One of the very cool things about riding a fixed gear is that they can be almost perfectly silent. One of the reasons that Monday's post was so late was that I was doing an overdue chain replacement on my fixed gear bike in the early evening. A clean fixed gear with a new chain makes about as much noise as a whispering ghost on Valium, which I can assure you is very quiet indeed. You know how a perfectly tuned geared bicycle can be super quiet as you pedal along? Fixed gears can be even quieter since they have no derailleurs or freewheels of any kind. Thanks to this quietness, I need to take special care to announce myself as I come up behind people on a path, because otherwise I may startle them badly, and startled people jump around in sometimes unexpected ways:
The silence thing scares me when the silence is on the four wheeled side too. A world full of nearly silent electric cars may pose some new risks. I forget whose blog I read it on, but apparently in some parts of the world electric cars are being fitted with noisemakers of some kind for precisely this reason. I rely heavily on my ears when I ride and use my eyes for confirmation when it comes to overtaking traffic.
So far I have used my voice (or human honking) for all of my audible communication needs. I don't really like bells, not sure why. Some cyclists use whistles, but I don't want to ride around clenching anything between my teeth other than a bubble pipe.
Yes, the pipe thing just screams high society style, but unfortunately it doesn't make any noise. Those insanely loud air horns seem like "startle in a can" to me, which I don't want. Maybe I'll just hang some pots and pans from my handlebars...
What freaks me out sometimes is that just about any nonsense I can think of has been photographed and posted online by somebody, somewhere. It reminds one of how many stinkin' people live on this planet. Let's hope we don't all honk at once.
Keep It Cranked,
R A N T W I C K