I remember 1979 as the year Chicago White Sox fans blew up about 10,000 disco records in the Old Comiskey Park and unfurled the phrase “Disco Sucks.” While much of disco deserved the bad rap it got, I graduated high school in 1980 and came of age roller skating and high school dancing in Angels Flight pants in the 70s. Named after the funicular railway in “downtown” Los Angeles, when worn correctly, the skin-tight super bell bottoms dusted the dance floor and covered your boots.
They were often, but not always, sansabelt and had hidden pockets so as not to ruin the “lines” of your manhood. I wish I still had my old Angels Flight pants as they are pretty hard to find these days and command a princely price when you can find them NOS. Although at the time I disavowed disco in favor of early punk, I confess that I still like roller skating music. If I had a pair of vintage Puma or Hyde skates I would do my best to embarrass my teenage daughter to Anita Ward’s 1979 hit “Ring My Bell” in a too-tight pair of Angels Flights.
Sorry for the way my brain works, but I wrote all that because I think about that Anita Ward song every time I ring the new Crane bell I put on my Raleigh. It is one of the big solid brass bells with the striker hammer rather than the internal gears and levers. While I love the cheapo American flag bells that I so often include in my photos, they do rattle a bit and I was getting sick of listening to the noise.
I purchased my Crane bell from Earl at Ben’s Cycle and it might be about the best $9 I ever spent. It has a resounding “ding” with the mellow tone and more sustain than Jimmy Page’s ’59 Les Paul. I use the bell to alert walkers and runners on trails of my approach. A single ding of a bell seems ever more polite than any vocalization. Besides, although it is probably an accurate description of my position on the political spectrum, people never seem to remember their directions when I say “on your left.”