I have been one acquainted with the bike.
I’ve ridden out in rain – and back in rain.
I’ve felt the snowflake sting, the hailstone strike
I’ve carved through screaming street and lonely lane.
I’ve laboured on the endless, airless climb
Rejoiced in conquering gravity and pain
Forgetful, free and falling out of time.
I’ve found myself on roads the Tour de France
Has passed along, cruised Paris’s sublime
And sacred boulevards; made others dance
To my tune all day long, and mine the wheel
To follow if they can. My years advance
But I’m kept young by carbon fibre, steel
And aluminium magic. All my ills
In mind and body slip away; I heal
Myself with massive dosages of hills
And saddle-time: the only cure I need –
Don’t give me platitudes, prescriptions, pills.
But I’m addicted; yes. I love the speed
And freedom of it – love the work and sweat,
The downhill fear, the knowing how to read
The road, the muscle memory, the wet
And dry, the heat and cold, that strange dreamlike
State on the double metric. I forget
Myself, can find myself, be who I like.
I am still one acquainted with the bike.
This piece was inspired by Robert Frost’s achingly beautiful I have been one acquainted with the night, which was the first terza rima I ever read, and is still my benchmark for this mesmerising form. Have a great weekend. N.