...when you've got squeaky disc brakes!
Which brings us to today's topic:
Scaring Pedestrians or Those People Getting Around by Foot
I'm always surprised at the number of people who get out of their car and start to walk across the street without looking. Or just walk off the sidewalk blindly and cross the street. Or wander back and forth along the paths in Riverfront Park or the Centennial Trail. (Well, sure, bikers do these things, too, but we're talking about those OTHERS today.) A bell on a bike to warn them is handy, but I have never gotten around to getting one. The ones for sale in stores are mostly those little dingy ones with a striker on the end of a spring. You hit it, the person walking is startled, then looks around and moves over in front of you.
So I rely mostly on my voice - "On your left", "Behind You", "Hello". This gets old, though, and many people are momentarily confused as to which side is their left. What I've found works best is a quick tap on my brakes. They squeak, and the person looks behind and sees me on a bike. They then move over to whichever side works best for them, and I pass on by. A noisy bike with dirty chain or rattling fenders works good, too.
Often, if I'm riding slowly on a multi-use path and there's plenty of room, I just glide on by without a sound. But that's when I occasionally and inadvertently scare somebody because they thought they had the whole trail or street to themselves, and they jump. Oops, sorry! Feel sort of bad, and resolve to get a bell, which I'm still working on.
A couple things I don't like about bells: they take up room on the handlebars, and you have to move your hand off your riding position to hit it. At least you do on a drop-bar bike. No big deal, I guess, and they do make some pretty small bells. What I need is one that attaches unobtrusively to the hoods that can be worked with the thumb. Or maybe a brake lever actuated bell. Oh man, that would be as annoying as squeaky brakes.
Update: a quick search and found a bell that attaches to the hoods for Shimano STI levers, but only ones installed on bikes prior to Spring 2010.: Mirrycycle Incredibell Road Bell. Will have to see if it can be jerry rigged for Apex levers.