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Old 01-09-13, 12:09 AM   #1
Rowan
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Smells and cycling

This is probably and oldie but a goodie to help ward off the winter blues.

What smells have really got your attention while out cycling? And what memories from another non-cycling encounter do they bring back? Both good and bad...

When riding the Rhine Route a couple of months ago, we had to go through a section right next door to what I presumed was a metal refinery. A canal barge was unloading a reddish sand on one side, and the refinery was on the other.

There is a smell that permeates from such industrial complexes and it's difficult to describe. It's sort of a sharp, metallic baked-earth smell, which I suppose it was.

But it reminded me of the smell that came from the zinc refinery on the shores of the Derwent River that, as a member of a foursome rowing crew, we would ride past every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

What about your nasal recollections both recent and past?
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Old 01-09-13, 12:30 AM   #2
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The unfair smells when riding past restaurants at the local mega mall shopping area. Krispy Creme, steakhouse, chinese place etc.

Also riding past the local Busch brewery. Mmmmm.... Beeerrrr....
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Old 01-09-13, 12:37 AM   #3
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THe good, Peach and Apple orchards - blooms and fruit. The bad, Hog farms in the spring. Thats a stench that goes for miles and miles.
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Old 01-09-13, 12:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by look566 rider View Post
The unfair smells when riding past restaurants at the local mega mall shopping area. Krispy Creme, steakhouse, chinese place etc.

Also riding past the local Busch brewery. Mmmmm.... Beeerrrr....
Yes, we rode past some whiskey distilleries in Scotland, and while I can't drink whiskey after an unfortunate incident with a bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label in my early 20s, the smell certainly was alluring.
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Old 01-09-13, 04:36 AM   #5
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Some of my routes can take me through farmland (crops). Normally it is great, it has very few vehicles and lots of open roads. Every now and then, they spread liquid manure.........now that's a treat! When I get home, the smell seems to be on me and my clothes. I get right in the shower and clothes in the wash.
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Old 01-09-13, 05:44 AM   #6
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White tail deer musk in the woods - you smell it where there they had been "marking". It gets your attention.

Sometimes, a rotting animal in the ditch hidden from a roadside view. Yuck.

There's a 3-mile perfect loop that I ride for fitness at night and in the winter (near my hoouse), where I can choose the number of times around for a particular workout. It passes through a neighborhood where I simetimes smell marijuana smoke.

Several of our Potomac River parks share access with undergound sewage and storm drain lines. That smell isn't so pleasant.
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Old 01-09-13, 05:51 AM   #7
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50/50 mixture of Phil's Tenacious & Finish-Line/Tri-Flow has an unmistakeable fragrance, and not only reminds me of many happy hours in the workshop, but that all is well-lubricated and happy!

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Old 01-09-13, 06:04 AM   #8
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Our Sunday morning club rides leave bright and early in the morning and takes different routes each week. The best smell of all the rides is riding through some of the residential areas when they are cooking bacon for breakfast. Wants to make you knock on their door and see if you can get invited. My daily rides are in a wilderness MUP where I get the standard smells of the wild.
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Old 01-09-13, 06:24 AM   #9
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Overheating brake pad smell from both front disc brakes because the local police stopped me at the bottom of a long hill south of London en-route to Dover during the return ride home to Copenhagen in 2011. His radar said I was doing 74 kmh (about 45 mph). I was hoping to carry that speed up the next few hills. The smell filled the cabin of my velomobile while the officer chatted me up, eventually letting me off with a warning and the knowledge that I had to climb the next rolling hills very slowly in my lowest gear (the first was at least a mile long and I was carrying all my camping equipment with me).
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Old 01-09-13, 06:50 AM   #10
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Country riding in Kentucky!
Spring - lilac bushes! Corn ( almost makes me feel like I'm riding in a Fritos bag).
Summer - Barbecue. Someone always has it fired up. Road kill. Yuck.
Fall - perfume bombs on group rides.
Winter - only time I'll ride out to Rubbertown. Ick.
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Old 01-09-13, 07:14 AM   #11
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From my youth, growing up in a rural area where about half the road traffic was horse drawn vehicles, you were never far away from the smell of horse droppings.
In the village where I lived, there was a sawmill and a feed mill. Both contributed a distinctive odor.
For much of the summer and fall, the smells of harvest were in the air. And of course, the smell of fermented manure freshly spread on the fields.
As we used to say about the air, dunno about fresh, but it sure is country.
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Old 01-09-13, 07:20 AM   #12
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Some of my favorite smells actually come with my winter rides. On one route I pass a place that makes Pizzelle cookies, and the scent of anise fills the air for about a half mile before and a half mile after the shop. On another ride I pass a bread bakery, and if you ride early enough in the morning, the air is filled with the smell of baking bread.

Now in terms of summer riding, I favor the routes taking be past lilacs in the spring and honey suckle and wild roses in the summer. During the hottest part of summer, there is one ride that takes me through a valley with acres of old trees on either side of the road. The rich damp smell of peat, along with the cool air is hard to beat.
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Old 01-09-13, 07:52 AM   #13
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Several: the Chicago stockyards is the biggest. The Vernon California (Los Angeles River) meat packing area. The auto tire reclamation yard with its distinctive smell of tires.

I can imagine what the smell of Gary Indiana, East Chicago would be like.
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Old 01-09-13, 07:55 AM   #14
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When I ride through the southside (the less affluent part) and I can smell the Mexican food cooking. I want to knock on doors and invite myself in for dinner.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 01-09-13, 08:13 AM   #15
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Good stuff: the molasses smell from the sugar refinery in downtown Toronto, and the fresh aroma of baking bread from the Leslieville bread factory.

Bad stuff: The always-there stink from the sewage plant on Lake Ontario, and that acrid ammonia smell when you ride past a big, white poultry barns.
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Old 01-09-13, 08:31 AM   #16
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Yeah, there is a water treatment plant near the river trail here. When the wind blows right....
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Old 01-09-13, 08:36 AM   #17
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Spring early summer in the deep south brings the smell of the Magnolia trees blossoming, early spring the sweet olive shrubs bloom, spring though late fall has the smell of earth from the cotton and soybean farms I ride through. There is always the warm, sharp smell of horse dropping road apples from the horseback riders all over our rural area for the entire distance it is possible anywhere along the roadway. Just ride around them and wave at the Mennonite families riding around their farms. Late evenings and weekends has the smell of charcoal grills and steaks, chicken and ribs cooking from early spring through the mid-fall.

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Old 01-09-13, 09:07 AM   #18
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This time of year, all I smell are laundry soap and fuel oil, maybe because all my riding is done in the cellar, bike is between the washer and dryer, and the oil furnace is over in the corner, it doesn't smell that much, you get a whiff when it fires up, but that's all. Worst smell riding, going along a road, after the garbage truck had been by in the summer time , nicest smell, spring when the blossom trees are in full bloom....
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Old 01-09-13, 09:21 AM   #19
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Wild onions growing in the woods and cultivated tobacco growing in the fields that I enjoyed commuting to Heidelberg.

Fields of hyacinth in conjunction with the visual beauty of the fields of tulips in bloom while cycling in The Netherlands in the spring. Reminds me of nothing else because nothing else comes close.

Commuting past an Iowa ethanol plant reminds me of the smell of Sunday mornings after a hard partying beer drinking Saturday night.

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Old 01-09-13, 09:42 AM   #20
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My morning commute takes me by the Sara Lee Bakery. Hmmmm! Fresh baked bread!
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Old 01-09-13, 09:43 AM   #21
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Wild anise (or maybe fennel) on the American River Trail: the strong licorice smell makes me hungry!
Dead skunk: makes me want to go really fast.
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Old 01-09-13, 10:25 AM   #22
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Just want to say that this gets the Biker395 award for the best thread title of the week.

Now that that's out of the way, here's my two cents:

Good: Bacon
Bad: Toss up between dead bodies and homeless people.

Nice commute, eh?
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Old 01-09-13, 10:39 AM   #23
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One road out of town has a pork rendering plant, another has a large production bakery. I don't have to tell you which road I take.
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Old 01-09-13, 11:17 AM   #24
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Dirt roads after rain. Burgers on backyard grills. Spring flowers.

Chicken houses in August.
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Old 01-09-13, 11:28 AM   #25
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The myriad smells of a damp forest floor - evergreens, decaying leaves, berries, pollen. Newly plowed or fertilized fields. Freshly-cut grass and the exhaust from lawnmowers. Horses.
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