How to make the best sounds when you go to watch a bike race.

by SamShaw   August 31, 2014  


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!

5 user comments

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I think we need an audio clip so we can pass judgement on the quality of the racket you can make!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
29th August 2014 - 10:49

1 Like

notfastenough wrote:
I think we need an audio clip so we can pass judgement on the quality of the racket you can make!

5 seconds in!

Twitter: @velosam

SamShaw's picture

posted by SamShaw [324 posts]
29th August 2014 - 11:03


SamShaw wrote:
they have everything from unreleting house pumping out of a sorted PA on Alpe d'Huez


posted by farrell [1949 posts]
29th August 2014 - 11:26


I have an antique cow-bell from Chamonix. Took it when I went to see Wiggo in the Olympics and to various demos, Surrey Classic etc.

posted by Recumbenteer [156 posts]
29th August 2014 - 17:02


I think the chap in this video has got it nailed. You can see the finest example of his work at 1:26, where coincidentally he's heckling someone in kit! Anyone we know?

Ride in Oxford? Come and join the Cowley Road Condors cycling club, Oxford's friendliest cycling club!

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posted by tom_w [191 posts]
1st September 2014 - 9:48