Ring, ring?

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Ring, ring?

Postby atoz » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:08 pm

Hi all

I suspect I'm not the only one who gets grief from pedestrian users of shared use cycle paths (eg canal towpaths) because of the serious offence of not having a bell.

I was told many years ago by my late Mum and Dad (both of whom had a lot of cycling miles between them) that many people of a certain age couldn't hear cycle bells- and this is true. A lot of walkers are over a certain age, and has we know, hearing is one of the first things to go. I always give polite warning of my presence and slow down accordingly and say " thank you" when I pass- but it seems to make not much difference.

My suspicion is that if it wasn't the bell some people would make an issue of, it would be the lycra- in fact a lot of people don't want us using shared use cycle paths at all, despite the fact that the only reason they have a reasonable surface is precisely because they are a cycle path.

Typical- they don't want you on the road, and then they don't want you off the road.

So I will be ferreting in the loft for my ancient cycle bells I used to use as a child, and haven't used since- to match my equally ancient Claud Butlers..maybe I might find my Dad's even more ancient twin bottle cage to match..very retro.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby Si » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:20 pm

I used to be of the opinion that a polite "excuse me please" accompanied by slowing down significantly ought to be enough to keep anyone happy. Yet since I got a bell I find that even if I ring the bell and don't say anything else, the vast majority will move aside and thank me for ringing it.

Of course there are always some, both on foot and on bike, who are dead set on being annoyed about something and no matter what you do you can't placate them.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby reohn2 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:33 pm

I don't have a bell fitted and TBH I don't have much of a problem,probably one in a thousand complain,if anything people tend to thank me for being polite and slowing down for them especially when approaching from behind.
The ones that make comments about me not having a bell I stop and politely explain that a bell isn't a statutory requirement and my reasons for not having one are that generally most people prefer to hear a polite request to get past and are grateful for me slowing down for them.
Very occasionally I've had a totally belligerent response (I can remember no more than two or three in the last 5+ years) but I reckon those people are just belligerent no matter what,which is their problem not mine.
Of couse some will say 'then why not have a bell anyway' use it and speak,my answer that I like to cover my brakes whenever I'm on a SUP and that on two occasions I've been in the situation when I had a bell fitted and was using it I only had one brake covered and very nearly came to grief due to the reactions of teenagers acting silly on one occasion and a dog on a retractable lead that was out of sight on another.
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Where will it's voyage end?
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby Vantage » Sat Jul 26, 2014 6:59 pm

I removed my bell shortly after my bike was delivered thinking it to be a waste of time and very uncool.
I refitted it after an elderly lady on the Rochdale Canal path complained that it would be more polite ringing a bell than shouting at her. I've been told I have a 'stern' tone in my voice by friends and family and I certainly didn't want to give the wrong impression on my rides.
As in Si's case, most folk I've passed after ringing have been pleasant and often give an appreciative smile. I travel pretty slowly on paths (10-12 mph) and ping the bell well in advance usually so braking isn't an issue.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby mjr » Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:46 pm

Don't rummage in the attic unless you want to. Wilkinson's are currently selling "I love my bike" rotary bells that are pretty loud for under £2. Cover or remove the sticker if you don't like it. Or many bike shops have little pingers for 2 or 3 pounds.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby WMarkLancs » Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:51 am

Why shout?

I appreciate people will get varying mileage, but I have had good results (i.e. no abuse at all) from simply saying variations of "Excuse me", "Passing by on your right" and so on.
This is in varying parts of the country, so it isn't a local thing. But it could be in the tone of voice.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby reohn2 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:22 am

WMarkLancs wrote:Why shout?

I appreciate people will get varying mileage, but I have had good results (i.e. no abuse at all) from simply saying variations of "Excuse me", "Passing by on your right" and so on.
This is in varying parts of the country, so it isn't a local thing. But it could be in the tone of voice.

+1
I tend to say ''ding,ding'' on approach,followed by ''could I just squeeze past please'' or ''hello,could I get past please''.
As nature slows and sleeps...
A dry Sycamore leaf caught by the winter breeze,
sails along the water under leaden skies.
Where will it's voyage end?
If at all.
Where will our voyage lead?
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby Vantage » Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:11 pm

That's just it, I didn't shout. It was a slightly louder than usual "excuse me please" taken the wrong way. As said, I apparently am known, not deliberately, to sound stern. Loud enough to be heard from a distance so we both have time to react and be heard over the tyres crunching the ground, freehub clicking away, wind noise, their own conversing and all manner of ambient sounds.
A bell is high enough in pitch and volume that it can be heard over most things but without the confusion :)
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby brynpoeth » Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:56 pm

A bell that goes drring drring makes a lovely sound and people know it is a bike. Ring it some time before you reach the person you want to warn. On shared paths it may be best to assume all walkers are drunk/hearing very loud music. Or they have a unontrolled dog nearby in the undergrowth.

Ring it loud and slow down until you are sure they have percieved you.

What makes me sick is when a group of people move left and right and expect me to go through the middle.

But on shared space paths the person-to-person communication works mostly. Not like on the road. How should I communicate with the driver in his air-conditioned cell?
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby iviehoff » Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:50 am

brynpoeth wrote:A bell that goes drring drring makes a lovely sound and people know it is a bike.

In contrast, pingy bells sound impatient, and when I had those people often used to tell me where to go, if you know what I mean, but I've had no probs since I got a rotary bell. But sometimes people just don't respond, even though I'm pretty sure they heard. I think that sometimes people are so completely oblivious that they are in a shared space, that even if they hear it they think it's nothing to do with them.

And there was the time I came up behind a deaf rambling club, out for a walk on the busy local cycle path.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby Audax67 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:59 am

Never mind about elderly folk not being able to hear bells, most of the blithe young things on the paths can't hear'em either because they're busy damaging their ears with canned muzak piped through earplugs.

Hum. The wind has quite an effect too. I've had folk 100 yards downwind react to bells that folk 20 yards upwind couldn't hear. If I remember my school physics correctly, this is because a headwind pushes the wavefront of the sound up into the air so that it never reaches them, but a tailwind keeps it down.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby mrjemm » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:02 am

reohn2 wrote:
WMarkLancs wrote:Why shout?

I appreciate people will get varying mileage, but I have had good results (i.e. no abuse at all) from simply saying variations of "Excuse me", "Passing by on your right" and so on.
This is in varying parts of the country, so it isn't a local thing. But it could be in the tone of voice.

+1
I tend to say ''ding,ding'' on approach,followed by ''could I just squeeze past please'' or ''hello,could I get past please''.


I also do this... But I have ended up getting bellified, having had a few experiences of being scowled at for not using a bell, even though I find the personal touch more friendly, so now I'll do both quite often, or judge the situation- speak/'vocalise' (ding ding) 1st usually, then bell, then speak again. My Vaya's (green :mrgreen: ) bell makes a nice ting-tong, which I find friendlier than the ping of the single bell (as on my Orange :( ).

I also tend to sing, mutter and make noises (talking to the animals mostly) while riding along in a world of my own, which also happens to alert folk too...
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby freeflow » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:47 am

I find that the most positive reception to voice is if you say good morning etc followed by a short pause then your request. If folks don't respond to the good morning then you know they haven't heard you. If they do hear then they usually turn to look at you and that makes the next request more engaging. This works particularly well for horse riders who generally appreciate the advnaced warning and the opportunity to prepare thier horse for your passing.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby TonyR » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:01 pm

freeflow wrote:I find that the most positive reception to voice is if you say good morning etc followed by a short pause then your request. If folks don't respond to the good morning then you know they haven't heard you. If they do hear then they usually turn to look at you and that makes the next request more engaging. This works particularly well for horse riders who generally appreciate the advnaced warning and the opportunity to prepare thier horse for your passing.


Wouldn't work where I am. The roads are clogged with crowds of tourists all chattering amongst themselves or concentrating on each other or the photo they're trying to take while completely blocking the road. A "Good Morning" would not even get heard. A proper bike bell continuously rung gets through after about 5 seconds or so and then you have to wait while they reorganise themselves to not completely block the road or path. But I admit that's not typical of most of the country.
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Re: Ring, ring?

Postby mjr » Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:05 pm

If you have a pinger then ring it two or three times quickly. Bizarrely this seems to annoy people less. Maybe it is becuase it repeats the pattern of hello or good morning rather than an oi or hey.

I like the dutchish pingpong bells but they are not as well known here as the rotary brrring.
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