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Thread: Bells are nice

  1. #1
    Urban Biker jimmuter's Avatar
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    Bells are nice

    So I was walking to work this morning on a greenway path (my bike is a few adjustments away from being back in action), and I was daydreaming about something or other. I heard a loud but pleasant 'ring ring' and looked back to see 2 bikes coming my way, about 100 feet away. I had plenty of time to make sure I wasn't hogging the whole path and it didn't scare the S&*t out of me either. I thought they were wimpy before, but I think I'm going to outfit my bike with a bell now.

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    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    I've got one on my new bike. My three-year-old thinks it's the coolest, but I haven't actually needed to use it yet...

  3. #3
    Easily distracted...
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    My bell comes and goes, but I generally like having one. No substitute for yelling in tricky situations, but perfect for the one you described -- alerting people up ahead followed by a friendly comment. Or passing friends who are walking when a bell and a wave is the extent of the greeting. They don't weigh much and are nice for many friendly salutations.
    Safe, efficient, and comfortable transportation.

  4. #4
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    I love my bell. I use it all the time for exactly that situation.

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    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Another impression I have about bells is that people who hear them in the first place are more likely to associate them with bikes, not cars, motorbikes, and trucks. When someone blasts me with a horn I am a lot less likely to get out of the way then if I hear a ring, ring.

    I had an odd traffic experience on a local MUP on the Fourth. A quorum (4) of city council members came alone on a local bike coalition ride. My wife and I had a slow start on our heavy tandem and got stuck behind them and their friends/spouses as the main group disappeared down the trail. One your left did not work. We would like to pass on your left did not work. Finally I said in the tone of voice I used to use to be heard over underground mining machinery, "Would the lady in the blue jacket and the green bike Please move to the right so we can get past you." That worked. I had to do it again on the next council member, also a lady. The last obstacle ws a male and he did not move over. The other three councilmembers called him by name and got him to move over. Maybe the Santa Rosa City Council learned something. They certainly saw how they rated as cyclists as a clydesdale captain and his heavier spouse wife with her aching knees on a rusted old tandem blew their doors off after we got by. I am happy that the city government supports cycling.
    This space open

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    Newbie Grease folder's Avatar
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    I have a bell on both of my bikes. They are very useful in situations where there's lot's of pedestrians. I usually give a bunch of "dings" when entering an area where I'm likely to encounter pedestrians I might not be able to see before they try to cross the road (such as where the road narrows near where the "L" crosses over a busy street).

  7. #7
    No-Pants Island bbonnn's Avatar
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    My boyfriend HATES my bell. He likes to be stealthy when passing peds on the MUP. I think he has this weird idea that it's more courteous to pass silently and not interrupt peds' conversations or meditation or enjoyment of nature or whatever.

    I usually do one ring a few seconds before I get into passing mode. I love my bell too. It's the most innocuous way someone like me can make people aware of my presence (I hate to yell -- I have a quiet voice, so I really have to bellow to be heard). If I ever get a nice road bike, that's going to be the first accessory I put on it, weight weenies and non-nerds be damned.

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    GATC
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    I haven't put a bell on my 2nd bike yet. I'm not sure there are enough people that I would want to pass who aren't jamming out on their ipods and deaf to all external stimulus anyway. In principle I like my bell, I just don't get a lot of practical use out of it. I do try to ring it a few times before entering blind curves, just in case...

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbonnn
    My boyfriend HATES my bell. He likes to be stealthy when passing peds on the MUP. I think he has this weird idea that it's more courteous to pass silently and not interrupt peds' conversations or meditation or enjoyment of nature or whatever.
    Do you like it when cars honk before passing you? I'm a stealthy passer also. Peds are much more predictable if you leave them in their own little world.

  10. #10
    Speed Demon *roll eyes*
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    I love my bell. It is wonderful. It can save me from a 108 dollar fine from the bell cops. Not kidding. Other than that, it is the most useless piece of junk I have ever put on a bike. The rare time I am on a MUP with a bike, I find that a "hey how are ya, mind if I pass on the left?" is far more effective than "tinkle tinkle" pass..... Plus, I actually get to meet people ;p

    Granted, when I am on a MUP, I am not generally in a hurry to get anyplace. If I am, I take the road which is usually (where I live at least) much much faster.

    Cheers and happy biking
    1998 Specialized S-works Hardtail - hotrodded
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  11. #11
    Perma-clyde Alox's Avatar
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    I ride with a Fox-40 whistle hanging around my neck. For the majority of my encounters with pedestrians and other cyclists, a simple 'on your left' is sufficient, but for heavy traffic, emergency situations, or when you really really need to be noticed, the 140dB comes in pretty handy.
    Nowadays I've got me two good wheels - and I'll seek refuge in aluminum and steel;
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    original bike rider nycballer0591's Avatar
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    i don't like to scare peds so i just pass if i find it safe and if not i say passing on your left/right and once in a while i just yell "watch Out!!!" i will be getting an air horn soon to help cars know that i'm am there and not invisible.
    James WAS Here !!!

  13. #13
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike2math
    Peds are much more predictable if you leave them in their own little world.
    True to a point. The trick is figuring out if they're going to stay there or veer into yours.

  14. #14
    domestique squeakywheel's Avatar
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    I used to prefer Shimano freewheels on my single speed bikes because they are quiet. I used an ACS freewheel on my last SS project. They make alot of noise when coasting. More noise if you backpedal. Very usefull for communicating with pedestrians on the path.

  15. #15
    Never get out of the boat Gabbo's Avatar
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    I stick to yelling at cars when I'm on the road, and trying to politely give peds a heads-up on trails, BUT one time on a trail I like to ride on weekends, a couple guys passed me going the opposite direction and rang bells to alert some peds in front of them. The wacky thing was these bells were very loud and very clear. They didn't sound like your typical ringing bicycle bell. More like a very sharp ding. Think hammer on anvil, not old style telephone. Anyone ever seen or heard of these things? They were incredibly effective.

  16. #16
    Urban Biker jimmuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike2math
    Do you like it when cars honk before passing you? I'm a stealthy passer also. Peds are much more predictable if you leave them in their own little world.
    Bells are much more pleasant to hear than horns or hollering. When I'm riding, I rarely use a stealthy passing method. The times I have, the people I pass about jump out of their skins as I go by. When I'm walking, I don't want to be surprised by something whizzing past me like that either. I have used the hollering method to this point, which is preferable to stealth because it scares the cr@p out of them before you are beside them and gives them a chance to see you coming. I'm getting a bell though after experiencing its benefits first hand.

    The cyclist and the ped can be friends.

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    I like bells too. On MUPs I give one ping about 30 yards before passing and I often get a "Thank you". Sure, it doesn't work all the time, but it does widdle down problem passing by 50%. I've never heard anyone say "Thank you" for an "On your left!" shout.

    Now that it's summer, bored teenagers that hang out by the MUP are now shouting "On your left!" at anyone who looks like a roadie riding by. And the will probably continue this practice as I gave them a twenty and informed them of the proper use of the name "Fred". Yeah, I know I'm an a-hole. But... I'm comfortable with it.

  18. #18
    Speed Demon *roll eyes*
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabbo
    I stick to yelling at cars when I'm on the road, and trying to politely give peds a heads-up on trails, BUT one time on a trail I like to ride on weekends, a couple guys passed me going the opposite direction and rang bells to alert some peds in front of them. The wacky thing was these bells were very loud and very clear. They didn't sound like your typical ringing bicycle bell. More like a very sharp ding. Think hammer on anvil, not old style telephone. Anyone ever seen or heard of these things? They were incredibly effective.
    They are technically "gongs" with likely an external hammer. It is what I use on my bike to avoid tickets. Almost every single ped I have dinged with it has no clue what the noise is, rendering them utterly useless in my opinion. I do what you do, and say hi.
    1998 Specialized S-works Hardtail - hotrodded
    2005 Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross

  19. #19
    It's true, man.
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    "Verify range to target - one ping only, Vasily..."

    People on the Trinity Trail seem to appreciate my bell. One ping is usually sufficient. If they're nattering and don't seem to notice, I ring it a few times, quickly. If there's still no reaction, I say something like, "Coming around on your left side" if they don't seem like regular trail users, and "Own your layuft!", if they do. If they're keeping to their own side of the trail and seem clued-in, I give 'em a courtesy ping, and roll on by.

  20. #20
    Enjoy
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    I find a simple, but loud 'Excuse Me' is universal and people are more likely to move over if they can hear me over their mp3 players.

  21. #21
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    I bought a neat little brass bell from Rivendel that is made in Japan. Great ring that just hangs there.

    I have had kids, who I was dinging at, yelling: "It's the icecream man! It's the icecream man!" They didn't even think it was coming from my bike nor did they move. Oh well.

    Otherwise people tend to be pleasently surprised and comply with making room.

  22. #22
    Senior_Member2 diff_lock2's Avatar
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    i got a bell, dont use it cuase in the past every time i ring the peds turn around look at you and then move IN TO YOUR WAY... this is EVERYTIME, or if there OLD, they swear at you for going fast or what ever... i was cornering on a BIKE WAY not walk way, at this building and there was an old lady standing by the wall and as i take the turn (pretty fast, i always think to my self what if some one is coming from the other side lol) well i just see her hug (bring closer) all her cloth bags full of old people stuff lol, and shout out wtf (but in finnish, oh and thats why i dont speak on the road... im noit gona speak my ***** finnish...)

    yeah but i got one,,, lol i would get pics, but im tired.

  23. #23
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    I just click my brake levers-I-pod zombies can't hear it,but there's not much they would hear. I also whistle but my whistle is not dependable-seems to depend on how wet my mouth is-if its really scary I yell.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Back in the 80s, I ran a print shop and developed a voice to be heard over the press noise. Strollers on the bike path visibly jump when I yell to get their attention, but my little bell is pretty effective & they usually move right aside. If not, I use "the voice"!
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  25. #25
    Senior_Member2 diff_lock2's Avatar
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    how do you develop a voice?

    i know people with serios shouting abiliteis, but i dont think they got it from what ever they do, shouting, lol...

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