Love your bike!

The bicycle is an object of love for so many reasons.

Are there many other items that were in everyday use a century ago and are equally so today? Can you think of a means of transport that is suitable for a three-year-old and a ninety-three-year-old, that is at home amid gleaming skyscrapers and rural Rothar Roads?  Is there another invention as versatile, convenient, space-saving, cheap to run, good for you and as gentle on the planet? Most of all is there another invention which is as much fun!

For the week that’s in it, when love is in the air, we want to pay homage to the love bicycle owners everywhere feel for their chariot by posting two poems on the theme of bicycles. We do this by kind permission of the author and poet, Bernadette McCarrick. The poems are taken from Bernadette’s most recent collection of poems “To Walk in My Native Place New and Selected Poems”

Bernadette is an award-winning poet, and this is her third collection. The other two were “My Fathers Barn” 2009 and “A Swan in Flight” 2015.  This latest book was completed in collaboration with her brother Pat McCarrick who took the photographs which accompany the poems. Pat is also Chairperson of Sligo Greenway Co-op.

We hope you will love the poems as much as we did and that you too might pen a poem to celebrate the love of your bike or share a photo of bikes being used and loved by you or previous generations.

Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with #LoveYourBike and #NowAndThen.

We look forward to seeing the love!

Learning to Cycle

Although it had been lowered

the saddle on my mother’s bike

was still a bit too high.

So, I stood on the pedals and pushed

took hold of handlebars with grips

for steering, for veering into grass

hoping for a softer place to fall.

My first trip was a hundred yards

of squeal and freewheel and after

ten or twelve of these

with all the balances achieved

the next run was a country mile

of triumph to the local shop

for liquorice and sugar barley.

My lap of honour took me

three miles down the road

and I was an eight-year old

arriving for the first time

on my own

at my grandfather’s house

where I was welcomed

with a silver coin, a trophy

better than Olympic gold.

Midsummer’s Day

On this hot midsummer’s day

here he comes again

the same man

who wheels his bike to town

the bike his prop

his beast of burden

for carrying his purchases

for leaning on

while he halts

where it’s cool

under the copper beech

while he stops

to chat to people

tending their gardens

while he takes

a break at Boyle Abbey

on the bridge


one elbow on the saddle

before continuing on his way

breath by managed breath

back home.

Poems copyright: Bernadette McCarrick; Pat McCarrick (Photographs)

“To Walk in My Native Place New and Selected Poems”- published by Mayo Books, Castlebar Co Mayo, Ireland ( September 2020 and available to order from Mayo Books, Liber Sligo, Foxford Woollen Mills and Reading Room Carrick on Shannon.

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