Cycling

A poem about the joys of cycling

bike

Cycles

I wanted to ride the Tour de France
Then one summer my dreams
Of yellow jerseys fell to pieces
On a downhill descent head over handlebars I flew
My chin scraping the hard tarmac.

Just another crash I thought, no harm done
Until I noticed my white t-shirt soaked in blood
front wheel badly buckled, bike now unrideable
walking towards home bike over my shoulder
a passing motorist picked me up

The doctor spent an hour taking grit from the wound
then one stitch after another
I still have the scar to prove it.

And I’ve never ridden a bike since that fateful day you may say
But some years later I was back in the saddle

Cycling along a shiny wet tarred surface
I glance down to see my reflection
As raindrops sting my face.

Poised like a lance, arms strong
As I grip the handlebars
Living the lie, the bigger they come the harder they fall.
But my only drug of choice is caffeine
in small roadside cafes where
town gives way to country.

An uphill climb
Lactic acid builds up
Thighs ready to die
Lungs take the brunt

Then the
downhill
descent,
Freewheeling
in low gear
the cool
breeze in
my face…

It’s not the Alps or the Pyrenees

There’s no supporters urging me on

no painted message on the road
But this is one of life’s simple pleasures

Which no drug can manufacture

a multi-coloured carbon fibre and lycra parade.

woods and fields go whooshing by.
Endorphines pumping in

what psychologists call “the zone” –

That transient state of bliss where body meets mind.

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Yellow jerseys and white lies

Lance uses his fingers to demonstrate the amount of times he's taken performance enhancing drugs

Lance uses his fingers to demonstrate the amount of times he’s taken performance enhancing drugs

It’s not about the drugs…or is it?

“I can emphatically say I am not on drugs”, I said… “I know there’s been looking, and prying, and digging, but you’re not going to find anything. There’s nothing to find… and once everyone has done their due diligence and realizes they need to be professional and can’t print a lot of crap, they’ll realize they’re dealing with a clean guy”.


LANCE ARMSTRONG during the 1999 Tour de France (from his autobiography IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE, published 2000)

OK, so it’s easy (and some may say opportunistic) to kick people when they’re down, but some people deserve it. Texas may have a yellow rose, but no longer a yellow jerey.

Orangemen surrender on 11th night

A goal of Iniesta-mable value

Not the greatest ever World Cup, but at least there’s a new name on the trophy.   The irony is that the only team who remained unbeaten throughout the tournament were New Zealand.

Those who thought the quality of the games played was well below the expected standards may well think FIFA stands for “Football Is Fucking Awful”.

Any regular readers who have been bored by the amount of World Cup stories in this blog of late can now take consolation from the fact there probably won’t be any more for another 4 years.  Now it’s time to concentrate on something else. 
Apparently there’s some kind of bike race on in France at the moment…
One things for sure is that one group of Orangemen won’t be celebrating on the 12th of July!  (And it isn’t Armagh).

The octopus gets it right again - if you put money on Spain your squid's in

Back in the saddle

 

Now that the good weather’s back (make physical contact with lignin-based organic vegetable matter) I’ve once again donned the tight lycra shorts and zip-up torso-hugging top and got back on the bike. After an absence of a few months I ‘m back on my 3-year old Allez Specialized racer, and feeling the adrenline rush of downhill descents and the build-up of lactic acid in the lungs and thighs on the ascent. Once the North London sububs give way to the flat leafy country lanes of South Hertfordshire, the noticeable decrease in traffic provides a sense of release and the endorphines get going. It’s not quite the same as racing past fields of sunflowers to match the colour of one’s jersey in rural Provence with the multi-coloured peloton in hot pursuit or popping open the champagne on the Champs-Elysée and getting a peck on each cheek from the luscious promtional girls, or the agonising ascent up the hairpin bend of an Alpine or Pyrenean mountain pass – but there’s no other feeling like it. And of course, unlike the professionals I don’t have to rely on pharmaceutically-enhanced “medication” to go faster.