In a discussion about very-loud bicycle horns, alex wrote that he uses his voice. He added that it works well and is always ready to use.

And then he added:

"And, yes, training is needed."

If I need to alert a car to my presence, I generally might yell "C'mon" so loud that my throat hurts for a few minutes afterwards.

This seems to work fine. I don't think I ever needed any special training to learn how to do this.

What might Alex have meant when he wrote that training is needed?

  • 2
    Many people don't have the vocal power (or vastly over estimate their vocal power). For example, I've given lectures to ~300 students in a lecture hall without a microphone and had students hear me. Other instructors think they can do it and have students constantly asking for higher volume cause they can't speak loud enough or sustain it.
    – Batman
    Sep 28, 2017 at 4:05
  • Ah okay. You should post that as an answer. :) Sep 28, 2017 at 4:11
  • With training you'll be louder and clearer than you are now, and your throat won't hurt. A full-throated yell has its uses, but not so much as a warning.
    – Chris H
    Sep 28, 2017 at 10:05
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    A loud voice doesn't come from the throat but from the diaphragm, as the voice coach in teacher training taught.
    – Carel
    Sep 28, 2017 at 11:47
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    I find a “HEY” can be yelled and heard better than “C’MON” but it might just be me.
    – RoboKaren
    Sep 29, 2017 at 17:14

1 Answer 1


The word "c'mon" is a bad choice for an alert word, because you close your mouth to form the M and the C is a back-of-mouth sound that you can't say loudly. The N sound is a nasal sound, so the volume there is through your nose.

So the only loud part of this word is "---OOOOOnnn"

If your alert phrase was "Come on!" then it would be better than "c'mon", but the word of volume is some variation on HEY or HOI or OI

  • Punchier words with a more defined start - so its an imperative sound
  • Your windtube is simply pushing air without having to make limiting consonant sounds.
  • It doesn't really matter how your mouth is, you can make this sound with your tongue anywhere
  • Doesn't matter how dry your mouth is either - you're essentially just a straight horn pushing air.

enter image description here

More so in the road position than an upright, but that there is your lungs, windtube, and mouth while riding. Not pictured is your diaphragm muscle, which is the hand squeezing the bulb.

If you ever get a chance to play with a sound meter, try it out and see if you find a better word/noise for pure volume.

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    The golfer's call of "FORE!" is probably similarly effective even though the F won't carry.
    – Chris H
    Mar 1, 2018 at 15:56
  • There’s another word that starts with F that bicyclists apps use - both in terms of the imperative verb form (f—k) and noun form (f—ker) that also work well especially in urban environments.
    – RoboKaren
    Mar 1, 2018 at 17:35
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    @RoboKaren yep - but both words will end up sounding like AH or AH-KAAAA at high volume. F and K and to a lesser extent R won't be as loud.
    – Criggie
    Mar 2, 2018 at 3:20

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