The Sounds of Cycling

Gearheads have the roar of their engines. Racquet sports people have their thwack. Footballers have their punt, kick, and all the hitting, yelling, and grunting. Riding a bicycle involves making a variety of sounds. Here are some that come to mind.

Tires. Motorized vehicles have this, too. But they aren’t generating the power on their own, and it’s competing with the engine and other sounds. Biking brings you close to the road and depending on your tires, they will make a sound as you roll. At higher speeds, it’s almost like a singing sound. I think it’s pretty cool and hypnotic.

Nature. The birds, bees, and wind in the trees. Well, maybe not bees, hopefully one doesn’t get in your bonnet or helmet. Of course, being outside is a main attraction of bicycling. A creek next to the trail, leaves blowing across the road, the shriek of a hawk, or bark of a dog as it chases you — all are part of the possible soundtrack to your ride.

Gears. As you shift gears, the chain moves across the cassette with it’s teeth. This happens so often (unless you’re on a single speed), that it’s a sound you can’t really ignore. Uphill or downhill, you will be hearing this sound. It reflects the amount of effort you’re putting in, and is feedback of your work. Because of that, it is a pretty cool sound.

Brakes. Mine are squeaky right now because of all the use so my pads are probably worn down and need replacing. Then the front disc brake rotor got bent. Even when they don’t squeak this isn’t a soothing sound, but stopping is pretty much required. It signifies something important: I’m riding a lot and not running into things.

Breathing. Naturally your breath is a sound of cycling that you may not pay much attention to. But when you do, you may find as I did that your performance may increase, your stress decreases, and you become more absorbed in the activity. Of course if you’re huffing and puffing, maybe slow down a little. Whatever you do, definitely continue to make this sound!

Wheels. Good wheels make a distinctive clickety-clack as you ride. But it’s a lot smoother than that. It’s comparable to spinning a roulette wheel in Las Vegas. But as with gears, the more effort you put in, the greater the sound.

Clips. The sound of clipping one’s pedals into the pedals may be the most satisfying one of all. It’s when your bike shoe cleat fits into the corresponding part of the pedal. That is if you use clips. It’s like using a key in an old lock. The click means you’re about to ride (or you’re in mid-ride and stopping). To me, it sounds like “all right, let’s get to work, it’s business time.”

What are some other sounds of cycling?


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10 thoughts on “The Sounds of Cycling

  1. Two additional sounds – the whoosh of carbon wheels, especially when combined with the chain and riding in a group; and the crunch of light gravel when you ride off-road. Cycling really is an symphony for the senses.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I found things really tough, I sang. I sang anything I could remember … usually only two lines of a song, so then I moved to hymns not because I’m particularly religious but a) I needed every bit of help I could get and perhaps He might be willing to help and b) because we had to go to chapel most days at school, I still have some hymns imprinted on my brain. Then when that failed, I sang ‘Nelly the Elephant packed her trunk …..’ because I could do this in time to my pedalling. Uphill it was a fairly slow song, downhill … well downhill could get a tiddly bit fast. But it helped. By the way, I did a post today with you in mind! Hope it proves I’m not a completely hairy dude! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s all wonderful, that ks for sharing. Whatever gets one through the day, right?

      ‘Tis nice to be thought of. A bit behind on my reading but mis def will check it out posthaste and forthright.

      Like

  3. The crunch of leaves as an unseen critter makes its way through the roadside woods. The weird hollow sound of carbon fiber wheels cutting through the air. The ping of a stone bouncing off the underside of your downtube (unless your downtube is carbon fiber). The sound of a vehicle approaching from behind. The sickening thunk of an unseen pothole as you wonder if your wheel survived. The hiss of leaking air or the bang of a blowout. A conversation just far enough away that you can’t quite make out the words of your fellow riders as you wonder what you’re missing out on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And suffer. What does suffering sound like? A whimper perhaps, a sigh, a groan… All the above and more. Or maybe suffering sounds like nothing, because it’s the sound… of silence. Yes! I figured out how to work that in.

      Liked by 1 person

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