Monday, November 14, 2011


The stars aligned today just long enough for me to get out of the 'office' and go for an MTB ride. Beautiful weather, a couple of free hours in the middle of the day, and a fully working bike- a very rare occurrence.

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.


  1. I wouldn't dream of riding in Vienna (Austria) without one - even on trails. People are so sensitive to mtn biking here though that I usually slow to walking speed, and start with something like "I don't mean to alarm you but...." After that I try to have a short conversation. But yeah, a bell would work too. FYI, the bell on my mtn bike in Vienna looks just like that - scratches are from upside-down tuning, right?

  2. Yes, turning the bike upside down. Sometimes on purpose (for repairing), and sometimes by accident- I usually end up upside down along with the bike in those cases...

  3. I'm an fan of the bell -and the two-ring-warning- for the same reasons you expressed above! I've been trying out a slow, consistent ringing whenever I'm passing a car because it seems less rude than frantic-are-you-planning-to-hit-me? fast bursts of ringing.

    Can you suggest a type of bell that works in the rain? I'm in the market!