101 reasons to love cycling in London #7 - the sound of silence

I challenge anyone who finds what I am about to say odd or in anyway outlandish, to walk or cycle the length of Old Street between the Old Street roundabout and Shoreditch at peak rush hour on a Monday morning, and then assess again what I say here:

We should love cycling in London because, as a machine, bicyles are the most silent of all for transporting us around the city.  I love the idea that we can propel ourselves down broad city streets with nothing but the whirr and hum of gears and tyres on tarmac.  Anyone who has been on a mass participation cycling event on roads that have been closed to other vehicles will vouch for the fact that they are almost eerily quiet.

Automobiles, of course, are a different matter all together - each internal combustion engine makes noise - each tonne of car pressed onto the road makes surface sounds.  One engine makes a row - a hundred make a cacophony.

Now, recent studies are helping us to understand the impact of this noise on our lives within urban environments more.  Traffic noise, it seems, is so bad for us that it does, in fact, kill.  It contributes to stress, high blood pressure, to coronary disease, and prolongued exposure can lead to tinitus.

All this aside, there is something joyeous about the quiet progress of a bicycle - and, perhaps more importantly, that progress is not to the detriment of others.  Who ever heard of a bike making you deaf, or worse?
The quiet, almost silent sound of a bicycle is the sound of good health all round - yet another reason to love cycling in London.

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