After a near miss in Tokai this weekend, Oli decides that it’s high-time to kit his mountain bike out with a bell.
Bike Bells. They’re so simple, yet so effective. And I reckon they’re one of the most underrated accessories for both road and mountain bikes. Here’s why …
On Sunday I was riding up the climb that takes you into Tokai – the temporary gravel road route that caters for two-way traffic, allowing riders both an entry and exit to the trail network.
The road is steep, and practically dead straight, meaning riders (including me) can easily reach speeds of over 60km/h on the way down. In a one-way environment, this is no problem at all. But, throw into the mix a rider or group of riders slogging their way up the climb and you have a recipe for disaster.
While descending riders should always slow down when approaching those climbing, sometimes this just doesn’t happen. The excitement and adrenaline takes over, and I’ll admit, I tend to get rather enthusiastic on the descents!
The challenge comes in when you’re the rider(s) climbing. When heading up, I often find myself looking down (like Froome peering at his stem) and not registering fast approaching riders as they’re relatively quiet, and I’m focused on maintaining my speed and rear wheel traction. So it comes as quite a shock when you look up and suddenly there is a rider bearing down in front of you.
This is not to say that either party is more or less responsible – ‘descenders’ ought to be cautious and ‘ascenders’ should be looking ahead – in the end, it’s a two way street.
Enter the bike bell.
With a quick ring ding’a ling of a handle-bar-mounted bell, an approaching rider can easily and effectively let those know of his or her imminent arrival, especially on blind corners.
I already have a bell on my road bike to greet other riders and keep pedestrians aware, but after Sunday’s experience, I’ve decided to kit out my MTB and gravel bike with a bell.
It just makes sense.
As our local trails become more popular and congested, bike bells are the perfect way to keep other riders (as well as runners, hikers and dog walkers) aware of your position. I am sure the Spruit in Joburg finds itself in the same situation, as well as other bike parks around the country.
In terms of the actual bells themselves, there are many options out there. And if you have already got one on your bike, bravo, you’re a few ring ding’a lings ahead of me!