Bike Horns and Bells
Your have your bike, helmet, panniers and you’re ready to commute, right? Wrong! One of the most necessary and inexpensive items is still missing… The bike Horn or Bell. You may think horns and bells are for kids, but for the daily commuter they are a useful tool. I use my bell almost as much on my daily commute as I use my brakes.
It is a polite way to let pedestrians or other cyclists know where you are. Rather than saying “On your right” as you pass just give a polite ding about 50 yards out to let on-comers know you’re close. Trust me, it is way more effective that asking to pass and less startling too.
Don’t under estimate the the effectiveness of a horn or bell, the sound travels much further than your voice. They are essential pieces of equipment for any commuter. You will be amazed how often you use yours and how different rings also symbolize different announcements. Below is a simple bike bell communication chart…
- One RIng= “I am getting ready to pass you
- Two Rings= “Good Morning”
- Three Rings “Didn’t you hear my first ring?”
In closing the distinct, piercing tone of a bell can cut through the cacophony of urban noise better than a human voice can, on its own. This, I’ve found, can give people in your way a faster reaction time than if you were to yell ahead to them. Also, the “ding ding” + “on your left” announcement is, I think, a nicer, safer way to pass someone than simply yelling “on your left” out of the blue. Or worse still, not alerting them that you’re passing at all.
Mirror mirror on my head, if I don’t use you I may be dead. Mirror mirror on my bar, each time I use you I do ride far.
Silly rhymes aside, to use a rear view mirror, or not, can he a hot topic in the cyclist community. Some riders swear by them and will never ride without. Some riders just can’t seem to get the knack of them, while others can’t even find one that simply doesn’t annoy them. Regardless of which camp you fall in to, hopefully we can give you some insight on the different types of rear view mirrors and why one may be just right for you.
If you are in the market for a mirror its time to decide which type of mirror to use. In general there are two main types of mirrors on the market.
The first type that you will commonly see is the helmet mounted mirrors. Sometimes these can/will also be mounted to the riders glasses. This is a very popular type of mirror because it is light weight, can be easily moved from helmet to helmet (or glasses to glasses) and it leaves valuable real estate on your handlebars free for other items. One notable downside to this type of mirror is that is is small. Some find it difficult to get a good view behind them. Another complaint that some have is that it is a constant distraction hanging out just inside your periphery. While both of these critiques are valid, most riders find them less significant as they get used to riding with and using the mirrors.
The next most common type of cycling mirror is the handlebar mounted variety. Upsides are usually larger mirror surface area for better visibility. It is also a more natural action for those of us used to driving cars. These can also sometimes be easier to adjust to suit your needs. The biggest downside is that it takes up, what can be, valuable handlebar space. Sometimes after your cyclometer, phone, handlebar bag and lights there just isn’t room for anything else on your bars. Finally, this is very often a more permanent solution. It is not always easy to move the handlebar mounted mirrors from bike to bike.
Now that you know a little bit more about the different types of mirrors that are available, browse around and try to find the very best cycling rear view mirror, for you, that you can find.
If you have spent enough time on the road you have had a close call with a car, or worse an accident. Not all motorist hate cyclist and want us off the rode, some just cannot see us! Making yourself visible, no matter if you’re a commuter or out on cross country tour is a huge part of having a safe ride. Reflective clothing has not only gotten more comfortable it is also much brighter and even more stylish.
Reflective vest and jackets not only a easy way be more visible at night, most reflective gear is also very brightly colored so you will also be more visible during the the day. Most of the modern vest and jackets are comfortable and made from highly breathable fabrics so when it hot, you won’t over heat.
Combining your reflective gear with head and tail lights will make your commute to and from work much more safe.