Is It Possible to be Elegant on a Bicycle…

In Kyoto, yes: where bicycles are widely venerated,
cherished, loved, accoutred with the gloves that fit
around the handlebars, and springdown stands
that hold against all winds, and easily surmountable
low crossbars, wide soft-saddles, bells that ring
(discretely), baskets for your bread-rolls, paper,
early morning milk. No fancy paints, pretentious
water bottles, complicated gears or gadgets — See!
A Buddhist monk glides out the temple door,
unhurried, tranquil, coloured robes wound round
for safety, one hand to steer, the other to hold clear
his umbrella while he weaves through traffic,
his white socks and sandals snug in plastic overshoes
and safe against the rains that Brahma sent today.
So yes, it is quite possible to be elegant on a bicycle
in traffic in the rain and there’s no strict requirement
one must worship at the temple shrine to learn to balance
handlebar, umbrella, inner peace and pedal against the rush
of cars and buses and the gaze of curious tourists. But
a little worship helps. And inner peace. And wide soft saddles.
Came upon this shop (and bicycle) in London near the 'Poetry Place' open mic venue. (see 'Readings' August 09)
Came upon this shop (and bicycle) in London near the ‘Poetry Place’ open mic venue. (see ‘Readings’ August 09)


  1. I admire the images–and I want this sort of practical, no nonsense bicycle! I want it yesteday!


    1. Yes. And another thing is that, in Japan, they don’t have this stupid distinction between men’s and women’s bicycles — You know: the high cross bar for men– All the bikes have low crossbars.


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