The Poetry of Bicycling

Bicycling and poetry are my two avocations. Sometimes they get in the way of each other. I do my best writing in the morning, but in the summer months, morning is the best time to ride. Sometimes, though, they come together. As in these poems.

BICYCLING UP ILCHESTER HILL, OUT OF THE PATAPSCO VALLEY

We climb Ilchester Hill
to feel quadriceps scream
against the steepness of the grade
and know we are alive.

After that first tenth of a mile
when the hill teases with a level tenth,
and legs groan and plead
against the gradient to come,
we continue to climb
to defy the gods
who conspire to throw us down
with every turn of the crank,
and because we know
that by reaching the top
we will set Sisyphus free.

ON THE ROAD HOME

Stopping
on the side of the road
to take a break
from the whirr of the chain
and the strain of legs
turning cranks against hills,
I lean against a fence and listen.

Nothing.
Soundless.

And then,
wind through leaves
and the honk of a goose
rising over white pines,
followed by the honks
of dozens more
passing overhead
in the direction of home.

MEDITATION

I bow over the handlebars
in earnest contemplation,
the whirr of the chain my hymn,
the road my text.

Legs turn the cranks.
Rhythm and repetition bring solace.
Movement is reason.

There is purpose in toil and sweat;
catharsis in the ache of muscles
straining for greater distance
and revelation of what one is capable.

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