Poetry Friday-- Bike Riding and its bloody consequences

My son got his first real sans-training wheels bike yesterday, a move inspired by the conversation he just had with his pediatrician:

Dr: So, can you ride a bike?
Son: "Well, my parents promised me a bike months ago but they still haven't gotten it for me."
Dr: "And do you brush your teeth yourself?"
Son: "Well, I'd like to, but there's no toothpaste in the tube, and my parents said they'd buy me some more but they haven't."

So now he has to learn to ride the thing (and to work harder at getting the toothpaste dregs out of the tube. There's plenty left).

For Poetry Friday, here are some poems celebrating the wonder and pain that is the Bike:

INJURY by Edel Wignell* (first published in School Magazine)

We raced our bikes and crashed.
I looked at the gash, and swooned.
Then my Dad discovered a bandage
And wound it round the wound.

MARY AND THE BIKE by Ed Blair, 1901 (Kansas Zephyrs, p. 143)

Mary had no little bike__
Like other kids at school
And so she stole the teacher's out,
Which was against the rule.
The teacher chased, but 'twas in vain,
For she flew like a fairy
Until the bike shied at a rock
And pied itself and Mary.**

And lastly, check out "Because I could not stop my bike" by Karen Jo Shapiro, in the book of that name, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (2005). It's a collection of very funny parodies of well known poems.

My favorite learning to ride a bike episode in children's fiction is Randy, in The Four Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright-- when she turned right, saw the long steep hill headed down through town, and forgot how to brake...

For more poems, you could check out The Art of Bicycling: a Treasury of Poems, Justin Daniel Belmont, ed., Breakaway Books, 2005.

*Edel Wignell is an Australian writer of chapter books, picture books, and poetry (as well as grown up books). I've never read any of her books, but browsing through the list on line I saw several that looked good (The Long Sticky Walk, in particular).

**I thought this one was interesting both because it seemed pretty early for it to be normal for a girl to be riding around on a bike, and because I liked the use of "pied" as a verb.

The POETRY FRIDAY roundup is at Semicolon today. Enjoy!


  1. Well, that bike story made me bust out laughing! Blackmail at its finest.

  2. Yeah, Charlotte, that "pied" is good. I agree!

  3. That conversation is brutally funny. My youngest brother always knew how to bust me with the distillation of the facts down to their most incriminating essences.

  4. Too funny! Kids do say the most amusing things, don't they? Hope he has fun learning to ride his bike!

  5. I missed this last week but I love the bike poems! My middle son learned to ride without training wheels this summer and he is delighted with it.

    He has embarassed me with similar statements at times in the past. You never know what will come out of their mouths! (I make them use the toothpaste up too. Thrift is good!)

  6. Thanks for the right up. I am looking to get a longtail to transport my 3 kids around. We live in a hilly area and electric is not in the budget right now. Currently I have a trailer and child seat and make it up the hills in my granny gear. I am considering the Madsen and edgerunner and was wondering what you think would be good for 3 kids and hills.


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