La Loire à Vélo
by Neil Creighton

Her name is Surly but she’s actually very sweet.
She’s no carbon graphite pick-me-up-in-two-fingers lightweight.
She’s a cherry-red Long Haul Trucker, a touring bike,
a little heavy but look closely and she’s all understated quality.
I’m thinking how I love her, how she’s my favourite thing,
how as Di and I cycle along the Loire
there is bird song in the air,
how it is quiet,
how the only other sounds are the swish of tyres
and the gentle whirr of chain
and how it is she who has brought me here.

We are in no hurry,
covering the kilometres easily
while the Loire makes its full-bodied, green/brown,
cloud-shadowed, tree-mirrored, sun-sparkled way
past fields of young green wheat
and the beautiful litter of bright-red poppies.

On and on Surly goes, uncomplaining, clean,
never needing petrol, low maintenance,
for hour upon hour, until finally we are at Tours,
a little tired, glad of a rest, a chance to attend
to our momentary human needs,
to wash, eat, sleep, dream,
while she just leans up against the wall,
waiting for tomorrow, at my service,
ready to join again with the Loire,
travel easily alongside it
as it makes its full-bodied, green/brown,
cloud-shadowed, tree-mirrored, sun-sparkled way,


          and on

                                   and on

                                                       and on….

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My Surly Long Haul Trucker, a touring bicycle that has taken me to many amazing places.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I love bicycles and have toured in lots of places, some very mountainous. The Loire Valley (Central France) is flat and beautiful, just right for cyclists. A separate path runs for hundreds of kilometres and as I rode along its beauty with my wife, I couldn’t help but think how wonderful a bike is and this poem emerged. I own three but my touring bike, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, is definitely my prized possession.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton lives in a small village northwest of Sydney, Australia. His poems have appeared in anthologies and many journals, both hard copy and online. He is a contributing editor at Verse-Virtual and a passionate cyclist. He has toured widely by cycle, both within Australia and overseas. He blogs at Wind of Flowers. Poems by Neil Creighton.