“Awareness Bell” for Mountain Bikers Review

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Christopher Burris Wyche, a native Southern Californian is the owner of CBW Designs. He is an artist that has worked with semi precious and precious metals making earrings and jewelry since 1985. He started welding in 2000, but wait, he’s also a mountain biker. So one day it dawned on him that he could use a better bell to make hikers aware that he was coming down the trail. Now, I know that is most likely not news to you to use a bell on the trail. Bear Bells, as they used to be called have been around for years, but the “Awareness Bell” (patent pending) that Chris has designed is at a whole different level.

To start, Chris’s bells are handmade all of stainless steel accept the custom Velcro strap used to attach it to your bike. The Striker is CNC machined stainless steel as is the spring he uses as the striker arm. It’s the stainless steel spring and striker that makes Chris’s bells more unique than others. The striker has 4 grooves machined into it so that it can be easily grabbed and attached to the side of the bells edge, held in place by the slightly stretched spring. This gives the Awareness Bell the option to be silent on climbs or stealthy on descents. But more importantly, it gives the rider the option to simply release the striker from the bells edge to resonate a perfected sound ahead of the rider to make other trail users aware of their approach on singletrack descents.

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Perfectly sized to give that “big bell” sound…

 

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Stainless is durable, this is in stealth mode…

 

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Just grab the CNC Machined Striker…

 

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Give it a slight tug…

 

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Your ready for well announced singletrack descending…

 

Now to be honest, I knew that having a bell was a “nice” option. I never really thought of it as a trail necessity. It wasn’t until I went to Santa Barbara to do a Crazy Bear Bike day of shuttling that I became aware of just how vital an Awareness Bell was. At the top of the trailhead I was warned about the local hikers and that a bell was a “big deal” to them. It was a Saturday and they would be out in force on this beautiful day. I thought, “Sure, why not”. Not until I had several hikers “Thank” me for having a bell did I begin to realize just how important that was to them. Especially when I came upon an older lady hiker who did not hear my Vaporman Power Bell and she shouted out, “Where’s your damn bell!” I looked up in surprise and pointed at it. Her sour face turned to a sweet smile as she said, Thank you!” Wow! I had never had this kind of experience before…

“Where’s your damn bell!” I looked up in surprise and pointed at it. Her sour face turned to a sweet smile as she said, Thank you!”

 

A huge part of trail advocacy is sharing the trail. If attaching a bell to my bars makes people that would normally be surprised by my silent approach, who often grab their children as I fly around a corner unannounced, or likewise warn an equestrian or a cyclist climbing the trail I’m coasting down much happier to see me… than this is a no brainer, especially if I easily have the option to silence that bell when I want to! I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to warn people with a friendly voice that I am approaching them from behind only to scare them.

If there was an ocean of people hiking a trail, this bell parts the sea with a pleasant ring well in advance to give people time to move off the trail! I test drove this bell and it was easy to install, easy to use, and very affective! I made a couple of runs on McGill Trail on a Saturday just to see how a hiker day went and long before I got to hikers they were already off on the side of the trail . . . some were waiving and thanking me for having a bell! Thanking me?

The “Awareness Bell” is a long term investment. This bell is extremely well made and built to last and provide you with years and years of excellent trail ringing service. It comes in Satin Smooth and Satin Raw and there are options to have custom letters added or laser etched. The typical Awareness Bell goes for $35.00 bucks. Hardly a bank breaker for the quality of product you are getting. It has that custom cool factor that comes with it. But more importantly, the peace of mind that comes knowing that you are giving fair warning down the trail ahead of you and that they are more likely to be receptive to your passing. Well, that’s huge for me, and should be huge for you too. If it makes for a better relationship with other trail users, than get an Awareness Bell!

Oh, and by the way, Chris is a rippin’ mountain bike descender! There is a video of how the bell works on his site.

You can get your Awareness Bell online here: Awareness Bell.com

Tell ’em you saw it here on imtbtrails!

imtbtrails gives the “Awareness Bell” full 5 stars for its cool factor, being an affordable price, the ability to place it in stealth mode; it parts a red sea of hikers, and does everything it claims to do.

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One Response to “Awareness Bell” for Mountain Bikers Review

  1. mike says:

    Very cool! Props to small biz peeps.

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