It’s a small piece of metal affixed to your handlebars, and even with a limited range of motion in your thumb, it’s extremely easy to use.  So why don’t you bloody use it?  Instead, you ride your silent bicycle up behind me, passing by while doing ‘the wobble’, as you attempt to negotiate around my darting dog, and give me a dirty look for the potential danger she poses to you and your accompanying children.  Well guess what?!  This is entirely avoidable!  If you ring your bell, alerting me to your presence, then I can call my dog to my side and keep her there, like a statue, until you and your offspring have safely passed.

You may think this rant is a little over the top, but this is a daily occurrence on the path I take Kimber along.  It’s a multi-user path, and I’m always alert to other users and what that means for Kimber and me.  When I see a cyclist, or a jogger, I can call her to me and everyone, including Kimber can pass safely.  If I don’t know they’re there, I can’t do anything.

Because it’s the holidays, parents seem to be increasingly out cycling with their children.  They lead the way, meaning they’re responsible for ensuring there’s a clear path in front of their cycling party.  When they don’t signal their presence, it means they’re putting their children in harm’s way.  Not just because Kimber or some other dog is running across the path at that moment, but because they’re teaching their children not to bother using their bells.  So when their children are out cycling on their own, and round a corner without ringing their bell, only to encounter a dog that causes them to swerve and fall off their bike, they shouldn’t bother blaming the dog.

Today I suggested to a lady who sneaked up behind us with her young daughter, that if she rang her bell, she wouldn’t have to swerve.  To which she replied that ‘it doesn’t work very well’.  Bicycle bells cost less than a fiver: get a new one.

Lately I’ve been wondering if these cyclists have self esteem issues?  Perhaps they don’t want to announce themselves in case nobody cares?  Or maybe they just want to be invisible?  So if you’re a coach looking for a niche, I reckon I’ve found you one.  Help cyclists improve their self esteem, thereby helping us all to enjoy our countryside safely.