The Owl and the Bicycle: A Strigo-Velocipedian Give-Away

Is it just me, or does there seem to be some overlap between people who love bicycles and people who love owls? Okay, don't answer that, because I prefer to believe it is so! That is why when the Daniel Rolnik Gallery brought this adorable print to my attention, I could not resist suggesting a give-away. And while normally, I am not a fan of curvy-tube BMX bikes, I must concede this one looks like the right machine for this particular Strix aluco. What do you think?

The digital print, by artist Mike Joos, measures 8"x10" and is priced at $60. An edition of 100 were made, with all but one now sold out. And now, this very last remaining print could be yours, oh lucky reader - at no cost!

How, you ask?

It will either delight or horrify you to learn that poetry is involved...

Are you familiar with the poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear? (If you're not, please read it immediately; it is remarkable.)

Now, to enter this give-away I ask that you submit a rhyme based on the theme of "The Owl and the Bicycle." It need not be as long or epic as Lear's original. Neither need it be in the same style (i.e. haikus and limericks are fine). Just give it a shot and see where inspiration takes you!

The recipient will be chosen by myself and the Daniel Rolnik Gallery collaboratively.

This give-away is open to North American, UK/IRL and continental EU readers.

Deadline to enter is late-night, Owl Standard Time, Sunday, December 7th.

Post your entries directly in the comments here. And please, pretty please, include functional contact information if you'd like your entry to count! The gallery also asks that those taking part in the give-away join their mailing list.

The recipient will be announced by mid-next week, and the print will be shipped to them directly from the Daniel Rolnik Gallery in Santa Monica, CA at no cost.

Enjoy this little give-away and enjoy your weekend! And when you consider gifts for the upcoming holiday season, don't forget the independent artists and galleries. Many thanks to the Daniel Rolnik Gallery for giving away this print.


  1. Please could you clarify the cut-off date and time? It is the 5th day but strangely not Sunday. "Night-time" may need a little clarification too in view of all the time zones that may be relevant. Thank you!

    1. Sorry, it's Sunday December 7th. Entries are open all weekend in other words.

      Whatever your definition of night time is fine, as long as it's before I wake up Monday morning!

  2. Velouria,

    I'll try this again, this time with my contact info :)

    Joe Tondu
    1338 Brooks Lane
    Oshkosh, WI 54904

    There once was an Owl with a bike,
    A gift from someone he liked.
    But with legs that were short
    He couldn't transport
    Himself in no way, so he hiked.

  3. V,

    Had an idea for another contest - As there are scientific names for earthly life forms (Strix Aluco, Tyto Alba etc), how about people inventing scientific names for the many and disparate cyclists? [EG.] "Biblio Velocipedius"? "Cephalus Iocosus" (funny helmet). Just sayin'.


    1. I am fairly sure this sort of thing already exists, but can't remember where/ by whom it was done. Bikeyface?

    2. Actually, I remember now. It was Bike Snob. Pretty sure at least.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Silent flight taken through the night,
      Attentive eye’s guided by milky stars above.
      Morning’s sun signals audax end.

      Brevet of the owl.

      Matthew Stonich

      also forgot info.

  5. To cyclists fearful at night
    This owl is an alarming sight
    Since everyone knows
    If after dark out one goes
    It should not be without a light.

    L. Gilbert

  6. An owl as white as a ghost
    Got a midnight craving for toast
    She hopped on her bike
    And quick as you like
    Supped on toast with a very light roast

  7. The onset of night
    Owls coast silently on bikes
    Summer comes at last

  8. Tawny owl flew to the bike shop and said,
    I’m tired of feathers
    I’d rather pedal instead.

    When the shop owner asked
    what’s an owl ride?
    The owl said I don’t know and I just can’t decide.

    I’ll be in the air most of the time
    so it needs to be light and able to climb.
    It needs to be quiet so I can sneak up on mice
    and colors befitting an owl would be nice!
    Green for the forest?
    Or blue for the sky?
    And shall I give special handmade lugwork a try?

    When the owl had made up quite a long list
    with tires and colors and pedals to try,
    the shop owner smiled and pushed the notepad aside

    Owl, please use this as your guide:
    the best bike for you is the one that you’ll ride.


  9. With intelligent guise
    On a bike of wrong size
    An owl who can't even pedal.
    For in order to move, this fowl must prove
    That his knees can bend with the metal.

    With all do respect
    The art is incorrect
    Forward his knees cannot not bend
    With this understood, hang on my wall if I could
    Please choose my direction to send

    1. But with talons like these
      who needs SPDs?

    2. "with all do respect"
      is, too, incorrect
      or is it a pun
      delib'rately done?

  10. The owl and the bicycle went to ride
    a 200k brevet
    but with each passing lake
    grew their craving for cake
    so they stopped at a cozy chalet

    1. Sounds like a thoroughly undisciplined fowl. And with no contact info at that!

  11. Silent wheels
    under a moonlight sky.
    The hoot of an owl
    as I coast by.

  12. Turkey weddings aren't legal
    and owl's first name Eagle

    So it isn't at random
    the bike's not a tandem.

  13. Why the hell would an owl ride a bike?
    But I like circles and triangles,
    Maybe it's the two can work.

  14. I won't inflict my doggerel on the blog reading masses, but I couldn't help piping up and saying how, when my daughter (now 13 1/2) was 6 or 7, I delighted to read to her in rollicking rhythm this Lear poem. It was one of many that we enjoyed together -- in fact, just last week, she came to me and asked me to read to her, again, Nash's poem about Belinda and the Dragon. But the Owl and Pussycat was a favorite.

  15. Gliding to the city at dark
    the beam of my light is not a lark

    When cars comes from behind
    my head swivles to behind

    Slipping down roads
    soft wheels silence my loads

    Rather than miles per hour
    wisdom comes from self power

  16. Eagle Owl part 2:

    A post scriptum followed:
    poor Puss has been swallowed.

  17. When I moved into my house many years ago, I discovered there were barred owls living in the surrounding woods. They're the only owls with completely black eyes, living in hardwood hammocks. I actually imitated their call and one came out late in the evening, landed on a huge live oak and looked down at me. It was a joyful experience. One that I haven't been able to achieve since. At night, especially before dawn, I hear their call and know that everything is fine in the woods. When I ride my bike through the neighborhood and 2 surrounding neighborhoods, I look for them late in the day. I saw a great horned owl in an adjacent neighborhood, perched atop a tall pine. I've painted owls - all kinds of owls, in watercolor and oil. They seem mysterious and a fascinating part of nature. I think the love of nature and cycling goes together well. I monitor whats going on with nature in my area on my bike.

  18. Eagle Owl, conclusion

    Operation of karma at a critical juncture -
    twelve miles from his roost, Owl got a puncture.

    1. A chillingly effective use of cliffhangers; twas like watching a dark, award-winning BBC series.

  19. Red squirrel on a branch
    saw Owl on a bike
    and let out a tiny guffaw

    Owl said laugh if you like
    It's my favorite bike
    It's the best thing I ever saw

    Squirrel waited a sec
    and just to be sure
    he rubbed his eyes for a while

    For never before
    that squirrel could remember
    had Owl produced such a smile.


    1. can't believe Strix Bike is not already a brand of bicycles

    2. I know--you'd think that name would have been used somehow by now--so many possibilities. Species/common names could be great model names: "Umm, yeah, I'm gonna build up a Nebulosa frameset this winter..." or "the Great Gray has massive clearance!" Marketing would have to overuse "strigo-velocipedian" for sure; it's one of the best adjectives I think I've ever heard. JG

  20. The Owl loved her Bicycle
    As the bicycle, her Owl
    Though naught but enough between them
    (In the night, where the Owl lived,
    Or the Bicycle, in the day)
    Did they have the desire required
    To upgrade the steel of the Bicycle
    To a carbon fibre, light as an owl feather, Roubaix

    Why do I need an upgrade? asked the Bicycle
    Am I already too doughty and slow for you?
    Not at owl said the Owl
    I am also too frumpy from sitting on a branch
    Or a barn or an eave
    All day and all night long
    But I would dearly love to fly and I am not
    Too good at it on my own

    So the Owl and the Bicycle
    Flew/rolled their separate ways
    The Bicycle, bested by the passing of steel,
    And the Owl, brought down by passion
    For the new
    And they stayed apart
    Until the first scratch appeared on the Owl’s new frame
    Don't ride for fear of failure, the Owl was told
    A nick is a nick on the Bicycle, the Owl ruefully recalled
    But a scratch on shiny carbon may be the end of the game

    Greg Smith
    With apologies to Edward Lear

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. bchildsicle@gmail.comDecember 7, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Cougar and Owl were riding apart that first night,
    when Cougar pulled up and gave Owl a fright.
    Said Owl,"Dumb feline,I almost fell!"
    So, she reached in her bar bag and
    gave Cougar a bell.
    On the third night that week,
    Cougar rang it politely,
    and asked Missy Owl.
    "May I see you nightly?"
    She studied him closely,
    all seeing and knowing,
    And looked in his heart,
    and saw it was glowing.
    "You ride so quickly,
    you fleet-footed beast,
    so just ride ahead, and catch us a feast!"
    On the fifth night, Owl pedaled
    down an oak tunnel lane,
    and peered up ahead,
    through a light summer rain.
    She came upon Cougar,
    in a quiet little dale,
    handsomely dressed in tuxedo and tail.
    He escorted her smoothly.
    to a quaint little perch,
    and presented a bundle,
    in the bark of a birch.
    "Oh where are my manners...?
    I am...such a dork!"
    As he reached in his pannier,
    and pulled out a spork.
    So they dined on field mice,
    tree frogs and quail,
    and digested them quietly,
    in the damp little dale.
    On the seventh night,
    it was cold and clear,
    Owl rode slowly,
    so Cougar's bell she could hear.
    But she could hear nothing,
    but the rustling wind.
    So she stopped on a hilltop.
    to wait for her friend.
    She waited and waited,
    until through the night,
    came a wheezing and panting,
    that gave her a fright!
    "Who is it?...!" she screeched,
    with the shape coming near,
    "It's just me, Cougar....
    and I'm in a big gear!"
    Then quite unexpectedly,
    Owl started to purr..
    for behind Cougars tail,
    was a saddle for her.
    And toe clips for talons,
    and bars for her wings,
    and he hadn't forgotten a bell she could ring'
    "I'm no captain, Missy Owl,
    just a chauffeur..
    and I'd give the whole world,
    to have you as stokeur. (Cougar was VERY nervous, and a bit tongue-tied)
    Owl just winked,
    with a gleam of delight,
    and together they rode,
    to the end of the night.

  23. The Owl and the Pussycat bought a new bike
    It was hard to find one they both would like.
    The Owl wanted green but the Cat disagreed
    He said " A new color is just what we need."
    So they settled on moss
    Because Owl was the boss.
    Because Owl was the boss he took the first ride
    And he rode and he rode and pedaled with pride.
    Then the Cat took a turn and pedaled right out of sight
    It was really great fun but just didn't seem right.
    The Cat missed the Owl and the Owl missed the Cat.
    They traded that bike the very next day
    To a bike riding Turkey or so they say.
    And the Owl and the Pussycat were last seen in the dunes
    Dancing together by the light of the moon.


  24. internal trepidation
    nocturnal headlamp bright
    rough road and manic gyration
    rhythmic pedals, encumbered sight

    upstroke of wings in the silence
    an owl above at a height
    here below I modify cadence
    and thrill to be out in the night

    both of us straight as an arrow
    both of us drawn to the light
    sky so wide, though the bike path is narrow
    on my bicycle I too have flight

    -- lovely contest, V. Thank you.

    Best, Lil Bruin
    long-time fan
    uacton1 at

  25. The Owl and F Coppi
    sat down over coffee
    to laugh and to boast of past glory

    The climbs and descending
    pelotons never ending
    grew with each subsequent story

    Owl talked of races, improbable paces,
    of podiums, and medals, and beer

    while Coppi grew still
    his macchiato a-chill
    and his brow gone increasingly sere

    Coppi fumed; "is this true
    how can an owl - who?
    win races whenever he likes?"

    Owl fixed a bright eye
    with a baleful sigh, said
    "ride my bike,
    ride my bike,
    ride my bike"

  26. The Owl and the Pussycat went to see
    A beautiful pea-green bike
    "We can view land and seas
    And feel the light breeze"
    said Owl, "We can go where we like"

    But when they got there
    Much to Owl's despair
    It wasn't the ride that she loved
    Pussycat wanted speed and competitive lead
    From a scorcher that fit like a glove

    Cat said "mew mew", Owl answered "adieu", checking his watch in his weskit
    Owl put on his hat and said "that is that"
    on his green bike with new wicker basket

    Jill the Quilter

  27. Oops! my contact info is

  28. An Owl astride her Flimcycle,
    shyly pondered whimsical...
    upon her one true love,

    "My dear, my pet, my porridge spoon",
    she purred in silken tone,
    "Tis you, for whom I croon"...

    "No Mate of feather claw and bone,
    can keep my 'Buggly Freddled,
    But Joy and Passion take my breath,
    when WE, the night have pedaled".

    To Swift Black Racer, light and smart,
    she owed a mended heart,
    for long before she took to flight,
    on wheels instead of wing,
    there was another of her kind
    she wished to be her King

    He swept her off her maidens perch,
    high in a handsome Birch,
    But though he looked a Noble Owl,
    he left her in the lurch.

    But now, our Owlet, whole and free,
    again can laugh and smile,
    Behold she is a wiser bird,
    although it took a while,

    A hundred rides, ten thousand miles,
    but now her heart is sure,
    courting with a bicycle, for her is where it's at!
    As for the Owl who proved a Rat?
    Well, screw him AND that Cat...


  29. If you want to see another Owl/Cycling mashup, check out to see a logo I did for my friend Ben Wyse's bike business... He'd love to sell you a shirt.


  30. Day and Night, the Owl sat in a tree
    And watched the world go by.
    He saw people walking, cars driving,
    And it made him glad that he could fly.
    But one day, a woman pedaled past
    And the owl stopped mid flight.
    The look of joy as the wind hit her hair
    was nothing short of delight.
    And the owl realized,
    though he could soar and glide,
    He'd never felt such incredible joy.
    Why fly, when you can ride?

  31. Entries now closed for the give-away, thank you to all who contributed!

  32. So, if every entry in this contest represents an entire weekend of doing nothing but trying to write less than wretched poetry and assuring ones partner that "Yes sweetie, I will ABSOLUTELY get all that bike gear off the back porch in , like,10 minutes, as soon as I'm finished here. Really..." than you might be responsible for a significant dip in productivity in economies all over North America and the English speaking parts of the E.U.

    Dang! This was hard, I spent forever on this and in the end I couldn't do any better than rip off the classic Vogon Poets... If I had known the assignments were going to be this tough, I'd never have taken this class...


  33. WHO?...may already be a wiener?

    1. The suspense is killing me too! I've never been in the running to win an International Poetry Prize before, now I know how it must feel waiting for the Booker Prize or the National Book Awards to be announced. At last, after all these years toiling in the wilderness, my career could finally be about to take off! I wonder if the winner will get to be on "Fresh Air"? I should probably get back to work on my "TED Talk" ...


      I don't really care if I win or not as long as Cory K. doesn't. Mentioning Fausto Coppi was simply pandering to the judges.

    2. Spindizzy is ready for his close-up, Miz DeMille.


      P.S. "....Owl smiled heartily, shook hands with Gino Bartali..."

    3. "After chatting with Armstrong, he realized he's rhymed wrong..."


  34. The owl and the bicycle rode to the lake
    leaving couplets and limericks abloom in their wake.

    Each poet pondered on which one had won,
    but the owl and the bicycle rode on and on.

  35. What happened with the print/contest?

  36. Thanks for your patience everybody, these things always take longer than planned - I should know better by now! Hang on a teeny bit more and I will announce the recipient sooooooon!

  37. Any word on the bird? I recently saw a snowy owl and thought of fat tire bikes; the poetry could practically write itself.


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