A good bike

 

Is there a better thing, I ask myself
In this world than a Good Bike? And by that
I mean the bike that runs exactly as
You want it to, and makes you happy when
You look at it; whose little dings and scuffs
Aren’t flaws but battle honours; and you’d know
Within an instant if the saddle height
Were altered by a fraction of an inch.
A bike like this cannot be bought: it’s made –
Transformed from shopfloor-shiny by the road,
Necessity, communion and time.
So one-and-only, so completely yours
You’d know it at a hundred paces. Build
Another like it, piece by piece, down to
The smallest bolt, it wouldn’t be the same.
Now your idea of what makes a Good Bike
Won’t be the same as mine. You may define
It as the latest, lightest, fastest, made
From moondust, spider-silk and starlight. Or
Could be the budget gas-pipe clunker: fell
Out of the Ugly Tree and hit each branch
On its way down, but never failed you yet.
A Good Bike is the one you’re always glad
You took today. And want to ride again.

 

My Pashley Paramount, on its holidays in Brittany this summer. A Good Bike if ever there was one. N.

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6 thoughts on “A good bike

  1. I love this Nick! I can feel your love for this bike.

    Your bike has become an extension of who you are!

    “fell out of the Ugly Tree and hit each branch on its way down” – a superb line!! Wish it was mine, not the bike, the line!! Ll

    Christine xx

    • A small confession: it’s not my line either…can’t remember where or when I first heard it, but it seemed too good an opportunity to miss! Incidentally, the most damning labels you can attach to a bike are either ‘BSO’ (bicycle-shaped object) – or the compact but eloquent portmanteau ‘fugly’. N.xx

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