Mountain Bike

<a href=””>Mountain</a&gt;

I am a brand new mountain bike
My owner’s pride and joy.
I’ve chunky tyres and umpteen gears,
I am his favourite toy.

I’m bright and clean and shiny,
My owner’s joy and pride,
And every weekend without fail
He takes me for a ride.

He loads me on his Volvo,
Drives forty miles and then
He lifts me down and rides two miles
Then drives back home again.

There’s one thing kinda puzzles me,
The trails we ride are flat
I’ve never even seen a hill.
A mountain? What is that?









Way to Go!

<a href=””>Trains, Planes, and Automobiles</a>

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)
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Choice of transport mode? No contest, Airplanes mean crowds, waiting in line, luggage getting lost, feeling shoved around discomfort, boredom.

Trains – well in the old days trains were fun. In the days of steam, Thomas the tank engine and the Fat Controller…yes, trains in stories were great. The Railway Children, Hogwarts Express…The reality was much less fun, Overcrowding seems to be the norm and even if you have a seat booked you have a struggle to find it and then have to get the person sitting in it to move. Can be tricky.

Bus? If you live in a rural area of Britain just finding a bus can be a challenge. A lot of the rural bus services have been shut down as “uneconomical”.

A car does give you the chance to set your own pace – or at least choose your own traffic jam. But at least one of the party has the job of driving and can’t enjoy the trip and the scenery,  It costs too, fuel, servicing, maintenance, MOT, vehicle excise duty, driving licence, insurance. Cars are an expensive luxury that would not be used to the same degree if we had a really good public transport system.

The best way to go is under your own power on two – or three wheels.

“In a car you’re bound and fettered
But a bike can not be bettered
As a way to get yourself from A to B
So I beg you, do not drive,
Breathe fresh air and come alive
Get  a bike and come and ride along with me!”


Or just possibly this way…..


Travels with a Tandem

The Happy Wanderer What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

It all depends on when and where and how you are travelling. When we went on tandem holidays  we never booked accommodation ahead because we didn’t know how far we would get in a day. It would have been frustrating to have to stop early in the afternoon simply because we had a b&B booked.

So much depends on the weather, the traffic, the state of the roads, how tired you are, even how good your navigation is.

On one occasion we got a lot further than we’d planned simply because the roads were dead quiet and there was no traffic. It happened to be the day of Princess Diana’s funeral and the streets of Lancashire were deserted. Everyone was indoors watching the event on TV. We broke our previous record for distance travelled with a loaded tandem and ended up at Shrewsbury, much further on than we expected to get.

Of course there are times when not booking ahead can mean you are still searching for somewhere to stay quite late in the evening, All I can say is that we’ve never had to sleep under a hedge …yet. There’s a first time for everything. But on a cycling tour, not knowing where you will be sleeping the following night is all part of the fun!

We found a B&B in Ardrossan when we had more of less resigned ourselves to riding as far as the ferry terminal and dossing down in the waiting room. We found a room in a Travel Lodge on the motorway – we went in via the service entrance, bicycles aren’t allowed on motorways. We found the staff very helpful.they even let us store our tandem in the linen room!

Not having a fixed route and a rigid itinerary is definitely preferable if you are on a bike.




<a href=””>Slash and Burn</a>

Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.
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There are many reasons to ride. My own are what I call the 4 Es

ECONOMY riding a bike has got to be cheaper than a car. Think  of the costs of buying a vehicle, insurance, fuel and servicing, MOT, license and vehicle excise duty – often wrongly called “road fund license”.

ECOLOGY Consider the harm done to the environment by cars and buses, Petrol and diesel fumes, exhaust gases all pollute. Every car adds to our carbon footprint.

EXERCISE With a bike as a way of getting around your daily journey to work e can be a time of enjoyment. The exercise you get sets you up for the day. I know, I’ve been there. I can remember going into an office and finding one colleague moaning about traffic jams and parking, another complaining about the slowness of the bus service and the cost of fares. The only happy man was to one whose bike was chained to the hatstand.

ENJOYMENT If I am honest, none of the reasons listed above would make me want to ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. Cycling is economical, it is ecologically friendly , it will help you keep fit, but above all it is FUN


Here is the longer version

A difficult one, this.What can I go on about for 500 words…Riding a bike and/or a trike. Yes! Even if it is a bit rubbishy and repeats lots of things I’ve said in previous  articles/posts etc.

There are as many ways of riding and reasons to ride as there are cyclists. My own take on this matter is that I ride for what I call the 4 E’s


ECONOMY riding a bike has got to be cheaper than driving a car. The cost of buying the vehicle, insuring it and feeding it petrol (or I suppose diesel) and oil, servicing and taxing the machine, learning to drive the damn thing and keeping up with the changing regulations on what you can and can’t do on today’s roads. Then there’s MOT and license and vehicle excise duty – often wrongly referred to as “road fund license”. This tax has not been used exclusively for road maintenance since I understand the 1930s.

Everyone pays for the upkeep of our roads if they have an income. Roads are funded from general taxation, income tax and council tax. Someone who never ventures outside his front door, doesn’t drive a car or ride a bike or even walk on the pavement nevertheless if he eans money and pays tax on it contributes to the upkeep of our highways.

ECOLOGY Just think of the harm done to the environment by the use of various other means of transport. Buses, cars, coaches, taxis all pollute, some more so than others. Petrol and diesel fumes, exhaust gases. Maintenance  of roads and motorways has come at a cost to the environment. Every car adds its bit to our carbon footprint. Every car journey does it bit to deplete the atmosphere.

EXERCISE with a bike as a way of getting around you are able to keep fit without the hassle of joining a gym or indulging in sweaty workouts. Your daily journey to work if done on a bike can be a time of enjoyment and benefit. The exercise you get sets you up for the day. I know I’ve been there. I can remember going into an office and finding one colleague moaning about traffic jams and the difficulties of parking, another complaining about the slowness of the bus service and the cost of fares. The only happy worker was to one whose bike was chained to the hatstand. Yes, there are some problems with commuting by bike; bikes can get stolen or vandalised. I’ve known saddle bags or pumps being taken and some people were in the habit of removing their saddle and when leaving the bike with the thought, I suppose, that a thief must be pretty desperate if he is prepared to ride minus saddle.

ENJOYMENT If I am honest, though, none of the reasons listed above would make me want to ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. Cycling is economical, yes; it is ecologically friendly , true; it will help you keep fit… well, maybe. But above all it is FUN.

Coin From 2010

“Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?”

What was I doing in 2010? I had to look it up and found that a number of interesting, exciting, satisfying and unpleasant things happened that year.

A poetic image of a poet
A poetic image of a poet

2010 was definitely a good year for my writing. I published a short book of poems called “A Poet Needs a Bicycle”, QQ Press printed a limited edition of 50 copies and while I didn’t make my fortune I wasn’t left with heaps of unsaleable books cluttering up the spare room.

I also had my first real success as a playwright. My play “Estella” won a competition called “Grand Words” run by the Grand Theatre Blackpool. So I am now a dramatist as well as a poet and to cap it all I got a trophy to keep on my bookcase and a cash prize.

What else happened? We had a day in Edinburgh looking at recumbent bikes and trikes and riding them in a park in the centre of Edinburgh. My first ride on the Kettwiesel recumbent trike which has now become so much part of my life I can;t imagine being without it.

I suppose I should mention the less pleasant aspects of 2010: I went to visit a friend in a nursing home and walking back to the bus stop tripped and fell cutting my face and breaking my left wrist. I can’t even claim the pavement was uneven – it was all down to my clumsiness.

All in all 2010 was an eventful year and I can’t believe all these things happened half a decade ago – they all feel far more recent.


Try a Trike!

Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

How to explain the delights of riding a trike to someone who knows nothing at all about it – and that includes most of my cycling pals, especially if the vehicle in question is a recumbent trike?

The stock phrase “it’s like riding a bike” doesn’t really apply any longer when you go from two wheels to three. Yes, like riding a bike, riding a trike is a skill you won’t lose once you have mastered it, but that is as far as the similarity goes. Put someone who has ridden an ordinary bicycle ( “ordinary” as in standard or usual not  “Ordinary” as in a penny-farthing or high-wheeler) on a tricycle and they have great trouble controlling it. You have to unlearn the method used to steer a two-wheel bike by leaning.

The amazing thing is that once on a recumbent trike this doesn’t apply. It is so very different from a bicycle that steering is learnt from scratch. Many years ago we went on a short holiday where we were given the chance to ride a lot of different recumbent trikes. At that time I was an average sort of cyclist, commuting to work and riding the back of a tandem at weekends, but even though I had never ridden a trike since I was five, I found no difficulty at all in getting used to the various recumbent trikes on offer,

Fast forward now to the present day: I’ve got a recumbent trike and I  wouldn’t be without it. My balance isn’t good enough to get around on two wheels and a trike is my preferred solution. It’s also an instant talking point when I park it outside the supermarket. And I get noticed. Drivers see this peculiar machine, ridden by an eccentric old lady and give me a wide berth. On a bike they used to regularly cut me up. There is nothing like a trike!

My Favourite way of Getting Around
The best way to get around!


You’re Never alone with a Trike

One of the main things about riding a recumbent trike is that you are noticed, Trikes aren’t for the shy retiring type. If you want to fade into the background and hide from people don’t get anything as unusual as a trike.

Park a trike outside a cafe or supermarket and nine times out of ten, when you come back there will be at least one person looking it over. The usual questions are ” is it comfortable?” , “how fast can you go?”  “do you feel safe?” and often from younger people “how much did it cost?”

It seems nowadays people measure the worth of an object  by its monetary cost. When I was growing up it was considered impolite to ask what something had cost,  a bit like asking how much someone earned. It just wasn’t done. I might say to a friend “that’s a nice handbag. Where did you get it?”  but I’d feel I had to offer a reason if I wanted to know what it cost, eg “I’d like to get a similar one for my daughter – is it very expensive?”

Back to bikes or trikes: some of the odder questions I’ve been asked:

  • How do you pronounce the name of the maker? ( It’s Hase – hass- e the German for hare, I understand.)
  • Where did you get the flag? – ans. it came with the bike. The questioner wanted to get a similar flat for her mother’s mobility scooter.

I’ve learnt to allow extra time for shopping at our local supermarket to allow for the time explaining the delights of a trike and how  I came to ride one. There have been some expressions of interest and even people saying “I’m getting less steady perhaps it’s time I went for a trike”  But so far I’ve not managed to persuade anyone to change their mode of transport. But I live in hope!