A thorny issue



I hear it up ahead – the age-old threat
That haunts the lanes around this time of year.
For months I’m almost able to forget
That creeping sense of doom, the lurking fear
Until I see the signs left where it passed –
The shattered stems, the blasted branches, white
As clean-picked bones. And here it is at last:
Deep diesel growls as whirling steel teeth bite
And chew the hedge to splinters. Every thorn
The beast spits out across the road a baited
Trap primed to treat tough Kevlar tyres with scorn
And leave me stranded, beaten and deflated.
So while these hungry monsters snarl and stalk
I’ll ride prepared to turn around – or walk.


Seems our local farmers are obsessed with trimming their hedges. All autumn they were out there with their big mechanical flails, and now they’re at it again, leaving every lane like a bed of nails, and the dreaded P*ncture Fairy rubbing her hands with glee. It’s something to occupy the winter months, and as an erstwhile agriculturalist myself, I appreciate the husbandry benefits – but as a cyclist, I wish they’d leave the poor hedges alone for a bit!


4 thoughts on “A thorny issue

  1. Ah…I deal with Goat’s Heads (Tribulus terrestris) when cycling around here so your battles is well understood by me…a battle alas I lose all too often…good luck with yours…enjoyed the poem much.

    • Goat’s Heads sound very nasty…makes me almost grateful for our hawthorns! So far my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres have held up nicely (they’ll stop pretty much anything short of actual bullets) but I never take anything for granted. That ol’ P*ncture Fairy (it’s very bad luck to use her full name) will get you if she can! Hope she leaves you alone. N.

  2. Hi Nick, aww those things are bad for tires. Here we have bicycle roads made of sea shells, I don’t always think that is wise too. The shells have sharp edges. I hope you still enjoy your rides. x

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