We’re blessed with an almost unprecedented amount of urban green space here in Austin. You can roll out from MJ’s, in the heart of downtown, and hop directly onto the Lady Bird Lake Trail, immediately immersing you in green, water, and vistas. A quick ride over to the Barton Springs Greenbelt, and a few miles of trail later, a commuter can pop out near home in South Austin. It's amazing trail riding in the middle of the city. You can commute by mountain bike and reach the core of our busy town without encountering stoplights, traffic, or cars.
The challenge is, the Greenbelt is open to everyone, and as the weather warms, the trail gets crowded. With cyclists. Hikers. Runners. Dogs. Earbud escapists. Daydreamers. Everybody. With people in varying degrees of skill and environmental awareness, a bell is an under-appreciated and non-threatening tool to keep you and the rest of the world safe and social.
Calling out, “On your left!” is effective, but often disconcerting and many times taken as hostile and "yelly." We want to be good bike advocates, so let's rely on a friendly and effective alert signal. Like Occam, and his famous razor, the answer to all your trail worries is the simplest.
The bike bell.
Cheap, lightweight, and for some odd reason, smile-inducing, bike bells are the endearing solution for busy trails. In fact, I now consider this essential for any of my bikes. People move with good cheer. They're perfect for blind corners, and can be heard from far enough away for dog owner to make space. A bell will make your trail and commuting life infinitely more enjoyable. In addition, those around you will appreciate your thoughtful consideration.
And you know what would look great with that bell? A new Moots.