Competition Time - Baiku & The Poetry of Bicycles

This is a guest blog by the eminent author Philip Cowell... 

The bicycle then – the bike: the freedom and the speed, the journey and the destination. No surprise these gears and wheels and valves and pumps have inspired such poets. And, thankfully, a publisher too – the wonderfully intimate Candlestick Press, who collected “Ten Poems about Bicycles” in one of their gorgeous slim tomes (it doubles up as a beautiful piece of post, envelope included). We’ve got copies to give away, competition lovers! Read to the end…

Bike poem competition

As the editor, Jenny Swann, writes: these poems are a testament to “the affection that bicycles have inspired in their riders, and the miraculous and sometimes poignant associations that have gathered around them in poetry”. All bike is here, of course, as is life – the cycles (and the bicycles) of life. It’s the kind of poetry that makes me want to jump back on my bike, that’s for sure.

The highlight for me has to be the Derek Mahon (it starts simply, “There was a bicycle”), with his singing memory of a bike wheel, “bright spokes glittering”. But these are all excellent poems, and we cycle through all kinds of poetic forms. I was very moved by Michael Donaghy’s Machines, which ends with the tightrope condition of all us cyclists: “Who only by moving can balance,/ Only by balancing move.”

Fancy a read?

We have 10 of these lovely books to give away. These books are a perfect gift for yourself or the cyclist in your life. Why not hold onto it until Christmas and sneak it in a Christmas stocking? 

To enter just tweet/facebook/Instagram or message us your Haiku about cycling - a Baiku if you will! A (b)Haiku is a Japanese poem of 17 syllables just like these effervescently eloquent examples:

On and on and on I go 

cycling through the sun

The evening opens


I am happiest

When I am at my saddlest

Cycling through the days


Falling off my bike

I see the sun, stars and moon

In a different light

by Philip Cowell. 


Why not give it a go and send us your 17 syllables? It will take less time than a level on Candy Crush and the best 10 will get a lovely copy of this book!

Byron bike bag