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Ring ring: The search for the best bicycle bell

For the last few months I’ve taken up cycling daily – a little on the road but mostly through a local park. My exploits have been mentioned before, mainly due to the idiotic meanderings of people in the cycle lane. It’s even lead to an accident.

One thing that’s become important, is making sure people can actually hear me approaching – even if somebody is in the cycle lane, I do need to make sure I’m approaching, if only for my own safety.

Most modern bikes come with a compact bell, which uses a spring-loaded striker on the outside. The problem with these are 3-fold…

  1. They’re not very loud
  2. In wet weather they’re even quieter, due to water getting between the bell and the striker
  3. They make a single “bing” sound which, to most people, isn’t distinctive

Finding that a lot of people were not hearing my bell, I initially started looking for a louder one. However, I found recommendations to look at a more traditional bell. These are larger but have none of the previous short-comings – the bell is struck from inside, so isn’t affected by weather, it’s usually louder but, most importantly, it has an incredible distinctive bicycle-bell sound.

Since installing one, I’ve noticed that people pay a LOT more attention to me. There will always be exceptions – those you can’t hear me (hearing problems or wearing headphones) and those who can but ignore me anyway – but I’m happier with the response now.

The one I got was from Amazon and cost less than £11. You can get them in left or right handed versions and in a choice of 6 colours too. I went for a glossy-black, right-handed version. It’s quick and easy to fit and even comes with the tools you need to do it.

Of course, there are other alternatives…

One reply on “Ring ring: The search for the best bicycle bell”

I currently have a souvenir bell I got from Nuremberg. It is the kind that ratchets with a nice “brrrng”. I saw lots of bike bells in tourist shops in Amsterdam, if you are ever there. Kind of a fun and practical souvenir in my opinion.

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