Of our 5 senses (6 if you are extra special), smell has the most receptors and can pick up the greatest variety. Hearing is pretty good--until you are older--and I'll never scoff at sight. Touch is actually fairly limited--pressure, vibration, stretch--but smell... smell can pick up hundreds of thousands of primary scents. Nearly everything we smell is a bouquet of odors. Some of these we know well.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Gasoline, for example. Nearly everyone knows what gasoline smells like. Lithium grease has a distinctive odor, as well. In fact, every lube has its own smell so it is possible to identify which grease or other lubricant is used where on a bike. Some of the odors can be pleasant, some are not.
Please don't go huffing your lubes. While the odor might be pleasant, the chemicals are not.
Away from the work bench, out on rides, we are assaulted with new smells. Spring is distinctive, as is summer and fall. Here in Oregon, we get the smells of the forest--pine and fir trees, the occasional dead rotting animal carcass, flowers in bloom, and the different types of dirt.
Not to mention the spot of animal poo on the trails from time to time. I think that these are their just to keep us awake and on our toes during the more mundane sections of trail.
On the road, the smells aren't quite to good. Sure there are still the trees and flowers, but mingled with are the smells of cars of trucks--bio-diesel STINKS. Seriously. Worse than any other fuel. The rotting animals, many of them skunks, seem to be more potent and more frequent.
But the smell that I do not understand at all is one of massive body odor. There are two places I've ridden regularly that smell like a very, VERY large stinky person. Who never showers. Or even knows what deodorant is.
I have no idea what is causing this odor.
I used to think that it was me. You know, we all get stinky by the end of the ride, so I rode the route backwards and the odor was still there. And only there, no where else on the route. I also thought it might have been a fellow rider--we've all been on a group ride with someone who is ripe--but no, the odor was there when I rode solo.
While the smells of cycling are part of the sport, I really wish that I could figure out what was making this short section of road smell so bad.
For now, I'm just going to hold my breath.