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Where's your bell?(14 posts)

Where's your bell?Live Steam
May 29, 2001 8:27 AM
This was in this morning's NY Daily News. I sympathize with the author, but there are an awful lot of bike messangers in Manhattan that ride with abandon - i.e. between vehicles, against traffic, through red lights, on the sidewalk and just about any way you can imagine. I am not sure how I feel about this, but I know I wouldn't want to have to put a bell on my Colnago. Unless of course it had the Colnago logo emblazoned on it.:-)
re: Where's your bell?Live Steam
May 29, 2001 8:31 AM
Sorry! Here's the article.Live Steam
May 29, 2001 8:32 AM
On the handlebar, but out of the windMeDotOrg
May 29, 2001 9:27 AM
I have one of those simple black bells with a spring hammer for ringing. It's mounted on the handlebar facing the rear of the bike, so the handlebar shields in from the wind. Much more aerodynamic that way, I pick up another 1.5 mph! ;-)

Seriously, I do a LOT of biking over the Golden Gate Bridge and through heavily travelled multi-use paths. Many times a bell the bell works, and many times it doesn't. I'll fall back to the shouted "Bicycle", "On your left", "Planet of the Clueless, your bus is leaving" or "Watch the f**king road", (I try to avoid the last one) depending on the situation. Most of the time people are courteous and will move when they hear the bell. Some people hear the bell but don't register that it is coming from a bicycle.

In any case, I'm not worried to much about the "cool" factor. The courtesy you show a pedestrian on a bike path could be reflected in the way they drive the next time they pass YOU.
On the handlebar, but out of the windMeDotOrg
May 29, 2001 9:44 AM
I have one of those simple black bells with a spring hammer for ringing (the Incredibell, sold a a million shops). It's mounted on the handlebar facing the rear of the bike, so the handlebar shields it from the wind. Much more aerodynamic that way, I pick up another 1.5 mph! ;-)

Seriously, I do a LOT of biking over the Golden Gate Bridge and through heavily travelled multi-use paths. Many times a bell the bell works, and many times it doesn't. I'll fall back to the shouted "Bicycle", "On your left", "Planet of the Clueless, your bus is leaving" or "Watch the f**king road" (I try to avoid the last one) depending on the situation. Most of the time people are courteous and will move when they hear the bell. Some people hear the bell but don't register that it is coming from a bicycle.

In any case, I'm not worried to much about the "cool" factor. The courtesy you show a pedestrian on a bike path could be reflected in the way they drive the next time they pass YOU.
On the handlebar, but out of the windMeDotOrg
May 29, 2001 9:44 AM
I have one of those simple black bells with a spring hammer for ringing (the Incredibell, sold a a million shops). It's mounted on the handlebar facing the rear of the bike, so the handlebar shields it from the wind. Much more aerodynamic that way, I pick up another 1.5 mph! ;-)

Seriously, I do a LOT of biking over the Golden Gate Bridge and on heavily travelled multi-use paths. Many times a bell the bell works, and many times it doesn't. I'll fall back to the shouted "Bicycle", "On your left", "Planet of the Clueless, your bus is leaving" or "Watch the f**king road" (I try to avoid the last one) depending on the situation. Most of the time people are courteous and will move when they hear the bell. Some people hear the bell but don't register that it is coming from a bicycle.

In any case, I'm not worried to much about the "cool" factor. The courtesy you show a pedestrian on a bike path could be reflected in the way they drive the next time they pass YOU.
mixed thoughtsDuane Gran
May 29, 2001 10:08 AM
I have mixed thoughts on this whole thing. I regularly ride in city traffic and on paved trails. In my experience, calling out "on your left" or ringing a bell has a good chance of alerting the person, but every once in a while the pedestrian turns left to look back and is right in the way. Had I made no announcement the person wouldn't have gotten in the way.

Lately I have resorted to only announcing myself if the area is tight. I slow down a little and pass wide. Fundamentally people should "stay their line" and not cross around eratically, weather they are on bikes or walking. Although I don't want to collide with someone on a trail, if they cross over to the wrong side without looking back that is simply careless.
ice cream man!, ice cream man!Breck
May 29, 2001 10:14 AM
us locals went thru this phase on the mtb trails back in early nineties. maybe we need on the road a true air horn powered by the large innovations co2 can in the water bott holder.

cheers
Bell on your Colnagozelig1
May 29, 2001 10:53 AM
Incredible as it may seem ,in both Brugge and Budapest, I have seen a Colnago with a bell. Both were fitted with normal 3-spd type cowhorn bells. Better was the Pinarello, with bell and mustache bar, I saw in Copenhagen complete with C-Record components.
barrings...Kristin
May 29, 2001 11:25 AM
When I don't need my u-lock mounted, I attach a cowbell with the u-lock clip. Carrying both gets too heavy.

There is a guy who rides the local trail, and another in my club who have bells. The temptation to overuse must be great, and its quite annoying. I guess it would depend on your location, but I don't think a small bell would get you very much respect in Chicago. I'd go with a good airhorn.

I did the "on your left" thing for a while, but the early morning trail members (self included) are kinda in zen mode. Barking out, "On your left" destroys the calm centeredness of the moment. So I started saying, "good morning," before passing. Its much nicer. Sometimes when I need to let people know I'm back, I just stop pedaling for a second. The DB emits a cool, but rather loud sound.
I used to use a bell.boy nigel
May 29, 2001 2:21 PM
On my last racing bike, I used an Incredibell mounted on the stem. Worked very well except in heavy traffic (taxis, etc.) when it wasn't audible if drivers had their windows shut. For pedestrians, it seemed to work quite nicely (a piercing, but singular "ding" to grab their attention--modulatable by how hard I pulled back the striker). On my new ride, I've not gotten around to putting it on (or maybe my new bike's too cool for a bell). I've been riding in even more midtown NYC traffic than I used to (gotta ride 3-1/2 miles in traffic to get to Central Park), and I've found that, when things are really tight (like someone else above), I can shout my way out of a situation (particularly with a driver). If a ped is concerned, I'll be much more calm and respectful so as not to seem obnoxious or scare them. They've got as much right as I do, of course. Thinking on it now, having to remove my right hand from my brake hood in heavy-duty city traffic isn't an option I'll want to take again.

I'll add that, in all of my dozen years of NYC-traffic riding, I've never had or caused an accident. I get hyper-aware in city traffic (as one must in order to keep the rubber side down), and don't mind riding with autos at all. Now, if only the city streets were smoother and had less ruts/bumps/potholes/grates!!

I can, however, see the big advantage of having a bell if one rides on a bike path/trail, particularly when overtaking another rider or a runner, walker, or 'blader. A kinder, less confrontational way to let them know you're there.
i've got them on all of minelunchrider
May 29, 2001 5:29 PM
I use a combination of the incredibell and my voice. it just makes good sense to alert people that your coming. no excuse to have a crash. My Fondriest doesn't seem to mind and I feel safer. My 13 year old loves uses the giant chinese bell on the tandom to just let everybody know how much fun he is having!
re: Where's your bell?nutmegger
May 29, 2001 6:31 PM
my bell is on my head. that's the spot recommended by the manufacturer.
re: Where's your bell?Dutchy
May 30, 2001 1:13 AM
On my MTB, for fun I use one of those really juvenille Klaxon horns. The type old cars used to have. It's made of plastic and has a fair volume. If the person hears it, I always get a smile of humour from the pedestrian. Though sometimes in the National Parks, people think it's a bird/duck and start looking up into the trees. Then I resort to calling out "coming past". Haven't been abused yet. CHEERS.