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Velocipede Verses #1: How to Avoid Cycling's Nadir: The Walk of Shame


I'm an avid cyclist who has ridden 30,000+ miles over the past seven years. I enjoy sharing the little I know with interested others.


This short poem of gentle, and hopefully somewhat humorous admonishment is the first in what will be an irregular series. I hope to continue to put forth in future more thoughts in verse about bicycles, riding bicycles, thinking about bicycles and so forth. From here, with only a few other ideas under my hat right now, with the tyranny of a finite amount of time on my hands, I won't commit to a specific routine or timeline, only to my desire to have a designated place for these to land as they arrive overhead one by one and are cleared to do so.

This particular poem is a companion piece to an article I wrote on the same topic. As I was crafting the last line of that work ("you'll definitely be ready for the next time your wheel starts to wobble and your tire starts to hiss") this one moved into my head and wouldn't leave. In truth, I gave this ode a home here so it would leave me alone. I hope you enjoy spending some time with it.

One last thought: I shared this with my very best lifelong friend and he said, "it works nicely to the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies." At first I just chuckled at that comment, but then the next day I went back and read it again and...hmmm...well, I'll let you be the judge.

How to Avoid the Long, Lonely Walk of Shame

When your wheel starts to wobble

And your tire starts to hiss

You’ll wish you did some prepping

‘Cuz let me tell you this

It will suck and really bad

To be out there on your own

A shredded tube without a spare

And no friend to give a loan

Flats are no fun, so be ready in case you get one!

Flats are no fun, so be ready in case you get one!

Of a tube or a pump

Or some essential needs

When your bike is on its back

On the roadside in the weeds

You’ll wish you’d planned ahead

Done some thoughtful preparation

Packed the tools that fit the jobs

When you ride in isolation

When your bike is on its back on the side of the road...that's not a great time to learn you don't have the right tools for the job...

When your bike is on its back on the side of the road...that's not a great time to learn you don't have the right tools for the job...

See, there’s two kinds of riders,

That’s regardless of their skill

There are the ones who’ve been there

There are the ones who will

Have their wheel start to wobble

And their tire start to hiss

And if they did some prepping

If they heeded all of this

They arrived at home on wheels

And they didn’t come up lame

They didn’t have to ever

Walk the lonely walk of shame

© 2020 greg cain


greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 30, 2020:

Thanks, Brenda. Yes, the event that inspired this poem was a bike ride I took after driving 33 miles from home, parking my truck in a WalMart parking lot, heading down the trail. I was some 14 miles from my truck, nearly 50 miles from home, got a flat and didn't have all the right tools for the right job. Thought I did, found I didn't. Ugh.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 28, 2020:

Yes, I would hate to be unprepared, but hoing for a bike ride no one really prepares.

Unless it's a long journey.

Nice write.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 22, 2020:

You made a smart move in not committing this series to a time line. I am having trouble getting a Poems From the Porch out there each week, sometimes it is almost two. Some of the requests take more time than others. I could never keep to a certain day each week like Bill with his mailbag.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on May 22, 2020:

Thanks, John. I must say your Poems from the Porch idea is what inspired the concept. That and Bill's weekly Mailbag article. I struggled with the name at first--Poems from the Bike sounded too much like Poems from the Porch, Poems Atop the Bike sounded too dangerous, and so forth. I love the word Velocipede, so that is what I ran with. I'm glad you like it!

I cannot, will not commit to a timeline on this, though, because I can only produce when the inspiration hits me (like a bug in the mouth, for example). I'm sure you understand that.

I did put Velo Verses #3 out there yesterday, though, so I'm continuing to make some progress.

I have lots of different kinds of bikes, but I lack the one you have: a fold up. I want one in the worst way but I am having trouble establishing need, which would be very handy in justifying the purchase with my bride.

I appreciate the positive words of encouragement, my friend.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 22, 2020:

Hey Greg, great little poem. It is good to see you writing a series of poetry about your passion of cycling. I can tell just from this one that they will be all worth a read. I'm not a regular cyclist now, though I have a fold up bike I carry in my vehicle at times in case of emergencies. I love the name: Velocipede Verses too.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on April 10, 2020:

Thank you, Ms. Dora for stopping by! We are none of us ever too old to learn, that’s for sure!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 10, 2020:

Sure, if put these lines to music, the song may become a classic, but even without a tune, it is an excellent poem. It gives a beautiful message about learning from each other. Thanks.

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