Sunday, June 24, 2007


{words by carey}

On my way to Minneapolis, MN last weekend (Raleigh was giving away 50 Coasting bicycles for BikeTown), Reed handed me the newest issue of Rouleur before we boarded the plane. I love this periodical; it's tasteful, sophisticated, inspirational, and graphicly beautiful. Anyhow, there was an article titled "Bicycling Smells Good." Ahh, I thought, I have been wanting to write about this for a very long time, as this is something that is truely unique about cycling long distances. The air becomes not only something you intake to sustain your ride; it's also a stimuli for one of our strongest senses, smell.

Back in November when I first started commuting to Raleigh, Brian and I would ride through this one section of South Park and the air was concentrated with a cologne type fragrence. "Wow, it isn't even Friday night and someone's ready to hit the town," we thought. Next day, we roll through the same spot about the same time - same cologne. It has been 8 months since those first commuting trips for me and the cologne is always there. We are baffled by its source and how even on a windy or rainy day it's still present in the air. In a funny way we love to ride by this spot just to see if the smell is still there - the day when it's gone will be an intresting one and I don't know how I am going to react.

They say smell is one of your strongest memory senses and taste is not far behind. Just a quick whiff of sage can bring visions of deserts and a climbing trip for me or the smell of evergreens can conjure up visions of a snowy night that was spent in Estes Park drinking the most amazing wine I have had in my life while 3 feet of snow accumulated outside. The list goes on and on.

It's wonderful that when I mount my bike morning and night to head to and from Raleigh I am making memories not only through photographs and movement, but also by the smells of our routes. In particular, I love it when it has rained and then the sun is out drying the wood of a lumber yard that we pass - the smell of the pine is great and it reminds me of chainsaws. I never expereince this when I drive into work. I guess it's yet another incentive, benifit, suduction (or whatever you want to call it) to ride your bike to work. It's a wonderful thing.


1 comment:

AL said...

For sure. One of the best things about biking is breathing in all that good-smelling air--especially in summer.

I read somewhere that before it rains, the grass emits a different chemical--a planty pheromone--and that's why the air changes.