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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!

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Old 09-16-04, 07:31 PM   #1
Litespeed
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Bells

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?
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Old 09-16-04, 08:06 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 09-17-04, 12:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
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.
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Old 09-17-04, 06:46 AM   #4
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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 oblivious...like 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!

-Dan
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Old 09-18-04, 12:17 PM   #5
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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
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Old 09-18-04, 01:19 PM   #6
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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.

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Old 09-18-04, 03:07 PM   #7
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Use a storm whistle. It is the world's loudest whistel and belevie me people listen.
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Old 09-18-04, 03:54 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 09-18-04, 05:56 PM   #9
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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
http://www.acmewhistles.co.uk/sirenb.wav
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Old 09-20-04, 05:13 AM   #10
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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 !!!!!

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Old 09-20-04, 04:13 PM   #11
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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.

Tony

On second thought a black and white cow squeaker might be alright too.
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Old 01-22-05, 02:52 PM   #12
J-squared
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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!"
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