WHEN YOU RIDE A BIKE THERE ARE MANY interesting sounds that seep into your ears if you’re paying attention. Sounds that you normally never hear while motoring in a car or even taking a short walk. Take a nice long ride on your bike and pay attention to the symphony of life that is all around you.
Here are a few things I hear while riding my bike
Nature. I ride on several rural or tree lined roads in NE Florida that are teeming with wildlife. I get to experience squirrels chattering, birds singing, the screech of a hawk flying high above, the sound of horse hooves running in the corral next to me, rabbits running through the brush, and other animals including deer and the occasional alligator, and they all make noises that add to nature’s choir.
Children playing. When my ride is nearing its end, I make a final turn near my house where there’s a school yard. There’s nearly always children playing outside on the playground. There’s really nothing that can compare to a yard full of kids running, swinging, sliding, laughing and having fun together. To me it sounds like pure joy.
Commerce. I often hear jets and small aircraft flying overhead, boat horns signaling to open the drawbridge, and the ferry blowing its air horn as it departs the dock. I also hear trains clicking down the tracks, and train signals at crossings.
Voices. When I ride through the historic part of San Marco, I often stop at a red light near a restaurant with umbrellas and sidewalk dining. For a moment or two I can eavesdrop on conversations and hear the laughter of people enjoying one another’s company while sharing a meal.
Wind. I love the white noise of the wind rushing past my ears. Headphones or earbuds have become a fashion accessory these days, forcing media into your ears nonstop. I enjoy a break from the noise, a break from music, a break from the screams of advertising. Listening to the wind is a welcome relief.
My bike. When I get farther out of town I hear things closest to me. I hear bike tires rolling on pavement, chain movement when I shift gears, and the clicking of a coasting rear hub.
Me. I hear my breath. I enjoy listening to my breathing. When it’s deep and clear, I feel like I’ve done something good for my body. When its raspy or strained, like after having a cold, I know I am working to make myself well again.
Take a nice long ride or your bicycle, leave the earbuds at home, and pay close attention to the myriad sounds you’ll hear. You will gain a renewed sense of community, and it may even bring back some memories of when you rode your bike as a kid. The sounds of life are happening all around you. The symphony is free of advertising and the sounds just may renew your spirit.