i have it when i run, and i was pleased to have decent sound. when i rode into a really strong headwind, the music got a little tough to hear, but was on par with what the earbuds sound like when riding into the wind.
the key thing that i noticed, though, was that in all cases, i was able to hear approaching cars, ambient noise and people’s voices. i’m very pleased with the product’s performance and excited about what this means for runner and cyclist safety.
get them online or at your local best buy for $99.99. the sticker price is a little bit higher than what i thought they’d retail at, but, seeing as it’s christmas time, i’d say put them on your list and talk your loved ones into investing in your safety.