It started out when my friend had an unfortunate accident involving a roof rack, a Cannondale CAAD8 and a car port...
Once the nastiness was out of the way, eyes dried and a suitable replacement found, the mangled remains of the CAAD8 sat unloved down the side of my mate's conservatory, until one day when I questioned what was happening to them. The answer was they were destined for the local tip, but I got the impression that my friend couldn't quite bring himself to part with the husk of his first proper bike - the bike that had seen him ascend the Pyrnees for the first time.
So I asked him if I could have it. Soon enough, I was in the shed setting about it with an angle grinder - I'd had a vision and the result was something louder than any cow bell I've come across when bashed with an old MTB skewer sourced from the darkest depths of the shed. Like any real instrument, it needs a bit of practice to get the most out of if, but it's worth learning to do right so you can produce the loudest sound possible.
And that's the great thing about going to see a bike race - the atmosphere - it's not just the noise, all of your senses are lit up, but the noise is something special. Cross has cowbells (a clubmate has a cowbell/claxon combo); my sister informed me that the chosen noise-makers at Meribel last week were chainsaws (sans chain) getting the nuts revved off them; then there's airhorns, vuvuzelas, home made Heath Robinson stuff and the grand tours have... well... they have everything from unrelenting house pumping out of a sorted PA on Alpe d'Huez to traditional accordion music!
The sound of bike racing is amazing, the passion and excitement that fans have is right there on the surface, you can hear it for miles. We talk about being lucky to get as close as we get to our favourite riders, our idols, and it's great to be able get up close and cheer them on. Get digging in the shed, see what you can find that'll make a racket, then take it down to your local bike race, hill climb, cross race and enjoy making some noise!