[Note: Road Noise provided John and I with road noise vests for our review. We agreed to review the vests and provide our honest assessment.]
After months of riding indoors, the weather broke two weekends ago for a slight instant – just long enough for a 4-hour outside jaunt.
Outside, people! It’s been an especially brutal winter in the northeast – probably the coldest we’ve had in quite a few years.
While John and I have fixed up our pain cave quite nicely to permit winter training to continue, it is a poor substitute for the glorious, glorious open roads.
I was excited about this slight reprieve from wintry Mother Nature for two reasons:
1) I have only ridden outdoors twice since November. I have Raynaud’s, which means I’m not just being a wimp (although I am); cold weather riding HURTS my fingers and toes in a stingingly oppressive way.
2) I wanted to try my new Road Noise vest on the road.
What’s a Road Noise vest, you might ask?
Quite simply: It is the best friend an endurance athlete–runner or triathlete–could have on long training excursions.
As you can see from the picture, the Road Noise vest has speakers embedded near the shoulders. The key benefit is that you can hear the music, but you can also hear your breathing, footsteps, and most importantly the sounds in your environment–which is key for safety.
The idea for this product comes from Shelley Stout, who got creative when the Hood to Coast Relay Race banned the use of headphones, but not speakers that are below the head. She rigged up an early prototype, by hooking a speaker into her sports bra so she could still have music throughout the long, dark hours of running. That innovation eventually became the vest you see above. (You can read their story here.)
According to Shelley’s husband Rob Stout, fellow co-founder of the company, “Observing her contraption during the relay, combined with the reflective vest that’s required during the evening, is what lead to the idea to combine the two ideas into one.”
Voila! Road Noise was born.
The initial function of this vest was to serve a unique issue for runners. But when John first told me about it, my first thought went to my bike and those long 4-6 hour sessions, trudging alone through the pine barrens of New Jersey.
- How many times have I sung songs to myself?
- How many times have I wished desperately to have just a little bit of musical inspiration to help me through the rough patches?
- How many times have I wanted to throw my bike in a ditch in utter frustration due to how lonely and monotonous those long rides can be at times?
While I know that some people will wear earphones when they cycle, that is a chance I am not willing to take. Having been side-swiped by a car before, I would much rather slog through boredom than have a car run me into a ditch.
Call me crazy. I’m just super cautious that way.
Enter Road Noise. My new best friend.
Since we got the vests about 6 weeks ago, John and I have used the vests for both running and cycling. We’d like to offer our thoughts for those of you who are looking for just the type of solution that this vest provides.
How does it fit?
The vest fits over your shoulders and has adjustable velcro flaps that fit over the mid-section of your torso, right at the base of your rib cage.
The vest is light-weight–6.8 ounces for a large–featuring polyester mesh material, with 3M Scotchlite® reflective stripes that keep you visible while on the road. This is especially useful for those of you who like to run or bike in the darkness of the early morning or late evening.
John and I have been using our iPhones, which fit perfectly in the larger pocket. In fact, you don’t even know they are there: no bouncing, no jiggling, and no chafing. I thought maybe they would bounce around – but no. Snug as a bug in a rug – or, as I like to say,