One cyclist, Timmy Dryden, isn't fast;
He tries to race but seems to finish last,
Without exception, ev'ry single time.
His speed goes single digit on a climb;
He brakes too hard in corners 'cuz he's scared
To lean as much as those ahead have dared,
Afraid his tires will slip and down he'll go
(That sort of thing does happen, as you know.)

On steep descents, approaching freeway speeds
Is not a thrill that Timmy ever needs.
Fast rushing wind, loud, roaring past his ears
Creates unfounded (plus more prudent) fears
Of oscillating steering, lost control,
And crashing to the pavement where he'll roll
Then slide, abrading skin from legs and arms,
Or breaking bones and other dreadful harms.

On straight flat sections Timmy feels alright;
He pedals with good form, with all his might,
He regulates his heart rate and his breath.
His fears of getting maimed or early death,
Are not of much concern – except for flats,
Or maybe running over dogs or cats.
Still, other cyclists pass him, though he tries
To hang onto their draft, with straining thighs.

Poor Tim has tried recumbent bikes and things
Like fairings, lubes, tailboxes, even wings,
Purported to increase one's cycling speed.
What Timmy's spent on tires alone would feed
A village in Uganda for a year –
Some tires as slim as pinkies, sidewalls sheer,
With hardly any real results, I'm sad to say...
Except that most got punctured right away.

Upwind or downwind, pavement smooth or rough,
In heat or cold, Tim's never fast enough
To meet his expectations or desires;
He sometimes makes excuses like "Those tires
Had too much friction", "Hey – I had three flats!"
Or "Five guys sucked my wheel – those gutless rats."
But still... the bottom line for downcast Tim
Is other cyclists always outrun him.

I drank some beers with Tim the other night,
And he confided all this stuff. I might
Have been a lot more sympathetic, but in fact
I've known the guy for years and I have tracked
The times we rode together, and you see
That bozo always stays ahead of me;
I never can quite catch him though I strive,
And I am NOT the slowest guy alive.

The moral of this poem's not obscure:
Though other folks are faster and you're sure
You somehow come up short when you compete
With other cyclists zooming down the street,
Remember there are folks you leave behind.
I think what bothers Tim's poor troubled mind
And leaves it in a dark, depressing pall
Is – dammit! – that he can't outrun 'em all.

Unless you're Bradley Wiggins, you should know
There'll always be somebody else who'll go
A whole lot faster than you'll ever be.
Compare yourself to him instead of me,
And you'll miss lots of FUN and waste your youth;
Herewith, I'd like to state a simple truth:
The slowest cyclist out there's still ahead
Of those who watch TV or stay in bed.

POW Index

Last updated 7/17/2012