Tag Archives: bicycle stocking stuffer ideas

Making yourself heard, with a bicycle bell or by voice command?

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Working on the gift section in the winter edition of the MN Bike/Hik Guide, coming out in early December, we tested a new bicycle bell from SpurCycle. The Compact Bell is perfect for the mountain bike or a flat bar commuter. The bell also offers the same high-frequency ping as their original bell, just smaller with less moving parts. However, with more people walking and biking, is it better to use a bicycle bell or your voice command to bring attention as you approach?

The SpurCycle Compact Bicycle Bell

In a recent test of the SpurCycle Compact Bell, I found the ring lasts longer than most bells. I found the high-frequency ping with a rich aftermath tone helps those, as you approach, of your on-coming presents.

The perfect brass bell housing holds a ring longer, starting with a very hard “ping.”

This compact bell is plenty loud for off-road riding and suburban commuting but won’t win against car horns and heavy street traffic in a metropolitan area. This bell’s true advantage is how long the ring lasts (or “sustains”), ending at the same frequency.

From its package, test out the high-quality ping this bicycle bell makes.

It’s great for commuters or mountain bikers because you can start the ring 10-15 seconds before passing a biker or pedestrian. Letting let them know where you’re approaching from and how far away you are. With the SpurCycle Bell, there’s no need to ring your bell 20-times like the inexpensive department store models. The initial ring offers enough of a shrill to get the attention of even the most hardcore earbud rockers if you do choose to hit it repeatedly.

If your bike has a larger diameter handlebar (22.2 to 31.8 mm), consider the SpurCycle Original.

Mastering the use of your voice or the use of a bicycle bell

In a recent article published by CyclingSavvy, on should you use a bicycle bell or your voice? For many, it’s a cultural issue. In this in-depth article, John Brooking discusses how you can use a bell or your voice to alert people and what to check for after sending an audible signal. He also touches on the other sounds bicycles make and how these extend your pre-ride safety check. Mastering the use of your voice or bell when riding is a call-and-response. Musicians use this so the audience can sing along; you can use it, so your passage is predictable and safe.

Personally, I prefer the bell to voice commands. Especially if you are in an urban area with heavy pedestrian foot traffic. Spending time in Amsterdam on a bicycle made me a true believer that the bell’s sound was mightier than the voice.

A bicycle headlight that works well on or off the bike

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

No matter what time of the year there is never enough daylight and having a bicycle headlight is a necessary item for any cyclist riding on the road or on trails. Over the last couple of months, I have had the chance to test the Fenix BC21R v2.0 bicycle headlight in several applications with memorable success. Retailing at less than $75, the Fenix worked well while commuting by bike and fat biking through the snow. This 1,000-lumens capacity light offered me several beam output settings that I needed at dusk and in the dark to see and be seen. Plus its makes a handy stand-alone flashlight when not on my bike.

This light easily clips-out from the handlebar, in a minute’s notice, to become a handy flashlight.

 

 

The Fenix BC21R v2.0 bicycle headlight out of the box

The Fenix bicycle light comes packaged and inside the box, you’ll find:

The light fits well in the packaging with the extra parts tucked behind the form-fitting plastic holder.

  • BC21R v2 Light head
  • Fenix rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • USB Type C charging cable
  • A handlebar mount, with two extra rubber mounting shims
  • Spare O-ring
  • User manual
  • Warranty card

The light fits well in the packaging with the extra parts tucked inside. The Fenix branded 18650 Li-ion battery is pre-installed in the headlight with a small piece of insulation that needs to be removed before charging and using. The housing of the bicycle headlight is engineered to protect it from dust and foreign objects and is perfect for safe cycling on those rainy days.

Bike commuting with the Fenix bicycle light

As the days get shorter (up through December 22nd  with winter solstice) using the Fenix bicycle handlebar light gave me several beam options with the lights four settings. Plus, while commuting or running errands the light was easy to remove at stops, for security and/or to plug it in for an added charge.

Through the woods on a snow-covered trail

Fat biking over the snow-covered trail the beamwidth of the Fenix was more than adequate.

Recently fat biking through the snow-covered forest I found the beam width adequate, the majority of the time in the lights medium mode. But, when the trail became more technical, it was easy to bump it up to the Turbo Mode. At 1,000-lumens, with two-hours of run time, the output was near that of riding in daylight.

A recap of the Fenix BC21R v2.0 bicycle headlight

The Fenix bicycle light is an interesting alternative to most lights in its price range. The light comes with a chargeable battery that can be easily replaced. It offers a high-quality optic lens with four settings for beam spread to make your time in the dark and low-light periods enjoyable. And with the convenient bicycle mount the light easily clips-out, in a minute’s notice, to a handy, multi-mode flashlight. For more information on Fenix and to order a bicycle headlight go to their website here.