Bells and other noise makers

I ride on a lot of country paths which results in me getting stuck behind people who don’t hear me coming.

So I’m disproportionally pleased with this idea. It’s the old card in the spokes idea, although I bought a plastic version so it should last a bit longer.

I tried other noise makers, like spokey-dokeys (they don’t make any noise unless you’re going very slowly), and cat bells (which I liked but they don’t make any noise until you go over a bump).

I could shout “excuse me!” but I feel shy and that doesn’t work until you’re very close to them.

I really want something that makes a hum, so people can hear me coming without it being a horrible noise. But the card thing is promising.

What do other people do? Carry a bell in their pocket? Or something else?


I always end up with saying “excuse me, can I pass on your left [/right] please?”, whether it’s running, riding bikes or unicycling. Or if there is any space left, just passing at a slow speed unannounced.

Anything that makes a constant sound would annoy me too much personally, and bells only tend to make people jump in random directions. I don’t have a very loud voice either, but my experience is that it doesn’t really matter, I have to slow down a lot anyway most times and it doesn’t really matter if I can shave 10 seconds of that time by being heard a bit sooner.


I actually like how quiet one wheel is on a trail.
When coming up behind hikers I always announce myself as, “Not a bear!”.

If they act surprised or scared I’ll add, “… please don’t shoot, spray, or take pictures!”


Personally I love the silence of riding a unicycle on a calm day. I would never make it noisy on purpose. To me a bike bell is the obvious choice.
My current setup is a knog bike bell that I can easily hit with my little finger without moving my hand.


A while back I got an Incredibell, but I’ve found I don’t use it much. It feels much friendlier to call out “Hello, can I pass on the left?”.

The only issue I have is when there is a lively group of hikers talking amongst themselves and then I really have to yell louder, or when someone is wearing headphones/earbuds but I may not notice that until I’m really close to the person.

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On your left should be enough and is expected trail etiquette here in the US. A bell is fine, horns scare the @#&$ out of people. The biggest enemy are noise canceling head phones.

I have one of these but it is not attached to any of my unicycles because I generally ride without handlebars most of the time. However, if I know I will be in an area with a lot of people I pop it on my index finger like a little ring and I can flick it with my thumb.

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I always slow down and when getting close to people I politely ask them to step aside. Of course it is a bit of a challenge to calculate when they will actually step aside and that I don’t have to step off, because I’m going to slowly. Other times I cough, which makes peeps look back.


Yeah I have sometimes intentially coughed as well. But during the peak of covid times, I sort of stopped doing that. :wink:


I think during covid time, it was extra effective. People would really jump out of the way.


Definitely people would climb a tree to not share air space with you on a trail during covid.

Perhaps a bluetooth speaker blasting that Ludacris song “Move, get out the way!” ?
(No, just kidding. Don’t do that! :grin:)

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I used to use a plastic dog trainer clicker- the noise it makes is sufficiently unusual that people generally look back when they hear it.

If you want to confuse people you can do a little clapping and then when they look back, you bow. This will then leave them thinking… who clapped? Because surely you would not clap and bow for yourself :thinking:

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Problem solved

I had a similar grip on my Huffy Thunder Trail “BMX” b*ke in 1978. :slight_smile:

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Dito, I also had one on my thunder road. One night after one to many beers I bid on a restored thunder road on ebay. I spent several days as high bidder hoping for someone to out bid me which eventually happened.

My wife would have killed me if I would have won that auction.

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Sometimes I’ll sing a little to make my presence known without startling folks. Or scat if the first thing that pops into my head is instrumental… I think I’ve used the original Super Mario Brothers music this way a couple times.

I also recently saved myself by screaming bloody murder at a driver who was about to turn into me without looking. I was gifted with a fairly loud and resonant voice though; YMMV. I was in a contra-flow bike lane and I guess it didn’t occur to them that someone might be coming from that direction :scream:.

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Ok, this reply is completely off topic and possibly inappropriate however I just discovered that THAT James Grime, whose videos were always my backup for awesome ideas for last minute lesson planning when I still worked as a maths teacher, rides unicycles. My tiny world just became a little brighter. :wink:

And now, to also contribute something to the topic: usually I go for the polite “excuse me” and then regularly get very annoyed at people who wear headphones.

When I feel less like talking to strangers I take one of those trail bells they sell at bike shops with me. This one: TRAILBELL Glocke für Biker und Trekker von VELOPLUS SWISS DESIGN


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