A friend said latterly to me,
"Why don't we ride the PBP?"
It's in two thousand fifteen,
we've time to train if we are keen!"

"How shall we train?" to him I say.
"Easy - we cycle every day!"
"That does sound very nice indeed.
Let us make ready and god speed!"

And so I hummed a happy song
and wondered what to bring along.
Some like a bag in front, some rear.
But which to choose, oh dear oh dear?

And then I thought, why choose at all?
I shall take both, and they'll fit all!
Some spare tubes and tires and tools,
some knitting needles and fine wools,

some notebooks, inks and fountain pens,
some fat and juicy sautéed hens,
some wine, some cheese, some clothes, some books,
a fishing rod and reel and hooks,

some Wellies and some dancing shoes,
some records, mainly jazz and blues,
some pillows, quilts and woolen socks
computers, cameras and clocks,

a loofa, soap, perfumes and lotions,
some gauze, syringes, pills and potions...
To Paris we shall ride prepared.
The unprepared have poorly fared!

But oh what bicycle to ride
and carry such a load in stride?
What tubing and of which fine metal
will suit me as I knit and pedal?

They say it's not about the bike,
you ought to ride the one you like.
The one that's comfortable and sturdy,
sports fenders, lights, and can get dirty.

Just then I saw her by the door
and my dilemma was no more.
Her rod brakes might not stop till Brest,
and turning does take some finesse,

her wheel rims are full of pits,
she's heavy as a trunk of grits,
she's sixty years old and rusty,
but! She stays upright when it's gusty,

and although gears she has but one,
she's oh so hardy and she's fun!
The Triumph shall roll smooth and steady.
"My friend," I shout, "I'm brevet-ready!"


  1. That is terrific! Love it! Made me smile. Are you really planning to ride PBP in 2015 or is this...April Fools!? :-) (I'm planning to ride my first PBP, a dream I've had ever since living in France back in the 80s.)

  2. riding on the other side,
    knitting her bug out pocket,
    taking long lanes in one’s stride,
    thinking of perfect sprocket.

    I stop the joke because of OLIPO’s constraints (4 lines /2=two wheels) and maybe lake of talent.

    I’ve found Patti Smith – April Fool :

    French (old) song for a relax P.B.P.

  3. My, you've been busy. I'd gotten out of the habit of checking this every day.

  4. Brilliant! Ride with abandon! Grin.

  5. That is fantastic; well done!

  6. Have you cracked? I can’t help but wonder.
    For sure: What lugs! What lines! A putter toy
    As fine as any. But with limbs torn asunder,
    You’ll wish for brakes with pads and wheels alloy!

  7. Oh, so cute!! But you did forget the kitchen sink. Jim Duncan

    1. Good point. I'll bring materials to manufacture one during a rest stop.

  8. My friend said ride something heavy and spin a lot. ...Any bike I am on is heavy!!

    Gonna put toe clips on my 3 speed Schwinn Corvette and commute with it! Pee Wee Herman jokes be darned! "Middleweight" is subjective I think.
    At least it is sunny and I can't see my breath!
    Got this great cable operated bell that goes against the front wheel. Sounds like a mean old telephone at speed. Makes the (non-attentive) pedestrians jump back!
    Happy miles!!


    1. Cable driven bell that runs on the front wheel?! I don't have one of these but I think I should... To the web, Robin!


    2. Spindizzy, I am your huckleberry.
      Got one here.
      Used to belong to a semi-famous mountain bike framebuilder what got hisself some sense and went into multi-level marketing instead.
      Ping me.

    3. On it... Thanks!

    4. SpinDizzy !
      YOU da best! as they say around here. Just to be hyper specific, the bell is tire (tyre) driven and cable acuated / activated / tilted toward the tire. Looks like a funky fat chrome dynamo.

      "A funny thing happened on the way to the office"... So there I was on Livingston Street and Hoyt. Pulled the trigger, "GRRRRINNNGG". Awesome, 2 blocks later, pulled the trigger and a kishhhhhhh noise. The little wheel on top came off and it's accompanying nut. Back I go 2 blocks and sure as taxes, there's the big button looking wheel at the side of the intersection and the (I'm sure it's fine threaded metric) little cap nut is 3 feet away from it. I mean I could have lost these in my basement on a shelf forever but there they were.
      Gonna fabricate a different little wheel out of a big washer or something so if I lose it, it's not the end of the world.

      Happy Spring!!

      vsk / Brooklyn!

    5. I forgot, sometimes they come up on eBay, I usually search for "sonnette" French for "Bell". Or "Laiton" / Brass. I have come across a few really neat vintage brass bells and their tone is so awesome. Hint - clean the insides / undersides of your bell to keep its ring nice and long.


  9. Mmmm, sauteed hens...


  10. wonderful - and there seems more than a bit of wisdom here. The scenery, comraderie and fresh air is all there. The road is open to all. The time control is fitting if it adds to your enjoyment - but if it detracts, why bother?

    Imagine a few similary inclined friends, with cameras, pens, journals and perhaps fishing the route on whatever bike you choose and at whatever speed you like.....

  11. brillant !! looking forward to meet you in Paris 2015

  12. This is silly, obviously that is a city bike, perhaps with a feckless cable lock.

    A brevet bike has a dynamo, fenders, is metal with outlined lugs. And a brooks. dslr bag.

    and trailer. needs a trailer.

    1. Absolutely a nice Goeland trailer to carry some smelly cheese and a Baguette, and an accordion, and an air rifle and some of those little orange sodas that actually taste like lemons and...

  13. A wonderful poem for a wonderful day! Happy April Fools day indeed. Although I would thoroughly enjoy watching someone in TT bars knitting while flying down the road. :)

  14. syringes?! potions?!
    What exactly are you saying, Velouria?

  15. If you had your 650b, low trail bike then you would be riding no handed, which would make knitting much easier. And if you are riding 1200k, you will be getting bored so having some knitting to do will make the time pass much more enjoyably. The bike pictured has charm but you really are leaning over too much. Go for your Rawland (or the one you built at ANT) and disable the gearing, since a one speed is the way to go on the PBP.

  16. How brilliant!

    I smile has beamed across my face!

  17. To claim a bike straight from the barn
    to be your mount for such a feat
    I suspect you may be spinning yarn
    Besides that's not enough to eat
    Ah! For sure you've gone and loosed a spoke
    else this is just a braze-on joke!

  18. This is rather silly. I like it!!!

  19. Loved it. What do you know about grits? Can you even find them above the sweet tea line? They are heavy but not so heavy that a big bag will stay put in your basket as you cross the train tracks. I found out the hard way and the entire bag exploded upon impact.

    1. I tried grits once, when I lived in PA. The experience left me to believe that a trunk of the stuff would be quite heavy!

    2. Well I suppose that would depend on how many grits.
      ; )

  20. Absolutely delightful. Thank you.

  21. Had me for a bit thinking you were going to attempt PBP, then I realized what day it am. ;o)

    Thanks for the grins.......

  22. Delightful verse : )

    btw the salty-sweet marriage of shrimp and grits is popular in Georgia and found on many a brunch menu

  23. Outstanding column. It's not exactly the PBP but a couple of weeks ago I rode the Tour de Houston on my 36 year old Raleigh 3-speed. Of the ~5,000 riders I only saw one other 3-speed.


Post a Comment