January 12, 2008

The McFeely Factor

Jen wanted a bell for his bike, so he and I went out today and got one.

There’s a surprising number of wrong-looking bells these days. Like, half the width of your classic “jing-jing!” bell, with a sort of thumb-stud that you pull out and then let go so that it snaps back and strikes the bell. Once. “Ting!” A pure, solitary tone. That’s not a fricking bicycle bell. Ring that and people will look around for a manual typewriter by the roadside, and you’ll get run over.

A real bicycle bell goes “jing-jing!” and then you say “Speedy Delivery!” and give Mr. Rogers a videotape and you watch how something is made on Picture Picture (and it’s far better than How It’s Made, because you’ve got a live jazz band providing both the music and the sound effects) and you’re just the best damn grandfatherly character the world has ever seen. That’s a bicycle bell.

The “ting!” bells cost between $11 and $15 at a bike shop. A simple, classic Schwinn “jing-jing!” bicycle bell costs $4 at Target.

I did not attempt to influence Jen’s decision; in fact, I encouraged him to look at as many bells as possible. We went to four different stores (bike shop, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Toys ‘R’ Us)—and he picked out the classic Schwinn. In red. And I’ve gotta say I’m proud.

1 comment:

  1. In Amsterdam, where there are plenty of bike commuters, most bells go “ting” once— and you best get out of the way, or the cyclist will run you over.

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