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Retro on Steroids
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The other day I overtook a group of hikers on a popular local trail. My friend, riding in front, shouted, "Bikes coming!" One woman didn't change her pace, move aside or look back. As I passed, I gave a ding on my bell.

The woman smiled and said, "A bell!" I don't believe it!"

Believe it. I have a bell on every bike, a collection of half a dozen for various purposes from carbon fiber road to full suspension MTB. Before I went on the ride where I met the hikers, I noticed my bell had broken off the handlebar, and I couldn't bear the thought of being without. I stopped and picked up a fresh one at the bike shop on my way to ride. They're not that tough, and I go through a few, but they're cheap, around $12 for the kind I use.

When someone shouts, "On your left!" or some similar command, it demands a response from the target and it carries emotional content based on the tone of voice and/or the sex of the speaker. What the rider does not realize is that the message of the shout is not communicated. The target has no idea what the words were or what they were supposed to mean. What is communicated its the fact that someone is shouting orders, and not saying please. The emotional baggage is increased when a male rider shouts at a female hiker.

A bell does not carry any emotional overtones. It has no tone of voice, it issues no commands, and it is not identified with either sex. It just says, "There is a bike here," and it says so in a fashion that is as polite and pleasant as possible. People smile when they hear a bike bell, they engage you, and allow a mutual regard to make the passing situation work, rather than orders from one party to another.

In addition to using the bell where I encounter pedestrians, I use it all the time on my local MTB singletrack, which is used in both directions and has lots of blind turns.

Finally, when you smoke your friend on the downhill, nothing adds the exclamation point like a polite ding as you pass.

I know I am almost unique among my friends for having bells on all my bikes. Anyone else do that?
 

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Come see me after class
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i think a lot more people have bells on their bikes than you think. i have one on my XC and yes, the most useful part about them is you can ding your friends when you pass them.
 

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I have bells on all of my bikes. Every member of my family has a bell, too. Even the baby's balance bike. :D I think of it as a courtesy.

I want to get an airzound on my commuter... not so much a courtesy. :p

I have these. They don't ring unless I want them to, unlike some of the other ones I've had that ring themselves all day long every time I hit a bump.

http://www.rei.com/product/723519
 

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Full of hot air
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Repack Rider said:
Finally, when you smoke your friend on the downhill, nothing adds the exclamation point like a polite ding as you pass.

I know I am almost unique among my friends for having bells on all my bikes. Anyone else do that?
Absolutely :thumbsup: I have 6 bikes all with bells. You can't see them as they are upside down under the bars beside the stem. Very small black ping ping types. I get a kick out of giving it a ding when in a race wanting to pass, but I also call passing right/ left. I ride a fair bit of shared tracks & bike paths so the bell for pedestrians & small children is a must.

As said by Repack Rider a voice is not always noticeable by many people that is if they even hear anything at all. Damn ipod users :rolleyes: . Not that I can talk as I've recently really enjoyed riding while pedalling to the tunes (on low level able to talk to fellow riders of course). The only time I crank it up is on a massive climb out in the bush when solo.

Bells are actually required by law here in Australia as are helmets. You often see the Police pulling up riders not wearing helmets ($75 fine) & they often have safety checks set up in the main CBD of Brisbane.
 

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I always have a bell, but a lot of people seem to consider it equivalent to honking a car horn. ie. Not polite at all. I frequently have people get upset at me for ringing a warning that I'm approaching, even though it is required by law here.
 

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Vita brevis
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Some riders and backcountry runners around here wear a small bell that rings all the time to avoid surprising bears.
 

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i've got one and hikers really seem to like it especially if you give them lots of advance warning.
 

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I've always had a bell as have the guys I ride with. Lots of the singletrack we ride has pretty overgrown curvey downhills and you never know what's around the next corner as you're blasting down the trail. A couple of 'dings' at strategic spots could save yer butt (and someone elses). Also are great to have when coming up behind people as mentioned above.
 

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I have a bell on every bike I own!
Regular ding ding bells on my XC bike and single speed
Cow bell on my longer travel bike.

I have a ton of hikers thank me for having a bell.
We should all use them.
 

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DynoDon
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I had one years ago, I think I'll get another one, thanks for reminding me, I do have a couple Bell Helmets though!!!!
 

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sturge said:
,,,you never know what's around the next corner as you're blasting down the trail. A couple of 'dings' at strategic spots could save yer butt (and someone elses).
This.
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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I have them on all my bikes, sometimes i even weigh them to find the lightest ones. ;)
 

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Exacttly, who doesn't have a bell? So damn useful for so many reasons: blind corners, approaching a group of other users ahead, et cetera, et cetera...

A nice ding has a pretense of being courteous, disarming, a lovable person. A Buddhist way of saying "passing", "here I come", "you're hot!"? Tends to dispense any stereotype of bicycle dislike- a charm tone you could say. I see the effect over and over.

(Also if I am rounding a corner on Bulllards Bar Trail with a ding-ding and there is a collision with a fellow rider, I know I've got a good argument for thinking safe! [hasn't happen])




.
 

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dirtbag
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Yup, got an Incredibell on all my bikes. Being in Germany and saying "on you left" or derivative is like speaking Klingon. A ding on the bell and it's like Moses parting the Red Sea.
 

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Semi-Hairless Sasquatch
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No bell here, actually been meaning to pick one up for the blind corner thing.

I personally find a bell signaling to pass a bit more annoying or aggressive and way more impersonal than someone giving an "on your left" verbally. Kinda like the car horn effect spsoon mentioned.
 

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is buachail foighneach me
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Always a thumb strike(??) bell, often a bear bell. Hikers and equestrians LOVE the bear bell. They hear me coming from a good distance away, even around blind turns. I've gotten tons of "Thank you!" 's when riding with the bear bell, and after the first few rides, I don't even notice it any more.
 

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mtber
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My wife bought me a cowbell when we were in Switzerland because on one of our hikes I was joking about stealing one right off of a cow. So the next day she surprised me with a brand new bell, and I mounted it right on my handlebars. It is quite annoying, but I love it. I usually stuff something inside it for the rides up, because I like the quiet peaceful ride up, but on the downhill, *ring-a-ding-ding* here I come. Although I need a new ones because it broke in a crash today... :-( I also got a small one for my Yorkie that comes with me on my rides, but he wouldn't walk straight with the bell on lol
 

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Two of my bikes have bells, two don't. The two that don't I don't ride a whole lot.

Some riders and backcountry runners around here wear a small bell that rings all the time to avoid surprising bears.
My "bear song" seems to be pretty effective at scaring them away. Mostly because of the complete, utter tone deafness.
 
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