Cyclists Need Air Horns, Not Bells, to Clear Crowds on Golden Gate Bridge

Categories: bikes
pee wee.jpg
Move over, Large Marge
Cyclists commuting between San Francisco and Marin County face another three months of frustration as crews complete seismic work that has closed the bike path on the west edge of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Rather than speed to their destinations, cyclists must now inch through pedestrian tourists who are crowding the footpath on the bridge's eastern side. Don't worry, there's an app or that.

Well, not really, but there should be. Rather, we've been relying on something bigger and better than the small jingle-jangle of bike bells to navigate the crowds.

We got ourselves high-decibel horns and buzzers small enough to be mounted to a bicycle.
How else can cyclists navigate this critical mass of crowding?

Like other bike shops, The Freewheel Bike Shop on Hayes Street carries an assortment of bells that make a civilized, jangly sound you might imagine Mary Poppins issuing. That's great, but let's face it: Golden Gate Bridge tourists, bless their oblivious, obstinate souls, don't always respond to the polite ringing of bells.

Which is why I've installed on my bike a Mega-Horn -- a 105-decibel electric buzzer producing the same warning sound that in Hollywood movies usually signals a power-plant disaster.

It's available from Niagara Cycle Works for $20.99, takes a 9-volt battery, and is about as loud as a lawnmower. Unfortunately, that's only enough noise to cause tourists to look up momentarily, notice that the source is just a cyclist, and go back to wandering in the middle of the path.

So I'm thinking of upgrading to a horn that produces rock-concert-level noise. Park Presidio Marine on 24th Street carries a Coast Guard-certified Falcon signal horn up to 120 decibels that's only $9.99. If you plan on riding with friends, buy several. On the Golden Gate Bridge nowadays, twice the noise might mean getting to Marin County twice as fast.

If sustainability is your bag, and you're willing to settle for slightly less than 120 decibels, Freewheel can order you a Delta AirZound Rechargable Air Power Horn. It produces 115 decibels, installed in a mounted container on your bike. That's about as loud as an electronic riveter heard from three feet away.

When cyclists are finally allowed back onto the bike path in October, you can still find great use for this baby -- and that is to blast away at rentabike tourists.

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Time to slow down.

I was walking across the bridge and was told by a "Wannabe-Lance-Armstrong on 'roids" type to "watch out!"  All this because I was standing next to the tower.

I'm standing here.  I'M STANDING HERE.

On both sides of every tower leg, there are clear signs for the cyclists to be prepared to walk their bike around the towers.  Why...?  They have blind corners and the wond cann really whip around them causing cyclists to loose their balance.

How about this: SLOW DOWN.


I used to commute with my bike across the bridge for a couple of years. There are always those ones on their fancy road bikes thinking they are racing the cars next to them with no regards to safety, dashing in out of bikers, yelling "on your right", even though there's no real room to pass.

If bikers in the city can get a ticket for riding through stop signs and without lights, they should also get fined for hitting pedestrians or speeding on the bridge. I rarely walk, but I still believe that pedestrians should always have the right away as they are the lightest and are the slowest amongst all. I've even seen a road biker yell at a guy with crutches just because his crutches were sticking out a little.  WTF Roadies!


Cops need to enforce the "KEEP RIGHT" signs on the east side path while the west bike path is closed for construction.


Matt: You know how you don't like it when a car driver honks at you and bullies you on the road? Then, why do that to other people?

If you really want to be a 'serious rider' then go slow on the GGB and be an adult and wait until you get out in the headlands to let 'er rip.

-A fellow cyclist


Guest: You know how you don't like it when you're driving a vehicle and there's a car stopped in the middle of the traffic lane blocking other vehicles because the driver is reading a map or doing something with their cell phone? Then, why expect bicyclists to like it when people do the equivalent thing in front of them?


Lexica: that analogy is nonsensical.  Cyclists who are on a footpath, which is intended for foot travel, need to respect the pedestrians, not the other way around.  Arrogant cyclists in this city need to stop feeling so entitled to every patch of paved surface.


Bike or car, its a construction zone. Delays and slow going are to be expected.

There are hundreds of miles of awesome biking on both sides of the bridge, so I don't understand why some of my fellow riders can't just take it slow on the bridge before mashing. If Lance or Levi were on the bridge, they wouldn't be having a hissy fit. They would wait until it was open road and then get pedaling, right?

All that said, the Bridge Commission should have just taken a lane for bike riders. But don't take out your frustration on the people trying to enjoy their vacation-its not their fault the bridge commission is incompetent.


Or you could just ride slower.

The GGB bike path is such a festering morass of yuppie entitlement sometimes.  I'm glad the tourists are there to slow your roll.  Don't time-trial on the fucking bridge and then maybe people won't be "in your way".

Opus the Poet
Opus the Poet

If they rode any slower they would be track standing. Seriously people are standing in the middle of the path taking pictures while blocking traffic. My buddies in SF are telling me that a normal ride across the GGB has a top speed of 5 MPH and an average of 2. I walk 2.6 MPH and I need a cane or other support because of the damage I got in my wreck. You would think that normal healthy people who hadn't had major reconstructive surgery could do better?

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