It’s the law in Queensland to have a small bell attached to your bike. For the uninitiated, this bell is to be used to warn meandering pedestrians you’re hurtling towards them and that they should refrain from waving their arms like they’re performing Tai-Chi. It’s also used to notify other cyclists that you want to race them and I have, on one hilarious occasion, seen it used in a vain attempt to dissuade a marauding bird from attacking the facial region of a cyclist. When I’m nearing the end of my commute I’m physically exhausted and generally regretting my choice of late-afternoon snack and it doesn’t take much to annoy me. I rode behind a man earlier this year that seemed to have wholeheartedly embraced the concept of the safety bell. He dinged it at everything he saw.
Other cyclists? Ding!
Every chime from his sparkling bell irritated me to my core. I started to think that this guy must be some sort of special needs bloke having a cheerful afternoon jaunt on a bike. He was keeping up a brisk pace but I decided to overtake this jingling maniac lest I throttle him with my bike lock and end up serving 2-5 for assault. As I overtook him I looked across and, sure enough, he was a special needs bloke on a cheerful afternoon jaunt. He beamed at me, gave me the thumbs up and dinged his bell enthusiastically.
DING! DING! DING! DING!
The guy looked like he was having the time of his life. I laughed along with him and, strangely enough, the rest of the trip home seemed to fly by. Thanks for that, passionate bell-ringer!