The 10 Best Bike Horns
A Little Quality Time On Two Wheels
It can help reset a mind bogged down by long work hours and stressful days.
In many countries, the United States included, learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of passage. For most kids, the years that follow learning how to ride include their first forays into independence. At a certain point, those kids will grow up, get their driver's licenses, and have even more freedom, but the bicycle is the first tool we use to set forth on our own adventures.
It's a good thing to get kids into from an early age, but that doesn’t mean that learning to ride is only for children, nor that riding a bike shouldn’t be an activity you enjoy your whole life through. Even if you are an adult who has simply never gotten around to learning, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to master.
Bike riding is one of the most rewarding cardiovascular exercises we have available to us. It's relatively inexpensive, you can do it almost anywhere outdoors, and it doesn't put the kind of stress and strain on your joints that you might experience when running. Riding a bicycle is also good for the environment. If you have simple errands to run, you can get most of them done on a bicycle as quickly — if not more quickly — as you can in a vehicle. After all, it's a lot easier to cut through heavy traffic and find a good parking spot when you're on a bicycle.
Right up there with the physical and ecological benefits of riding a bicycle is the potential benefit to your psyche. Not only does exercise in almost any form release endorphins that are guaranteed to make you feel good, the act of excursion, the willful removal from our beholdance to technology and screens of all shapes and sizes, will act as a kind of pressure relief valve. It can help reset a mind bogged down by long work hours and stressful days.
We've established some of the positive aspects of bike riding, but that doesn't mean that the picture is entirely rosy. There are plenty of dangers associated with bike riding, a handful of which are serious enough to potentially cost you your life. Fortunately, plenty of additional tools are available that drastically increase your safety on the roads and trails.
Quite possibly the most important thing that you can do to keep yourself safe while out riding your bike is to help make others aware of your presence. One of the most reliable tools for raising this kind of awareness is the bike horn. This device comes in one of a few styles, and depending on the environments in which you ride, one style may be more suitable to you than another.
They often have small bulbs attached to them, usually made of rubber, and when you squeeze this bulb it sends a rush of air out through the horn.
Traditional horns resemble the bell ends of certain brass instruments like the trumpet. They often have small bulbs attached to them, usually made of rubber, and when you squeeze this bulb it sends a rush of air out through the horn. These are usually not the loudest options on the market, but if you spend most of your time leisurely riding along boardwalks and park trails, they should provide just enough sound to get the attention of pedestrians and other bicyclists in your path.
Similar devices that aren't technically horns but that deserve a spot on our list are bike bells. These, like the small horns be described above, aren't terribly loud. But compared to those horns, their timbre is such that they draw a little more attention from the human ear, making these somewhat better options if you’re a faster rider and you want to be able to call attention to yourself from a distance.
Neither of these options is particularly well-suited for use on roadways, however. They simply aren't loud enough to penetrate into the cabins of most vehicles, nor can they easily rise above the relatively loud ambient noise of the streets. For people who ride frequently in these environments, there are more powerful bike horns available. Many of these are integrated into headlight systems that provide you with both audibility and visibility on the road.
Once you decided which style of horn is most appropriate to your biking environment, you can begin to evaluate them based on their appearance and build quality. A small bell for a child's bike, for example, can be chosen largely based on its aesthetics, where a horn system intended for use on busy city streets is better evaluated by its durability and peak volume.
Other Essential Bike Accessories
Staying safe while riding your bike is paramount. If you truly love to ride then nothing will put a damper on your spirits like an injury that sidelines either you or your bicycle. There are a few additional investments you can make, on top of a good horn, that can maximize your safety level.
There are a few additional investments you can make, on top of a good horn, that can maximize your safety level.
If the horn that you select comes with or is built into a headlight, then you may not need to invest in any additional lighting. If you choose to do so, there are excellent options on the market featuring LED lights and USB charging ports that make for exceedingly portable and reliable devices.
While a good headlight can help illuminate the road in front of you and also make you a little more visible to others, it's still a small beacon in a dangerous situation. To raise your visibility further it's smart to wear something like a reflective vest or illuminated armbands that can draw attention not just to the fact that you're there, but also to the outline of your shape. The better a driver, pedestrian, or fellow cyclist can make out how much space you're taking up on the road, the easier time they'll have avoiding you.
Finally, it should go without saying that riding a bike requires a helmet. Not everyone loves to wear a helmet, but not everyone loves dying of traumatic head injury either. Fortunately, many of the models on the market today are much more attractive than they used to be, and some even boast additional features like LED lights of their own and turn signals that you can activate with a handlebar-mounted Bluetooth controller.