Sunday, January 14, 2018

Shifting Gears

I find it difficult to write poems about sports. It took me a while to write this, and it is about one of my favourite sports, cycling. I used to do off-road riding during most weekends, but recently have cut down considerably. Firstly, there are no more off road tracks near my home (making way for high-rise homes for the people), the few trails that are left are far away. Then I have this little angioplasty operation. But that will not stop me from riding...

photo by dsnake1

Shifting Gears

The sun beats down on the bike track
that stretches before me
like a brown, sunburnt snake.

i check the meter on the MTB
and pedals off the start line,
knobby tires crunching gravel

the click of shifting gears
loud in the hot air,
forks eating up the bumps

provides scant comfort
to numb arms
clutching rattling bars,

dirt dug out in clumps
as the bike lurches and brakes.
a faint cloud of dust tags

like exhaust smoke
behind the rider,
muscles straining

the momentum carrying me
over humps, sand , fallen twigs
past wild flowering shrubs,

lightning blackened trees,
as crows overhead caw
in agitated flight

as i loop the course
to return
15 minutes something seconds,

to the shifting down of gears
the clicks lost
in bre a t h l e ss



"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels."

-- Heinz Stucke, traveler and long distance touring cyclist.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Mary said...

I feel as if I was right there with you! I think you captured well all aspects of the ride.

14 January, 2018 21:45  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

Great piece - makes me want to hop on a bike

14 January, 2018 22:46  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you! most of my commutes now are within the city. :(



14 January, 2018 23:23  
Blogger annell said...

You did a wonderful job with this, perhaps there will be more?

15 January, 2018 00:16  
Blogger brudberg said...

I know so much of bicycling... being fortunate enough to be able to do it every day (but my gears are not as fine as yours.... )

Love the way you portray the perfection of your machine

15 January, 2018 00:23  
Blogger Sherry Marr said...

I remember that exhilaration. How sad that those bike paths are gone. I remember how you loved them. So sorry to hear about the angioplasty operation. Hope that fixed you up. Take good care.

15 January, 2018 00:23  
Blogger indybev said...

Thanks for the ride! Long ago, before my knees gave out, I loved riding at dusk. I miss it still.

15 January, 2018 00:50  
Blogger Truedessa said...

I could definitely feel the ride and hear the sounds of the gears clicking into place. I enjoy going for a bike ride.

15 January, 2018 05:22  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you!
i can try. :)
but at the moment i am writing some frightening stuff.


i have not ride off-road for some time now, and my bike is a bit worn off from all that use (abuse?). but now travelling about town is easy as there are many bikes around from shared bike schemes, and most are usually free-to-ride.


thanks! i really missed those bike paths.
the operation went well, just have to watch the diet more carefully. :)


i know how a cyclist feels. :)


yes, going on a bike ride, whether with a group of friends, or alone, is a fun thing. you really leave your work and other distractions behind. :)

15 January, 2018 11:48  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

I could truly feel the ride and hear the sounds of the gears clicking into place. Beautifully done!💖

15 January, 2018 18:44  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Sanaa. :)

15 January, 2018 23:12  
Blogger hyperCRYPTICal said...

I remember the exhilaration too, especially when winds blew and I didn't need to peddle - I felt as free as a bird.
I don't think I have ridden bike for over thirty years - perhaps I should reinvest in one...
Anna :o]

16 January, 2018 04:15  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I never took to cycling, unlike most kids and many adults – but your vivid evocation makes me better understand its appeal.

16 January, 2018 07:12  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

PS I hope it proves to be good exercise for your heart.

16 January, 2018 07:14  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


yes, you can feel as free as a bird. i think if one is physically fit, cycling is a good form of exercise. you won't regret getting back on the saddle. :)


yes, the doctor told me it is a good form of exercise for my condition, provided i don't over-exert it.

16 January, 2018 20:43  
Blogger Wendy Bourke said...

This is a glorious piece of spirited writing. I think you translated the riding experience onto paper, brilliantly. Loved it!

17 January, 2018 07:26  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Wendy. :)

17 January, 2018 21:20  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Off topic – could you please email me at rosemary dot lifemagic at gmail dot com so that I can ask for your insights re a projected "Moonlight Musings" feature I have in mind? Or send me a facebook or Google+ message if that works better for you. Thanks.

21 January, 2018 09:27  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

just sent you a mail today. so sorry for this late reply. :)

29 January, 2018 21:36  

Post a Comment

<< Home