In my younger days, I used to cycle to and from high school. It was a journey of about five miles each way, and particularly in the early morning, I had to contend with rush-hour traffic as people headed for work. It wasn't easy being on two wheels when impatient motorists would cut across one's path to turn a corner, or pull out of their driveway without even looking to see whether a cyclist or pedestrian was nearby. They seemed to have eyes only for other cars. Ringing one's pathetically small handlebar bell, or tooting a little horn, didn't help much.
I'm therefore delighted to see that technology has caught up with the bicycle, at least as far as warning devices are concerned. Chain Reaction Cycles now offers the Samui air horn system. This little beast produces 120 decibels (the same volume level as a nearby rock concert, jet engine or ambulance siren), and is rechargeable with a simple bicycle air pump (the reservoir is claimed to last for 50 uses).
I was amused to read some customer reviews:
This is actually so loud that it is unpleasant to use. Excellent!
... Curiously, there is a volume control dial. Who would buy the loudest bell they can find then turn the volume down? If only Spinal Tap were here now ...
Main uses: Half-asleep drivers not giving enough room, suicidal pedestrians who just like crossing in front of you without looking and the worst one - cars overtaking you on a blind bend (I also have a side mirror so that I can see the clowns trying to do this).
I wish I'd had one of these in my teens! Certainly, if I ever end up back on a bicycle sometime, I'll make sure to fit this, or something like it, as standard equipment. (No, I haven't been asked to write about it, and I'm not being compensated to do so - I just recognize a good safety idea when I see one.) I hope parents reading this, whose kids ride bikes, will also recognize a good idea when they see one, and make sure their kids are equipped to be even louder than usual (only when absolutely necessary, of course!).