Hey, if you’re going to ride in winter, you may as well have a little fun! After all, why ride at all if not for the fun of it?
I Ride for Fun
I only ride for the fun of it. I’m not trying to prove anything. I’m not trying to commute faster than I can by car and thumbing my nose at those silly cars sitting at intersections while I zoom through everyone cutting in and out, etc. I’m not that type of cyclist. I ride because it’s fun and I feel great afterwards. I get energy for my day. I get stress relief at the end of it. I enjoy having the time to think while I ride without the distractions of music, radio ads, stop-and-go traffic, and douches in tractors driving on the freeway at 40km/h (holy rant, Batman!).
At this point in my life my cycling addiction is still budding (sorry Hon!) and I have not yet begun to enjoy riding in the rain, sleet, rain-wind, and sleet-wind. I’ve been caught in it a few times, but given the choice, I’ll just drive if it looks nasty out. That’s not to say I don’t like getting dirty. I love MTB-ing through the mud and have on various occasions had to stop to pull sticks, mud, and grass out of my derailleur or use a stick to scrape mud to clear my forks and keep riding. I love it!
Enter the Jingle Bells. Since getting my Mountain Bike (MTB) in 2011, I found some cool trails in my area that I like to ride. They seem to be made by MTB-ers for MTB-ers, with single-track and bridges just for bikes, but as with all public green-space, people on feet use them too and not just MTBs. I’ve had a couple close-calls with hikers meandering along the MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILwhile I come up un-announced and inadvertently scare the crap out of them. I don’t mean to, it just happens. You can’t see around the next bend and you can’t remove your hands from the handlebars (it’s windy single-track) to ding a stupid bell.
I’m a nice guy. I don’t want to scare people. So I have a bell on my commuter bike that I use when approaching people. It’s not my fault that joggers with their headphones can’t hear me and get spooked. It’s not my fault that there are girls three-wide on the BIKE TRAIL doing lunges with their headphones on that get spooked. Most of the time, I give some warning, shout “on your left” and go on by. This is not possible on the single-track MTB trails. I need something to notify the unsuspecting deer-watchers when I’m flying down the trail rounding a bend.
Last Christmas, I happened to be handing out Lindt chocolate bunnies to some kids for a program I volunteered at. They had some neat little bells on them that the kids were tossing away. I figured: “Hey, this might just work”, so I asked for some and put four of them on my MTB handlebars. They barely made a sound, but I kept them on all year anyway. I lost about two of them somewhere. Anyway, they didn’t work too well so I was on the lookout for some better, louder bells that could passively alert the bird-watchers of my presence on the MTB trails.
This Christmas I found some Martha Stewart Christmas Bells, 12 to a pack, for like $3, so I snapped them up. I wanted black, but had to settle for red (guess Martha doesn’t do black bells). I tie-strapped a few to my bike and I may say that they jingle quite nicely! With the winter multi-use trails being so rough with footprints, my bells are jingling all the way to work. I’m pretty sure people can now hear me coming, so I can’t wait to use these in on the trails in the summer. Plus, I can just swat at them to give a little more jingle when passing people (swat the bells, not the people). So far, folks seem to enjoy a cyclist riding by them in winter with jingle bells, hopefully they’ll enjoy it in summer too.