It didn’t seem like it was that long ago. There I was, just another older guy on a road ride sort of keeping up but having a good time. However, I was bugged because many of the other riders seemed to be able to keep up a conversation with one-another while riding but I felt like an outsider. I’d fake responses or use generalized answers like “Oh yeah?”, “Hmmmm”, or the always effective, “Wow!”. As sometimes happens as one gets older (OK, we’ll distinguish between old – as in my Dad was old – and older – as in I’m getting older but not old. Yeah, right…), one’s hearing is not as good under certain circumstances as it once was. I really noticed this on road rides as the speed increased and the wind made buffeting noises around my ears. I saw the Endless Cycles post about a new product, Wind Blox, that claimed to mitigate this effect and, possibly, allow me to hear other riders. “Hey”, I thought, “I’m in!”
I talked to Jeff at Endless about this product and he offered to let me beta-test a pair. In electric lime green. Yeah, Endless colors and they worked! But they also stood out like electric lime green growths from my head. Not cool. And, being that I had already pretty much lost my cool card some years ago, definitely not cool. But I wore them on one of the Endless Saturday road rides and I seemed to hear better. Wow! No, really, Wow!!
Right around the same time, one of my sisters had also seen Endless’ blog about Wind Blox. She wasn’t sure Endless would sell them so she got a pair directly from the manufacturer and gave them to me. The difference was that my sister gave me a black pair. These blended in much better with my helmet straps and elicited fewer comments from the cycling cognoscenti.
Still, being a part-time skeptic, I took them off for a ride to see whether I was imagining the improvement. I then put them back on my road helmet and have kept them there ever sense. They work. Yes, I still get some comments about the way they look, but I file them into the same category as those comments I used to get about my first Camelbak hydration pack before they became so ubiquitous: Comments like, “Hey, robo-biker!” or “Why not have the water/hydration fluid delivered directly to your veins by catheter?” It’s tough being a cutting edge trend setter. But now I’m one that isn’t dying of thirst AND can hear while riding a bike!