Saturday, April 9, 2022


Knock knock.
Who's there?
Isabelle who?
Isabelle necessary on a bicycle?

An old joke but I think the answer is yes. 

I have a bell on both my bikes. I like having a bell especially when I am riding where I am likely to meet other cyclists, runners or walkers. A bell distinguishes me as a cyclist. I am not aware of any other vehicle that uses a bell to warn others of my presence. Sure you can say "Cyclist passing on your left" or something like that and hope that a couple walking along and chatting understand you but a "ting ting" on your bell says it all and in a universal language. 

Beryl Burton
I started racing in time trials in the UK when I was 15 because I couldn't ride in road races until I was 16. But that's not the point, the point is that the RTTC (Road Time Trials Council) required me to have a bell on my bike. Looking back I'd have to say this was kind of quaint. But it is a "rule no more" as what we used to call "time testers" now wear wind suits and weird helmets and ride carbon bikes with odd looking bars and solid wheels - but no bell. What a shame, a tradition gone, a lost link to the great riders of the past. In 1963, when I was seventeen Beryl Burton, yes a woman, broke the 4 hour barrier for the 100 mile time trial on a 10 speed steel road bike with a bell. And time trials had to start and finish in the same place so this was not a one way wind assisted ride. 

So those are the reasons I like having bells on my bikes. But before you rush out and buy one, let me say there are several kinds you should consider. There's the old fashioned steel domed bell with a trigger and gears inside that makes a real ringing sound and there are the light weight aluminum domed ones with a pinger that go "ting ting". I personally favor the Knog Oi "ting ting" bell because it inconspicuously wraps around my bars near the stem. Fortunately I have yet to see a USB rechargeable electric bicycle bell.

Knog Oi bell
It should be noted I have not received a position on the board of Knog nor any compensation for my mention of their product here.

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