Friday, May 31, 2013

Photo Friday: First Encounters

When I was planning my trip to New York City, my main goals were to spend time with my best friend, and to visit and spend some time with another friend who lives in the city. Along with those goals were plans to drink some coffee, drink a little more beer, and take lots of photographs.

I made lists of places I wanted to visit for photographs and what I wanted to shoot, and, always thinking about ideas for blog posts, I devised ideas for Wordless Wednesday and Photo Friday.

(This is the where you insert the song "Ordinary Day" by Dolores O'Riordan as a soundtrack to this post.)

In addition to visiting sites for photo ops, I thought it might be nice to use my meeting with my New York friend, Miriam, as another opportunity. Something that I might be able to use for Wordless Wednesday.

I was going to use our first encounter as the theme for the photo shoot. Having never met Miriam face-to-face before, I asked her if it would be okay if, while we chatted and got to know each other, I could keep my camera to my face and periodically snap a photo. It would be a session of pseudo-candid shots: not posed, but just natural movements. She would only know I was taking a picture when she heard the camera snap.

The best-laid plans never go as expected. I had a few problems with the shoot. First, the weather didn't cooperate, as dark clouds and rain didn't allow much light to come through the large windows that we sat against. I wanted to use natural lighting, not flash, and so it was difficult to halt movement.

Second, my arms were tired and wouldn't allow me to hold my camera to my face for very long. It was at this point when I realized that after holding onto a steering wheel for seven hours, my muscles were fatigued. So I only held the camera up occasionally, which meant that I lost some opportunities to shoot.

Also, this being our first time together, sitting next to one another, I was a bit nervous, a bit excited, and I wanted to show Miriam that I was paying attention to what she had to say, and not just on how she looked through the lens.

I sorted through the photos that I shot of her that evening, connecting my camera to my iPad and editing the best images with Snapseed. But when I returned home, I ran the raw images through PaintShop Pro. Here are some of those images. Having been shot exactly a week ago, they are truly Friday photos.

After some consideration, I felt that simply showing photos of Miriam for Wordless Wednesday wouldn't do her justice. She isn't merely a beautiful woman: she is funny, lively, intelligent, thoughtful, kind. These photos show her listening, thinking, engaging, laughing, sharing. And I feel that you need to know that about her, rather than just seeing what she looks like.

After all, isn't that what we all want in our friends?

Here's to more encounters.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Notes from My Kids: Wish You Weren't There

For months, my kids knew that I was going to New York City at the end of May. Almost every day last week, leading up to my departure, we talked about how I would be leaving the house before they woke up on Friday, and that I would be home after they went to bed on Sunday.

My youngest daughter, Lainey, even asked me on Thursday, as I tucked her in bed, how many nights I would be gone.

"Three," was my answer.

"How much is 45 times three?" she then asked.

My answer was 135.

"Then you have to snuggle with me right now for 135 seconds."

"But I usually give you a 30-second snuggle each night. Why 45 seconds?" It was my turn to ask a question.

"Interest," was her answer.

On Friday, my friend, Stuart, and I arrived at our hotel shortly after 4 pm. We were just unpacking our things and I decided to take a photo of the view, which I posted as an Instagram image. Here is the shot.

Just as I tapped Send, my phone rang. It was from home, and it was Lainey.

"Dad, on your way home, can you stop at Toys On Fire and pick up a gift for my friend's birthday?"

"I'm in New York," I said.

"And can you also stop at Indigo and get her a gift certificate?"

"Lainey, I'm in New York City."

"Maybe a card to put the gift certificate in?"

"Lainey... Lainey... LAINEY!" The chatter went on until I raised my voice to cut through. "I can't pick up the gift or the card. I'm in New... York... City."

"WHAT?? You never told me that you were going to New York City. Okay, goodbye." And with that, she hung up.

When I returned home on Sunday, there was a card waiting for me. The handwriting was distinctly Lainey's. 

Everyone, now: 1... 2... 3... AWWWWW!

New York was a blast, but the welcome home (despite the kids being asleep) was totally worth it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Of Friends, Old and New

The other day, I said that my friend, Stuart, and I were in New York City for what we called a weekend of coffee, beer, and photo ops. But what I didn't say was that I was also in NYC for another reason: one that made this vibrant, beautiful city only the setting.

I was there to be with friends.

Stu and I have known each other since the ninth grade, when we were 13 years old. That was 35 years ago. Thirty-five years! I have friends today who weren't even born when Stuart and I started hanging out together.

Throughout high school, Stuart and I were inseparable. He would pass my house on the way to school and we would walk the rest of the way down the street to school. We were in many classes together, including music and drafting, algebra, and English. On our breaks we would hang out in the cafeteria or in the student lounge, which was known as the Red Room. And, at the end of the day, we would leave school together.

Our after-school activities were rituals: I would drop my school bag at my place and maybe retrieve one of my many vinyl albums, or not, and we would then continue to Stuart's house. We'd have a snack, often a cold glass of milk and a cookie; sometimes, a piece of apple spice cake. We would listen to music and just hang back, and relax after a day of classes.

I would stay until dinnertime, when my own meal would be waiting for me at my own home. Occasionally, I would be invited to stay, and I would only head home when the dishes were cleared and the kitchen cleaned.

And then our ritual would return on the next school day.

As we got older, during the final years of high school, Stu and I would go for long walks in the evenings, when we would talk about our woes of the girls we liked and of our unrequited loves.

My first trip to New York City was in 1984, with our high school's art department. Stu and I roomed together, at the Hotel Empire, across from the Lincoln Center. I would return to the Big Apple with Stuart two more times, when he was finishing his undergrad year in 1989 and again a couple of years later, when he pursued his PhD at Princeton.

A couple of years ago—three years to this week—Stu and I met up in Edinburgh, Scotland, both of us on separate research trips, but taking advantage of the timing to spend some time together. It was the first time we had travelled together in many years, but with us, time tends to stand still when we're living our separate lives, only to resume, as though little has changed, the next time we meet.

We promised ourselves that we would make this a new ritual, that we would try to meet every year or two and spend some quality time, catching up.

Better late than never, this weekend, it was good to know that we could still pick up as though we had only seen each other a week ago.

I said that I was in New York to see friends. Plural. Stuart wasn't the only friend I planned to meet.

Shortly after I became active in social media, I began interacting with someone in a writer's discussion group on LinkedIn. We shared similar interests, so we connected. Later, as I started using Twitter, this LinkedIn connection was one of the first people, outside of family, friends, and local services that I followed.

We didn't communicate with each other a lot, at first. We would occasionally respond to each others' tweets. Sometimes, these tweets would be about The Smiths or some other musical reference. Other times, they would be humourous or pseudo-philosophical tweets.

When I first connected with Miriam, she lived in Boston. When my family and I escaped Cape Cod in 2011 from Hurricane Irene and took refuge in Boston, I was tempted to contact Miriam and see if she wanted to meet up, but I didn't. I was shy. I felt we really didn't know each other well enough, and that she probably wouldn't have been interested in meeting me and my family.

For all she knew at the time, I could have been an axe-wielding murderer: the family could have been just a front. And for all I knew, she could have been one: her blog posts could have been a similar cover.

It wasn't until Miriam was looking for work that we started communicating more often. She had visited Canada in the past and wanted to return, and to possibly find a job here. At the time, I knew of a company in Ottawa that was looking for a writer, and I forwarded her résumé to a close contact.

Sadly, nothing came of it. The company hired internally. But the friendship between Miriam and me grew. We discovered that more of our interests overlapped: food, wine, beer, travel. Miriam took up running; I got more serious about cycling.

When Miriam moved to New York, I told her that a friend of mine (Stuart) and I had been planning to meet in the city sometime in the near future, and that it would be good if she had the time to meet as well. Miriam also talked of coming to visit in Ottawa. Both of our plans kept getting pushed back, due to various constraints, but we vowed that eventually, it was going to happen. We were going to meet.

When Stuart and I finally made it to New York this weekend, Stu agreed that it wouldn't be a guy-only get-together, that we would make room for one of my oldest friends to meet with one of my newest friends.

The three of us spent the first evening together: Stu and Miriam, getting to know one another; Miriam and me, coming to the realization that we were actually seeing one another, that this wasn't a virtual conversation.

Whenever Stuart and I get together, we pick up where we left off. Our conversations are easy-going and we know each other so well that we know we can say anything. Stuart is like a brother to me. I love him like he's family.

When Miriam and I met face-to-face, it felt as though it wasn't our first time meeting. I felt like I had only seen her the other day. But something was different: the friendship that we had developed over the past couple of years seemed validated in the first few minutes of being together. There was no awkwardness at meeting someone for the first time. For me, I wasn't shy like I usually am when meeting someone new. It was a comfortable "first" encounter.

I feel that if we lived in the same city, Miriam and I would become as best of friends as Stuart and I had enjoyed when we lived in the same neighbourhood in high school.

When Miriam and I said goodbye on Sunday, I felt a wave of sadness in knowing that it may be some time before I see her again. It was much the way I felt when I said goodbye to Stuart when we parted ways in Syracuse, on our way to our own cities.

I feel very fortunate for this past weekend. I had the privilege of spending some wonderful time with one of my oldest, dearest friends. I also had the privilege of spending some wonderful time with one of my newest, dearest friends.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened. — Dr. Seuss

Monday, May 27, 2013

Much to Tell

So, I just returned late last night from a quick trip to New York City and I have lots to tell, but no time to tell it all today.

What I will say is that I spent about 48 hours with my best friend in our pursuit of coffee, beer, and photo ops (not necessarily in that order). I also met my oldest virtual friend (we've known each other through LinkedIn and Twitter for a couple of years), who is virtual no more.

In those 48 hours, I sampled hot beverages from four independent coffee houses, drank 15 different beers, and captured countless images. And, most importantly, I've solidified and strengthened friendships.

This week, I will be devoting this blog to this past weekend, with photos and writings, and perhaps some reviews. At Beer O'Clock, I will have several reviews.

For now, just a couple of photos.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Photo Friday: After the Storm

For weeks, we in the Ottawa area have been calling for rain. The thaw was quick and the ground was dry, making way for plenty of weeds.

This week, our calls were answered.

For the past three days, it has poured on our city. Buckets full.

But the nice thing is that when the rains subsided, the neighbourhood turned into a photographer's dream.

I shot these photos an hour before sunset on Wednesday, after the rains had turned my quiet street into a river. Luckily, there was no flooding.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Into Darkness Is Dark. It Also Left Me Dark.


If you haven't seen Star Trek Into Darkness but want to, you might want to hold off on reading this post. Or, at the very least, only read until I warn you again, further down. I'm going to reveal stuff that will make you hate me.

But you can read the first part. I don't even talk much at all about the film.

I was three or four years old when I saw my first episode of Star Trek. It was on a black-and-white television, and I can clearly picture the cast on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Kirk was on the bridge, flanked by Spock and Bones. Uhura was opening hailing frequencies, and that's about all that I remember. At such a young age, I couldn't tell you what episode it was, but the mix of men, women, and aliens captivated me.

I don't think I saw much of the episode: my mother probably thought that I was too young to watch the show, or it conflicted with something she or my dad wanted to watch. I don't think I saw another episode for quite some time, because it's my only recollection of having watched the show in black and white.

And, at that age, the show would have been cancelled right around that time.

I don't remember when I started watching the syndicated episodes on a regular basis, but it must have been the very early 70s. I remember that I could watch it on CBC after dinner, on Saturday evenings, and on Sunday mornings. If I missed the Saturday airing, I always caught the Sunday-morning show, which ran while my folks were sleeping in. I got to know the Enterprise crew and their adventures to the point where I could quote them. Knowing every detail of a show didn't keep me from watching them over and over again.

I was a die-hard Trekkie.

My favourite episode was "The Doomsday Machine," with the large, hulking cone that devoured planets and starships for energy. When Kirk is standing on the Constitution, which is on a direct course for the mouth of the machine, I would sit on the edge of my seat. Every time.

I also loved "City on the Edge of Forever" and the original pilot, "The Cage," which was later used for another favourite, "The Menagerie." Other favourites include "Tomorrow is Yesterday," "Amok Time," "The Trouble With Tribbles," and "The Enterprise Incident." Truth be told, they were all much-loved, with the exception of a few: I didn't care for "A Piece of the Action" or "Miri."

I also wasn't a big fan of "Space Seed," which spawned Captain Kirk's arch enemy, Khan Noonien Singh, who returned in The Wrath of Khan. While I had seen "Space Seed" countless times and had even read the story in a Star Trek anthology that I had, I found that the story wrapped up far too quickly, the solution to beating Khan somewhat weak.

I loved The Wrath of Khan because it didn't seem as easy to beat Kirk's foe, and it was done at great cost to Kirk's ship and crew.

Despite my love for the original series, I totally embraced The Next Generation, enjoyed DS-9, and liked Voyager so much that I had my folks record episodes and send them to me in the years that I lived in South Korea.

I even enjoyed the short-lived series, Enterprise, despite the fact that they messed with the long-established Trek time line. Introducing the Romulan cloaking device decades before the Federation knew about it was one big way to get Trekkers as outraged as Harcourt Fenton Mudd, when he discovers that Kirk has created 500 copies of his wife.


One of the greatest draws to Star Trek fans was its continuity, how characters could come and go, and in many cases, the actors would return to reprise their role. Some of those characters, like Spock's father, Sarek (played by Mark Lenard), appeared in the original series, in two movies, and in two episodes of TNG.

I guess the Star Trek franchise is a good gig to get.

When the original series was rebooted in 2009, I was skeptical at first. I was mindful of the time line and I was going to be upset if it wasn't respected. But it was. Instead of starting over and doing things differently, without regard for what had happened in the past, the writers decided to create an event that seriously alters the time line as Trekkies knew it. The new actors embraced the past in the characters but were free to take them on a new path, and the audience bought it.

So did I.

I loved the reboot of Star Trek and couldn't wait for the next movie to come out. Even as the film was still in theatres, there was talk about a sequel and rumours that Khan would come back.

Into Darkness opened a week ago and was met initially with rave reviews, though a couple of people slammed it. Those reviewers probably weren't Trekkies.

The premise of the film is one of terrorism. London is bombed and Starfleet HQ is attacked by what seems to be a renegade elite agent, John Harrison (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). After Kirk's mentor and captain, Christopher Pike, is killed in the attack, Kirk and the Enterprise set off to find and take out Harrison.

But all is not as it seems.

In a twist of the Trek time line, Harrison is not who he is made to be. He is actually Khan, found a few years earlier aboard the Botany Bay by another Federation crew and brought back to Earth. Along with his 72 surviving followers.

I loved how the story twisted and turned throughout the movie, how lines from past movies were brought back, and how the Star Trek universe shows that while the past can change, fate still tries to work its way in.

But I did have one fundamental problem with the movie that has nothing to do with the time line. It has to do with casting.

While I love Cumberbatch (I was absolutely riveted by his performance in the series Sherlock Holmes), and he is purely evil in his part, he is not Khan. Khan was supposed to be a Sikh prince from late 20th-century Asia. Sure, the role was played by a Mexican actor, Ricardo Montalbán, but at least he tried to play the part.

Jean-Luc Picard had a Scottish accent and came from France. Go figure.

But to have an Anglo-Saxon guy play Khan? The Khan whose time line was not altered? The Sikh prince? I found it hard to swallow.

Sure, the writers wanted to have all sorts of twists and had built up this surprise, but could they have not chosen someone who at least resembled Montalbán. Or used an actor from India or Pakistan.

Once I learned that Harrison was actually Khan, I couldn't get the disconnection out of my head. It interfered with the rest of what was going on, on screen. And it disappointed me.

Sure, the movie was otherwise great. Lots of action and special effects, great bonding with the other characters in the film. Good acting all around. Into Darkness is truly worth seeing.

But to me, Cumberbatch is not Khan.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


So, my training for the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour is going somewhat well. I'm on my bike somewhat regularly and I've done some serious distances. I've practiced climbing and drafting, and I'm feeling that, though it will be a tough slog, I will be able to complete the 177-kilometre trek from Ottawa to Kingston.

And back.

Yesterday, I set out on my longest ride to date. I vowed that I would cover 100 kilometres, venturing into the Gatineau Park and ascending the steep-sloping parkway to the Champlain Lookout. I once cycled to the lookout a couple of years ago, after months of cycling the 32-kilometre distance to my office, which was also in the Gatineau Park. The trek to and from the Champlain Lookout, from my front door, is 80K. To complete 100 clicks, I had to pick a new route.

I headed out yesterday morning, leaving my neighbourhood in Barrhaven and following Fallowfield Road to Prince of Wales Drive, and then north to Hogs Back. From Hogs Back Park, I continued to Vincent Massey Park, past Billings Bridge, following the Rideau River all the way to Sussex Drive. From there, I headed to the National Gallery, worked my way down to the Rideau Canal, and followed the path under Parliament Hill to the Portage Bridge.

Next, I crossed the Portage Bridge into Hull and followed the Ottawa River, along the pathway, to Mousette Park, where I then turned north and crossed onto the Gatineau Parkway.

The Gatineau Parkway is a fairly steady climb, with few dips on the ascent, but nowhere is the ascent steeper than the Champlain Road that starts shortly after Pink Lake and runs for almost 20 kilometres. Several times on the road, I asked myself: "What have you gotten yourself into? You can't do this. Give up. Turn back now, before your legs fall off and your heart explodes." But I also thought that if I could do this climb, I could easily handle any slopes that the relatively flat course to Kingston could throw at me.

And so I persisted.

It took me more than two hours, but I did make it to the Champlain Lookout. It was overcast and I could see rain in the far distance. A gentle breeze cooled me, but wasn't enough to keep the mosquitoes from finding me. I had a couple of bites from my Clif bar, sipped from my water bottle, which had a touch of agave syrup in it, and felt a little energized. In five minutes or so, I was on my way back down.

It took very little time to reach Pink Lake, where I caught up with a friend who was supposed to meet me at the start of the Gatineau Park, but was delayed. Given the fact that at times, I climbed as incredibly slow speeds, I was grateful that he didn't see me at my worst, when I was ready to give up. And because he was experience in cycling in groups, he gave me some advice and allowed me to draft behind him for some ascents and some fast descents (at one point, we exceeded 62 kph). We stayed together to the bottom of Gatineau Park, down Mousette Park, and along the river to the Champlain Bridge.

We separated at Bate Island, where my friend's family was waiting with their minivan, and I continued on. I continued along the Ottawa River Parkway, to Lincoln Heights, and on towards Algonquin College.

At Iris Street, my front tire went down. I was just shy of 86 kilometres. And unprepared.

I had to call for a ride the rest of the way home. My 100-kilometre trek didn't happen. I was crestfallen, disappointed that I had persevered during the toughest time, when I wanted to give up, to being at a point where I felt good and looked forward to reaching home, to having to be driven home, my bike out of commission.

But I will get my tire fixed and will be on it again this week. And I will be prepared for Rideau Lakes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

And... We're Back

What started out for me taking a couple of days off from blogging turned into a week. And it's true what they say: if you stop writing for a while, you'll get rusty. The creative juices will slow. You'll get writer's block.

And while that's true, it's not the only reason why I haven't written a word in more than a week.

I've been incredibly busy.

Last Sunday, when I usually put together my tasting notes for Beer O'Clock and get my head into a frame for writing a Brown Knowser post, I was tired after having spent the weekend at yet another dance competition with my kids. I was so busy last weekend that I actually didn't have any beer. I didn't drink a drop. For me, not having any beer on a weekend is virtually unheard of.

And yet, I survived.

On Monday (I swear, I won't do a day-by-day breakdown of my week), after dinner, the family and I got caught up on some much-neglected house work, I decided that I would take one more day off and blog on Wednesday. I had shot a slew of photos on the previous week, so all I had to do was sort through them and do some editing.

We Prop Dads stick together
That was before I realized how busy I was going to be on Tuesday, when I helped out with my kids' dance recital, assembling and organizing props, and then running through rehearsals. That was Tuesday through Thursday (rehearsals), and Friday and Saturday (actual shows). By the time I returned home each evening, I was physically exhausted and mentally unprepared to sit down in front of my computer to write.

That's show biz.

But my own show must go on. I need to focus and let the creative juices flow once again. I need to crack open a new beer and share my thoughts with my fellow beer lovers.

Obviously, that's not happening today. This blog post just goes to show how rusty I can get.

Because today is a holiday in Canada (Victoria Day), I'm taking time to think. I'm going to start my morning with a 100-kilometre bike ride, during which I plan to do a lot of thinking. Bike rides, I find, are great for that, and my thoughts also take me away from the fact that I'm pushing my body with exercise. It's a win-win situation.

Now that I'm back at the keyboard, I hope to make each post count. (Except this one.) If I don't get something down, that's okay. I'll take a night off again.

You'll be here when I have something, won't you?

Beer O'Clock returns tomorrow.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Photo Friday: Where In Ottawa

It figures.

I was going to take Thursday night off and not post anything. But oh, no, somebody had to solve my Where In Ottawa challenge.

Thanks very much, Coreen!

All kidding aside, I want to congratulate her for figuring out where Monday's photo was taken. It is the old Barrhaven school house, on the corner of Strandherd Drive and Jockvale Road.

This is the first time that I've used a location from my own neighbourhood. Here are the clues, explained.
  1. Not the address: the school was built in 1906.
  2. I wonder if Mel went there: Barrhaven was named after Mel Barr. There's a chance the school was still operating when he was there, but I have no information to that effect.
  3. That's what I call "old school:" need I say more?
Congratulations again, Coreen.

The next challenge is Monday, June 3.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Taking a Day Off: Maybe Two

I've decided to take a break from blogging for a couple of days so that I can focus on other tasks that have been piling up on my To Do list.

Last night, however, as I was riding a 48-kilometer route around Ottawa (that makes 121 kms so far this week), I was reminded of a post I wrote last June and thought I would share it again. Because it's that time of year.

I don't do repeats often: I hope you enjoy the read...

This week, the Ottawa police are performing a blitz to ensure that cyclists are obeying the rules of the road and are exercising safe biking habits, and I applaud them. Cyclists need to keep themselves and others who share the roads and pathways safe.

The police are also checking to make sure the bikes are equipped for safe travel. They are ensuring the bikes have adequate brakes (no argument there), lights (sure, if it's dark), and... bells.

I own two bicycles: a big, hybrid cruiser and a lean street bike. I ride the hybrid when I have things to carry (it has a carry rack over the rear wheel), when I'm leisurely cycling with the family, or when I'm going somewhere that may not have a secure place for me to store it (if I have to lock up the bike, rather than take it inside with me, I leave my street bike at home).

When I ride my bike, I respect the rules of the road (for the most part). I stop at stop signs and for red lights; I keep to the right-hand side of the road; I give pedestrians the right of way. I share the road or path.

My hybrid has a bell. My road bike does not. It never will.

I bought the bell for my hybrid because when I bought the bike, I knew that Ottawa has a law that states that bells on bikes is mandatory. I'm pretty much a law-abiding citizen, and so I complied with the rule.

When I got home with my new bike and accessories—lights for the front and back, carrier, and bell—I set out to attach them to the bike. Everything was easy to affix to the bike, except the bell.

With the design of my hybrid, the gear levers were placed on the handle bars close to the hand grips, and so I couldn't attach the bell near the grips. But towards the centre of the handle bars, the bar was less crowded and so that's where the bell went. And remains.

The first time I used my bell I learned that I had to remove my hand from the grip and reach over the gear lever for the left-hand side. It wasn't a difficult move, but it wasn't a natural move. It was awkward to ring the bell.

So I stopped using it.

Instead, if I need to pass someone on the road or pathway, I call out: "passing on your left." As I pass, I add, "thank you."

I learned something interesting in calling out, rather than ringing a bell: it's faster; it's more explicit of my intentions; and it also received a better response.

The third result was much more interesting. Before, when I rang my bell, people would react in different ways. They would stop walking. They would jump aside—sometimes, into the left side of the path.

As a cyclist, I don't want people to move as I pass them. I want people to continue on course. The onus is on me to navigate safely around them. And if people know where I'm going, it makes passing safe and easy.

The intention in sharing the path is to ensure that everyone is safe. I don't see how a bell is superior to a voice. A bell simply dings. A voice communicates.

To have a law that requires a bell be equipped on a bike is short-sighted. Who cares what kind of device is used to signal a bike's approach as long as some sort of announcement is made?

My voice didn't cost me anything. My voice is loud and clear. My voice is instructional. Even if the person who I pass doesn't speak English, my voice tells them I'm there, and I'm coming.

My voice is my bell.

If the lawmakers are so adamant to have bells on bikes, they shouldn't go after the people who ride the bikes; they should go after the manufacturers who make them. The bells or other sound makers could be designed into the bike.

Seat belts are mandatory for automobiles. Law makers went after the car makers, who are responsible for equipping the vehicles with passenger restraints.

Cities who arbitrarily impose this law are going after the wrong people. The law is bullshit, pure and simple.

I have a bell on my hybrid. But I don't use it. My road bike doesn't have a bell.

And, so long as my voice works, it never will.