Newsletter: loud engines and quiet corners

Happy Friday,

It’s been warm enough recently that I made the mistake of leaving my windows open last night. As I groggily shut them at 4:00am after being woken up for the third time by the flatulent ruckus of some goober flooring it in their Dodge Charger when the traffic light changed, I was reminded of a phrase you hear often in urbanism: “cities aren’t loud, cars are loud.

In addition to the baseline cacophony of tires on concrete, wailing brakes, and thundering truck downshifts, here in the U.S. we’re also plagued by a particularly antisocial brand of consumerism whereby people spend a lot of extra money to make their cars and trucks even louder. There’s a whole industry built on this (though the EPA is cracking down). Part of me gets it—being loud is fun. But inside a car, loud exhaust is mostly muffled to a dull rumble (plus, fun fact: the engine noise inside modern vehicles is mostly fake). I subscribe to the theory that loud exhaust is not really about the sensory experience, it’s about taking up space—forcing yourself into the attention of everyone around you. The thrill of antisocial disruptiveness is the point. 

We all do what we can to deny the cold indifference of the universe, but I sure wish the car culture crowd would find a way to do so that doesn’t undermine the health and safety of the rest of us.

This is all to say that one of the great things about bikes is that in addition to usually being quiet themselves [pause for pointed eye contact with each of the Chris King hub owners reading this], bikes are uniquely good at getting you to quiet places. You can get farther away from the hubbub than you might on foot, and you don’t have to drive to get there.

A few of my favorite spots for a quiet thermos of coffee on a bike ride:

Got a favorite bike destination for peace and quiet that you don’t mind sharing? Let me know!

Things to do this week:

A Fun Route Idea For the Weekend

Let me tell you, when Alyssa, our DC Organizer, plans a theme ride, she does not mess around. A few weeks ago she led a ride described as follows: 

  • 60 miles.
  • Seven Taco Bells. 
  • Eat at least one item from each Taco Bell, no repeat items. 
  • Bonus 1999 mode: all hydration must be Baja blast.

Here’s her route. It’s mostly trails. WABA believes in you. 

Have a great weekend.