I gave my last bicycle away so to take a ride I must go backwards


Back I go
whizzing away
through memories.
A hand-me-down
green, with little wheels
no stabilizers for me –
not yet invented.

My stabilizer was Dad –
his hand under the saddle
until I didn’t see
him take it away.
I was free.
Free to explore –
look no hands –
no traffic then
during the war.

I won a scholarship at 10
and my reward –
a new old bike,
cost: a pound.
Far too big, no gears,
hard work
pedalling up
the hundred pedal hill

Old bike still handy
years and years on,
whizzing down
the three-mile hill
to the bus for ante-natal,
tent dress billowing behind –
an air brake.
Alas, gone to the tip soon after.

Car years between then
and the spanking new pink bike
with gears and saddle bags,
made to measure
for my short fat legs.

Beast of burden for shopping,
transport to work
across town,
wrong way down one-ways
scooting down underpass
avoiding busy roundabout
come rain snow or shine.

Exhilaration of exploration
far afield on camping trip,
trailing doggedly after
match-fit daughter.

Lovely when it leaves off.

The We Write Poems prompt this week asks us to take a ride, a bicycle ride.  My  bones are now too fragile for cycling – hence the over-long title – but I have many many happy memories of life on two wheels.

About https://vivinfrance.wordpress.com

All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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13 Responses to I gave my last bicycle away so to take a ride I must go backwards

  1. julespaige says:

    I think that was part of the problem with the bike I won. My legs were just a tad to short even with the seat all the way down. Maybe next spring I might get a new used bike…or a pair of roller skates.

    Nice verse full of fond memories.


  2. thehutts says:

    Must get out more on my bike. I will never forget our post your departure to Seychelles trip around Cambridgeshire. You chose the location as you thought it would be flat. It was far from flat and hard work at times. I don’t remember being that far in front of you!
    In Kenya we found school teachers who were walking 2 hours to school to teach and I plan to organise some sort of fundraising event to fund bicycles for Kenyan teachers sometime next year. A sponsored cycle ride is called for I think. Sally


  3. Oh I was right there with you. The energy in this poem is just palpable.


  4. Lovely memories. I love this line, Viv…”My stabilizer was Dad – his hand under the saddle until I didn’t see him take it away.” I can remember my husband helping each kid the same way.


  5. I just love the idea of measuring hills by the amount of pedals!! Your utter joy in the ride just shines through this poem, Viv…I love that you bring us your surroundings through the bits of history, too. You cause me to want to get back on a bike…I haven’t been riding in years. Great work!


  6. colonialist says:

    I love your bike reminiscences.
    To my mind the bicycle is one of the best inventions ever. If only all of them had the same elegant simplicity.


  7. Misky says:

    A splendid telling of your lovely bicycle(s). Funnily enough, you reminded me that the bike I rode during high school was a boy’s bike with a bar across its length. It was a 10-speed, and the best bike I ever owned. Thanks for joining in, Viv!


  8. Love this Viv. as you know I still ride as often as possible. working today but did get a ride to the bank and back. DS1 came with me to guard it. Too many bike thieves about to leave it locked to a lamp post.


  9. colonialist says:

    I love these bicycle reminiscences. I still regard the bicycle as one of the greatest inventive triumphs ever.


  10. Oh… lovely.. I ride bicycle to work every day…


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