creative zen ftw! - I own a zen 4gig and a zen mosaic 8gig,
i love them both, they can really take quite a beating (i once left mine outside on the table during a thunderstorm, next morning, picked it up, left it to dry and it still worked) and they are very reliable and have great battery life....
+ imho theyre more compact then ipods, maybe volume tells otherwise, but their shape fits better in your pocket...
shuffle is best for riding
i once had to have the lift operator tell me my ipod was dragging on the ground the whole way down the run
it was still playing
My Zune 16 Gb is the best thing I've ever seen. Everyone rips on Zunes when they've never touched one, but it's great for riding with big playlists. If you get a Shuffle they only hold about 220 songs. I lved my Zune til the screen cracked when i dropped it :(