I didn't expect to run into anyone else on the trails, what with it being 1pm on Monday, but I happened upon a woman out for a hike. I didn't want to startle her, so I hoped she'd hear me pedaling. She didn't, and I really didn't want to interrupt her tranquil hike with an "on your left!" Then I remembered I was riding a bike with a bell. (It's my dedicated MTB bell- my four legged trail riding pal responds to it without me having to yell at her.) So, as I rode up a gave a quick 'Ding! Ding!' (always two in a row, I think it sounds nicer..). She said, "Oh! Isn't that a pleasant little surprise. Have a nice ride."
It is pleasant. I think it communicates "Hello! I'm here." Which is much different than the car horn's "You're annoying me. Get the eff out of my way." There are plenty of different tones- high pitched aluminum, resonant brass, old school telephone sounding. and so on.
It's weird, but at the moment I don't even have a bell on my commuter bike, and there are so many people out on the road to communicate with. I'm not going to move the one from my mountain bike- it's taken me a long time to get it that broken in- so it looks like I'm going to be in the market for a new one.