|A bicycle drawn by Rosalind Bliss
on the front of Ten Poems About Bicycles
Here, somewhat belatedly, is a blog about bicycles. It’s by way of being a thank you to Lynne, at Dove Grey Reader, who pulled my name from the hat in a draw for Ten Poems About Bicycles, published by Candlestick Press. It’s a beautifully produced little pamphlet, with a lovely illustration of a bike on the cover, drawn by Rosalind Bliss, and I was thrilled to receive it because I was feeling particularly down at the time, and it really cheered me up.
|The composer Edward Elgar w
as an enthusiastic cyclist.
As you can see, bicycles hold a special place in my affections, and I felt a book of poems about them deserves rather special treatment, so I settled down to read them, to the accompaniment of Elgar – including Dorabella, from Enigma Variations, beacause Elgar was an enthusiastic cyclist (he must have been tough indeed to cope with the Malvern Hills) and Dora Penny often accompanied him on his excursions.
|A wooden cycle is mentioned in Wheel Fever.,
but I doubt it looked like this human-propelled
model made in Germany around 1820.
In A Lady Cyclist Learns to Cycle, Jonathan Davidson shows how bicycles helped women achieve a degree of independence, and I particularly liked Helena Nelson’s Bike with No Hands, which is also about independence, and love, and accepting your own individuality, even if you sometimes yearn to be different. It ends on a hopeful note, with two people balanced in their relationship, just as we balance on a bicycle:
|Women’s cycling bloomers were
considered outrageous in the
alte 19th and early 20th centuries.
I also loved A Spider Bought a Bicycle, by Phyllis Flowerdew, which for some reason reminded me of the Christy Moore song Reel in the Flickering Light:
By the way, if you’ve never come across Candlestick Press (I hadn’t), it’s a small independent company, based in Nottingham, which operates on ‘green’ principles. It produce a range of ‘Instead of a Card’ poetry pamphlets (including this one) on subjects as diverse as cats, dogs, gardens, tea, puddings and love. They each come with a matching envelope and bookmark and can be found at http://www.candlestickpress.co.uk/ .