Sunday, July 27, 2014

In Which I Hear The Sounds of RAGBRAI

Photo taken July 26 on hill on final day. Bikes make slight noises as they whiz by, the final day was sometimes characterized by lots of panting.

Some sounds are very familiar because I hear them every year,  some are more unusual, related to this year's bike ride.

But there is a unique set of sounds that I associate with RAGBRAI:

  • The jets: That jet-engine like “whoosh” that you hear as a large pace line of fast road bikes zooms by going 30 mph on a flat. That's an annual sound.
  • The low rumble: This year, there were many more of those “fat tire” bikes—those ones with tires that are three times as wide as the usual mountain bike. The bikers who are riding those bikes must be in fantastic shape, because they usually zoom by in the fast lane. They don't “whoosh.” They rumble like an approaching panzer.

We hear the sound of windmills.

  • The wump-wump-wump: One new sound is the sound of a windmill. If you see an electric generating windmill at a distance, you might assume it's silent. But if one is close enough to a windmill, there is a low, dull “wump-wump” sound as air is compressed between the blades and support posts. Some of those windmills are massive and so, close up, is there distinct sound.
  • The human-bike sounds: Bicycles and bikers make their own noises. The chains clank in their mechanisms; tires, when there are thousands of them, hum. You hear vocal signals, such as “bike on” or “rider off,” and, of course, the boom boxes.
  • The human horses: In a town, there is a clipity-clop noise that bike shoes, with their metal clips to hook pedals, make on pavement.

You overhear things, too. An interesting bike passed me today (I wrote this Thursday), which caused me to violate my “don't shoot while biking” RAGBRAI rule—it was a 5-seater, with a family, mother, father, and three rather young kids, with the youngest on one of those pedal-bike attachments at the end looking maybe 6 or 7. They seemed a happy bunch as they zoomed by, but, kids will be kids.

Because mom was saying: “No bickering on the bus” as they passed.

Note bike at left--5 on one. The bus.

Well, I don’t know how many days the bus was on the road, but I hoped they enjoyed their ride.

1 comment:

  1. Great sound memories. I have another one: the hum of only MY bike tires on the road with birds chirping on early Sat.morning and wind flowing past my ears.