Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  

Go Back   > >

Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-16-04, 07:31 PM   #1
Senior Moment
Thread Starter
Litespeed's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Lakeside California
Bikes: Litespeed Blueridge
Posts: 952

We use a bell on our tandem (I have it on the back) because some of our riding involves going thru city parks where there are a lot of people milling around and standing on the walk way. At first it seemed to work but now when we go that same path and I ring it like crazy, people act like they don't hear it
My husband is reluctant to yell out at people until the last second, hoping they will just move. I on the other hand will yell at them "bicycle behind you!", even though I feel like I'm butting into my husband's "space" by doing it. I'm just afraid we are going to clobber somebody and I don't want to get hurt. Any suggestions?
Litespeed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-04, 08:06 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Grand Prairie, TX
Posts: 702
You will never get all of the idiots trained. According to John Forester, a multi-use trail system is the most dangerous place to operate a bicycle, with accident/injury rates much greater than on the roads. If at all possible, you need to go around the parks instead of through them. If you are going to continue to do what you are doing, keep right on yelling. A future where you are perceived as rude is a lot better than the future where you fracture your clavicle, tear rotator cuff, etc., etc., owing to bovine ignorance by other users.

A caution: I haven't read John Forester (Effective Cycling) for a while, but I am sure I got it right.
SDS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-04, 12:47 AM   #3
Time for a change.
stapfam's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
Posts: 19,915
Originally Posted by Litespeed
We use a bell on our tandem (I have it on the back) because some of our riding involves going thru city parks where there are a lot of people milling around and standing on the walk way. At first it seemed to work but now when we go that same path and I ring it like crazy, people act like they don't hear it

I have found exactly the same problem, there appear to be two two types of responses to bikes. One is the person or group of people that do not hear a bell, and if you use your voice to warn them of your approach, the other response is "You should get a bell".

I decided that a different approach was necessary and got a horn, you know the type, conventional hand pushed bellows, and this always works. It even works on the offroad randonnees to get other bikes out of the way. I suppose it is the amusement factor, but bells do not work. A horn will always get a response, even if it is only a glair for disturbing the peace and quiet of the countryside.
stapfam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-17-04, 06:46 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 143
A few thoughts:

* There are, as has been mentioned, two or three types of people walking on the trails. There's the regulars, who say "Thank you" when they hear the bell. There's the one sorority girl last week...who said, "I was wondering what all that ringing was about." And there's the absorbed, who're so wrapped up with kids on trikes and strollers and feeding the ducks, that they forget there's others around using the path.

* At least half of the people are using a Walkman and can't hear anything you do.

* Timing of the bell makes a difference. Too far back, and it doesn't register. Too close and people go flying in all directions.

* Our bell is on the captain's bars. We tried the stoker bars, but that required cueing the stoker about when to ring and the bell is muted by the captain's back.

* My wife likes the bell rung earlier than I do :-) Yet another challenge for tandem communication.

* Usual strategy is to ring and then move left on the path. That's usually safest, but I'm also looking for a bailout path in case the peds surprise me.

* What to do with bikers who are loafing on their left of the path and watching the scenery? We once had a family coming toward us across the whole path and the mom almost rode right into us, despite ringing, yelling, etc.

* There's another good alternative to the bell, but I'm chicken to use it most of the time: the Acme Siren whistle. One of my grad students gave it to me on a Hawkeye lanyard. It leaves a smile on peds faces as you go by, but I'm afraid one might go nuts. It lives in our trunk bag, in case we want to use it. Need to be careful of having the wind blow right into it...the blades start spinning backwards and it doesn't work!

tornadobass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-04, 12:17 PM   #5
Senior Member
zonatandem's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Bikes: Custom Zona c/f tandem + Scott Plasma single
Posts: 10,782
We agree: multi-use paths are dangerous because of inattentive users and a 'feel safe' attitude. We prefer the road, and at least with car traffic we are all going in the same direction!
Most states demand a warning device attached to the bicycle, but no sirens allowed.
Stoker used to use a loud whistle, but that was more for dogs than for people.
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/Zona tandem
zonatandem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-04, 01:19 PM   #6
Older Than Dirt
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Reidsville, NC
Posts: 376
We've always had good results with our little "ding" bell on multi-use trails, probably because almost no one else even bothers to give any sort of warning when overtaking pedestrians. I've not been able to determine if this is because of a lot of rude people around here or if they simply have not given the matter any thought.

DocF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-04, 03:07 PM   #7
Jazz from Hell
glomarduck's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: NYC Tristero!
Bikes: raleigh watzit & gardin tt road bike U08
Posts: 569
Use a storm whistle. It is the world's loudest whistel and belevie me people listen.
glomarduck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-04, 03:54 PM   #8
galen_52657's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Towson, MD
Bikes: 2001 Look KG 241, 1989 Specialized Stump Jumper Comp, 1986 Gatane Performanc
Posts: 4,020
My first reaction is to say find another place to ride. Or, slow down to the point that you are almost at a walking pace, if you have not already done so when you come upon people on the path/road. Park users are under no obligation to get out of your way. I ride through a portion of the local watershed that is closed to motor vehicles on Saturdays and Sundays, but the road is 30 feet wide. On nice days there are a zillion people out there doing everything you can think of dog walking, roller blading, kids on scooters all dangerous to cyclists. I go through real slow and yell out my intentions to those who can't see me well in advance and pass with a wide margin. These people have every right to use the facilities without getting hit by a speeding cyclist. And, it is up to the cyclist to avoid them, not the other way around.
galen_52657 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-04, 05:56 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 143
Here's a link to the Acme siren...these are illegal for cyclists? I just thought they were too strange and would send people flying off the bike path...I've just gotten smiles the times I've used mine
tornadobass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-04, 05:13 AM   #10
Big H
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Aliwal North, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Bikes: el rapido road Tandem, Raleigh R6000 Road Tandem, Omega Vectra MTB Tandem, Gary Fisher Tassajara, Carerra MTB, Trek 7200 Hybrid
Posts: 200
We live in a colonial red tape based society. Since June 2004 bells have been made compulsory by law. All new bicylces must be sold with a bell. Can you imagine a Colnago C50 with a bell on it. I cannot wait for the high tech low weight carbon fibre or exotic bell to appear on the market. It surely will I still do not have a bell on the tandem. My wife shouts very hard.

Another positive move is that helmets are now compusory by law from the beginning of October. I am worried though how this will be enforced. Many of our bicycle users in the rural areas (and towns...schoolchildern for instance, are poor). I think this is a very good start to culture a bicycle concious road user and public. This places the safety aspect right in the home of the child bike user. A problem at schools now is how to safely store the helmets. We don not have the locker system in our schools.

Keeo those wheels spinning !!!!!

Big H
Big H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-04, 04:13 PM   #11
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2004
Bikes: yellow one and a red one
Posts: 9
I recomend a purple cow squeaker. You just can't go wrong with a purple cow. That's what we use and that's what everyone should use.


On second thought a black and white cow squeaker might be alright too.
saxman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-22-05, 02:52 PM   #12
Two-Can! Jim&Jacquie
J-squared's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Little Rock Ar
Bikes: Santana Arriva, Jake the Snake (Kona), Trek 1000, Trek mtn bike (k, don't know the model), Diamondback WCF4.0, Puch Austro-Daimler Ultima... I think that's all...
Posts: 2
Bovine... good term for a bunch of gravity-challenged 'walkers' milling about in a herd across the right-of-way.
We keep a bell on the Rear Admiral's bar, and in case of emergency, a canned air horn for the Captain.
If the friendly little bell doesn't do the trick, she tells the Captain, "Horn 'em!"
J-squared is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:56 AM.