The Chainlink

I visited Portland recently and spent a lot of time rolling around neighborhoods with some very well-connected bicycle advocates who know everyone in PDX from the Farmer's Market vendors to the coffee shop baristas. I noticed a lot of people smiling and ringing their bells or honking at us, NOT because they were passing us or thought we were being dicks, but because they just wanted to say hi.

Back in Chicago, I thought this was a pretty cool tradition, and I notice other cyclists saying hello this way occasionally. Just the other day I was carting my milk crate to Trader Joe's and I exchanged simultaneous bell dings with some BMX teenagers (sorry, kids, but I didn't even date high schoolers when I was in high school. Thanks for the lascivious grins, though).

So, is this a neat way of saying "yay for us!" to other cyclists, or is it super annoying? I know sometimes I'll get honked at by a car and I'll be terrified someone is about to run me over or I'm being a huge asshole and I'll look behind me and some Trixie is giving me a thumbs-up and calling "Nice bike!" Thanks for the compliment, but you know you gave me a heart attack, right?

NI don't mind when honks or catcalls come from other cyclists, partially out of some possibly misguided sense of solidarity, and partially because unlike cars they don't have the ability to murder me with little effort.

So; if another person on a bike rings their bell or honks their horn at you, do you "brrrrrriiiiiiiing!" back, or do you get pissed off? Should this be standard practice for two cyclists to say hello?

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i ring my bell all the time. my girlfriend gets sick of it, calling me the "bell bonkers biking boy." but i love it. i say to other bikers and ring at parked cars with people in them to make them aware i'm there. sometimes i just ring it for no reason. i figure the more i ring the more aware pedestrians and cars are of me. i think the bell is a lot friendlier than a horn. one time, i rang it riding through a park as a tiny kid had his back to me and looked to be unaware that i was coming up behind him. i rang my bell and without seeing me, he yelled, "ice cream!" that his knee jerk reaction, so bells are good in my book.
I don't have a bell, I won't get a bell, I don't like bells. No one needs to say anything to me just cause I'm out riding around, unless there are cocktails involved. (Insufficiently caffeinated sarcasm fully intended)
I love ringing my bell at other cyclists. My question is, at what point do you ring it? The timing needs to be right....

Also, in midwinter during a snow storm a ring to another cyclist is for sure meant as a "hey, awesome you are out here as well".
I like to smile and wave. Sometimes I ring my bell, too, usually if I know the person.

I love to ring the bell for little kids, because they always seem to like it.
I say on your left, I don't have a bell, I do it to be courteous so I don't spook people in their state of bike bliss, and I tell you what; it pisses me off when people don't let me know when they're coming (unless they have a huge 2 ft clearance.) It's a way to acknowledge a fellow cyclist. Its like saying "hi" when you're walking down the street. I don't yell it, but I will say it. the only exception is if you can clear a wide swath of space. So my point is: if one is riding and passing and they are into the six inches of shoulder on my left, say it ring it, or else ya might as well be carpooling. (Just kidding. a little.)or whatever I think people should say or ding something.
I commute down lincoln to wells, then down into lower wacker. I tend to travel at a higher rate of speed and I always leave plenty of room on the left side of a cyclist as I pass. I never try to pass a cyclist while we are both in the bike lane, I will move over onto the traffic side of it as I pass. As with any type of driving or riding you have to make quick judgements of those around you, giving more room to those who look like they could be trouble. I have much more problems with cars and pedestrians then other cyclists

Julia said:
I say on your left, I don't have a bell, I do it to be courteous so I don't spook people in their state of bike bliss, and I tell you what; it pisses me off when people don't let me know when they're coming (unless they have a huge 2 ft clearance.) It's a way to acknowledge a fellow cyclist. Its like saying "hi" when you're walking down the street. I don't yell it, but I will say it. the only exception is if you can clear a wide swath of space. So my point is: if one is riding and passing and they are into the six inches of shoulder on my left, say it ring it, or else ya might as well be carpooling. (Just kidding. a little.)or whatever I think people should say or ding something.
Not unless it's necessary. I'm an introverted weirdo.
If I'm passing a bike and there's no car on my ass, I'll take the whole lane and not even bother them, except for a nod or wave.
Now I get a little bell happy, if I'm riding a bike with one. I always break them quickly, so I stopped even trying to keep one on and working. Since my bike was stolen a couple of weeks ago I've borrowed a friends bike and it has a bell so I use it......a lot.
To get to the point ... I rang my bell at some sexy biker riding the oppisite way on armitage, and then realized i had just basically cat called someone. I'm better off without a bell.
I am being harassed by a little bell attached to handle bars. . . . !!!
HA!... Ice cream :D
Honestly, if I like your style or you look like a cool dude or an uber bike dork, I ring. Roadies rarely ring my bell because they're obviously way too much about performance to have a bell mounted on those carbon handlebars, so I don't even bother.

But then again, I'm from Portland where that sort of thing is done.
I do not ding but i routinly say good morning or afternoon if I am passing someone. I do enjoy the hi-de-ho between bikers.

have a great day

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