Trekz Aftershokz Titanium Bone Conducting Headphones

Lord Sugar might have been impressed with the Aftershokz bone conduction headphones but the Apprentices didn’t do a good job trying to sell their chosen cycle gadgetry on the show last week. Their one-track, safety-first mantra and lacklustre crowdfunding attempts led them straight back into the board room.

They did manage to tweak my interest though.

While I’m not too fussed about music, I have really missed listening to podcasts and audiobooks since I’ve started cycling into work again. There’s no way I would risk a London cycle commute with my usual in-ear plugs but something that keeps your ears open to the hustle and bustle of city life could offer a significant enhancement to my journey.

I got a pair and set off for my commute with the next audiobook on my list.

The first thing I noticed was that the fit was odd. They sit over your ears but then flip and flop around as you move your head, it’s particularly problematic if you have a hood or a collar.

Trekz Aftershokz Bone Conduction HeadphonesI checked some reviews and there has been a suggestion that the fit can be uncomfortably tight – not mine! I’m either wearing them wrong or I have a tiny head.

The headphones do come with a couple of elastic bands called fitbands that seem to serve zero purpose in improving the fit. I think I’ve put them on as described but will flip them around next week and see if there’s any improvement.

The sound quality is pretty good, you can get a reasonable volume and I could hear the narrator for most of the journey, she was obscured as I crossed Oxford Street with a dustbin truck to my right but the rush hour experience was generally impressive and most importantly I felt totally aware of what was going on a round me.

A review from ibtimes said:

It’s as if somebody is playing music through a speaker nearby, rather than listening to the music in your ears.

That’s exactly what it’s like and I can’t help thinking the bone conducting technology is just a big bluff. If I hold the headphones just slightly off my skin it doesn’t make any difference to the sound I hear or in fact to the sound my neighbour hears. It sounds likes its coming out of a little speaker because it is coming out of a little speaker.

Aftershokz by TrekzWhen the headphones are at full volume I do feel a vibration on my left cheek but it’s quite unpleasant actually, feeling like a static irritant.

I wouldn’t wear these in close proximity to others as there isn’t a great deal of privacy to be had and I prefer it if people next to me can’t tell what I’m listening to. Davina McCall was top of my audible playlist last week and I didn’t particularly want the world to know it.

The Bluetooth connection to my iPhone 6 was faultless, the battery apparently lasts an age and the controls on the headphones themselves are excellent. I love the big button on the left ear piece that does pause, fast forward, answer etc and can be controlled while wearing massive winter gloves. It’s perfect.

Overall I think the headphones are pretty good, the fit is shoddy and I don’t think there’s any sound enhancing bone conduction going on, but as a pair of near ear speakers that have brought the spoken word back into morning commute, I think they are excellent. That is 2 hours a day where I can multi task again – exercise, commute and read. That is something to be grateful for, and perhaps if I grew a ponytail the fit wouldn’t be so bad either.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Runners

I regularly review and recommend high value running gadgets such as GPS watches and the latest release running shoes but I spotted a load of low priced items at the Running Show last weekend and thought I should put together a Christmas gift guide to help you treat the runner in your life without breaking the bank.


Socks may appear to be an unexciting xmas fall back, but a good pair of running socks can make a heck of a difference to the state of your feet when you start building up the distance of your runs. I’ve been through a load of different brands but am now happy that I’ve found the sock that suits my needs.

X-Socks. I’ve built up such a fondness for these socks that I’m almost superstitious and would struggle to run an event without wearing the grey and orange version. These are easily my favourite running sock.

CompresSport Running Socks. I received a free pair of these at the running show and have been extremely happy with them. They are another expensive pair of socks at £15 but are remarkably comfortable and ooze quality.


I’ve been through many pairs of running headphones trying to find the perfect pair – headphones that will stay in place, deliver decent sound quality and preferably allow me to control my iPhone remotely.

Sennheiser PMX680 – These are my current headphones and are near-perfect for running. The neckband style headphones are very stable and never fall off but they can be inconvenient if you wear hats or glasses.

Yurbuds – I tried these out at the Running Show and would love to take them on a proper test.
They twist and lock into your ear so that you can tug on the cables and they stay in place. They have a number of models, one with a tangle free cable option and another with the microphone and remote control option that I’m so fond of. You need to get these sized to ensure they will lock into place so they aren’t the easiest gift option.

Injury Prevention

It won’t be long before the runner in your life starts to make those tell-tale groans that indicate an urgent massage is required. The next best thing to an on-site masseuse is a massage tool:

The Stick – a slightly flexible plastic stick around which a set of plastic spindles can independently rotate. It is these spindles that work on your muscles to ease out knots and release tension.

The Rumble Roller – If you have a cruel streak and a big wallet, you might consider the rumble roller. It’s an implement of torture and an expensive one at that but still remarkably effective at loosening tight knots. Its extremely hard to use without screaming a bit though.

Headbands, Visors and Hats

Halo Visor and Headband – I bought both of these items at the Running Show. I’d practically blinded myself at the gym the night before as the sweat was pouring off my forehead and the guys from Halo had an excellent display model demonstrating the effectiveness of the sweatbands with their unique sweatblock seal.

Jack Rabbit Caps – These are lovely running caps that you can customise with a logo, slogan or name.

Bags and Armbands

Workplay Fleetfoot II – This is great little running pack. The shape is designed to accommodate the curvature of a woman’s hips. I’ve previously written a more comprehensive review of the Workplay Fleetfoot II bumbag.

Y-Fumble – This is a stretch arm pocket that will grow to accomodate most of your carrying needs – keys, cash or phone and at only £6 it makes a great stocking filler or secret Santa gift.


Blood, Sweat and Tears – I downloaded this to my kindle last week and it has rapidly worked its way up to the top of my running books chart. It is easily the most enjoyable running book I’ve read to date. Moire is a fascinating character and I’ve really enjoyed following her exploits across the Wicklow Mountains. If you are ever so slightly inspired by crazy feats, gruelling multi-day mountain adventures and relentless doggedness you are going to enjoy this book. I’m already hoping for a sequel.

Ultramarathon Man – I’ve been recommending this for a long time. It was my first ultrarunning read and has started an obsession and a whole shelf of my bookcase has now been given over to the genre.

Born to Run – This book filled me with excitement and has obviously had the same affect on many others as it’s often cited as having inspired the worlds obsession with barefoot running. In parts it’s a hugely exciting tale of ultrarunning adventure, in others it’s an evangelical barefoot bible.

Running the Rift – it’s unusual to find a novel where running forms the major theme. This book tells the poignant story of Jean Patrick, a young Tutsi who has set himself the target of running for Rwanda in the Olympics.

Winter Gear

IceSpikes – I was quite excited by these. They are bolt like gadgets with sharp screw ends. You just screw them into the sole of your shoe and hey presto, you have an ice friendly outsole. They’re about £20 and come with a few spares and the tool for screwing them in. I’m going to turn one of my old pairs of running shoes into my standby ice runners and can’t wait to try them out.

Let me know if you think I’ve missed the perfect gift and I may be able to add it to Santa’s list.