Yup, on my morning commute the sound of a car’s left hand tires hitting the Botts Dots behind me adds a smile to my face every time I hear it.
My mountain commute roads are narrow, two lane, no bike lanes, are steep and have almost no sight lines in many of the sharp turns due to the trees and forest growth coming right down to the edge of the lane.
For me the two most comforting sounds when on a steep section of my morning commute is not the babble of the streams I pass nor the songs from the birds that are singing, it is the sound of those car wheels decelerating (it is very distinctive) combined with the very clear sound of the tires on the left side of the vehicle hitting the Botts Dots lining the center line. Those two sounds mean the car driver saw me, is slowing and is giving me room by moving over into the oncoming lane. Ya gotta love that; I wave a thank you every time a car does that.
You may ask, “why the sound from the wheels?”
‘Cause, that’s how I keep track of approaching vehicles in that kind of environment, especially when climbing. It is not by sight of the car, nor by the sound of the engine; on most modern cars you hear the rumbling sound of the tires on the chip seal roads echoing off the trees long before you hear the car motor. The tire sound can be heard far away, as it bounces off the trees, that it is usually not possible to determine if the car is approaching from ahead or behind until it gets close, yet the vehicle is still out of sight on the narrow roads. What it means, if I can’t see them, they still have not seen me as they rush to get the kids to school or get themselves to work. These mountain commuters know these tiny roads well and drive them very fast.
The flip side; when you don’t hear those two sounds as the approaching tire sound gets closer, YIKES! I then do a very vigilant head check and prepare to take evasive action.
Typical road I ride
My little friends that talk to me; meet the Botts Dots