UK Bike Week

It was UN World Bicycle Day on Saturday 3rd June and – in a show of solidarity – UK Bike Week was celebrated between 5th – 11th June.

This year is the 100th annual Bike Week, marking a century of celebrating everyday cycling for everyone. World Bicycle Day is about celebrating the bicycle as a simple, affordable, clean and environmentally sustainable means of transport. The day is celebrated globally by organising bike rides at a local and national level.

“So – “Get on your bikes and ride!”” said Ian Henery, Poet in Residence for Wolverhampton radio station WCR FM which broadcasts on 101.8 FM and online.  “It`s  a lyric from “Bicycle Race” by British rock band Queen from their 1978 album “Jazz” and written by Freddie Mercury2 he said.

“The song is included in their 1981 “Greatest Hits” compilation.”   Bike Week is organised by Cycling UK and is an annual opportunity to promote cycling and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life.  Bike Week 100 want to encourage as many workplaces as possible to support their staff to ride during the week to help combat global climate change.     So “Get on your bikes and ride!”

“I have always cycled from a young age” said Ian Henery  “but bikes became a big part of my life when community activist Andrew Clayton (pictured outside the New Art Gallery – photo Phil Buckley) invited me to be part of Poetry in Motion to support the Women`s Tour, the world`s leading international women`s cycle race.

Walsall had been announced to host the Women`s Tour for the first time ever and Poetry in Motion were supporting the event.  In it`s push for gender equality, Walsall Council were only the 3rd town ever to have the start and finish of the road race on the same day.”

Poetry in Motion became Walsall Festival of Words the following year.  This year will be the second Walsall Festival of Words on Saturday 10th June.

“I am proud to be performing on the Bandstand in Walsall Arboretum – now part of the UNESCO Black Country Geopark” said Ian Henery.


Ride (villanelle)

Ride the winter out, ride the summer back

Through the seasons, when skies are blue or bleak

For the hum of rubber on smooth tarmac.


Ride every carriageway, every dirt track

Through the woods, down the lanes and past the peaks;

Ride the winter out, ride the summer back.


Life`s like a bicycle, not a race track:

Keep balanced, keep moving, answers to seek

For the hum of rubber on smooth tarmac.


Just ride – pedals and gears are your soundtrack:

Ride away the commute, long working week,

Ride the winter out, ride the summer back.


Ride down towpaths, bridges like a humpback

Along the canal, flesh and metal streak –

For the hum of rubber on smooth tarmac.


Ride through the countryside, fields with haystacks,

Cranking up the gears, the bicycle speaks:

Ride the winter out, ride the summer back

For the hum of rubber on smooth tarmac.

Ian Henery

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