The wind, the wind, into the wind;
I struggle on, through Bury and Bignor.
Is it my friend, or is it my foe?
Whatever the answer, this I know:
It’s good to be alive.
Under the Downs, where Romans once walked,
Expensive stone houses now sharing the space
With wattle and thatch, where peasants once dwelt.
I wonder whether they ever felt
It’s good to be alive.
Cycling now through heather and gorse ,
Past a campsite snuggling so pretty
Beside a stream in corn fields of gold.
I don’t think the campers need to be told
Its good to be alive.
So what of the wind that started these thoughts?
It’s certainly there, though now at my back;
Wonder of wonders, it’s hast’ning me home.
With joy in my heart I can finish this poem,
It’s good to be alive!
Cycling aside the gently flowing Thames,
Contrast the dramatic event of yesterday;
Knocked off my bike by a fast emerging car,
Escaped with bruises – continued on my way.
The most important question I must ask
Is how to view this sunny, shocking morn:
Was it a glass half empty, or half full?
‘Tween anger and thankfulness I am torn.
The answer soon for me is plain to see;
My guardian angel did not let me down.
Seconds before, or inches either way,
And I would now be clad in a hospital gown.
Another thought then quick occurs to me:
The errant driver clearly was dismayed
That I, upon the ground, might fail to stand;
And so he rushed to help with nerves sore frayed.
A final silver lining to the cloud
Was when a bike shop kindly, without cost
Two pedals to my folding bike did fit
So I, with care could make up time I’d lost.
The thought that I would offer now to you
When trial and tribulation do annoy.
Remember, every coin has got two sides:
Ignore the pain – and try to find the joy.
Along the empty road towards the south
I lift my eyes to scan the brooding hill
that lies ahead for me by bike to climb
if I, to reach the sea, must conquer still.
As oft’ before I pause to wonder why
I still pursue a pastime so bizarre
that tortured lungs and heaving heart become
so much a part of rides both near and far.
The answer is, I know, that I would miss
the downhill rush which makes me so alive
that every kiss of air upon my skin
intoxicates the joy on which I thrive.
I have another vice, I must confess,
that uphill also gives me pleasure true:
the strain and pain of legs and lungs possessed
by demons, also thrills me through and through.
So, cycling is a metaphor for life;
the ups and downs encountered on the way,
both on and off the bike – the golden rule:
just make the most of every single day.
While cycling through the hedgerows ‘long the lane
I cast my mind to stories they could tell.
That mighty oak beside the farmyard gate,
the years before enclosure would know well.
The landscape then was open, wide and vast,
with clumps of beech atop the sheep-grazed hill;
the horse-drawn plough would till the furlong true,
while farmers walked their fresh-reaped grain to mill.
That acorn dropped beside the farmland gate,
would scarce believe the changes it would see.
Computer power and diesel now prevail
with horse and human from this toil set free.
But is there in this “progress” not a cost,
for wildlife, once prolific on the farm?
From birds and bees to dormice, stoat and mole,
the truth is we have yet to judge the harm.