NaPoWriMo 4.7: Product Recall




Catch up Friday (and because writing is more fun that other things I should probably be doing).

A quickly-written but heartfelt piece today (for yesterday, day seven) on behalf of me and I suspect many other road-users…


Product Recall

In an unprecedented cross-brand move
the producers of multiple makes
of luxury cars have issued
an urgent statement in which they state
a range of failure, including:

indicators which refuse to signal
anything but total disregard
for others; wing-mirrors which reflect
only the image of the driver;
rear-view mirrors which frame
only the owner’s own navel;
windows which bring about
colour-blind confusion between
red, amber and green; and pedals
which twitch of their own volition.

They are recommending the return
of every single model of these cars,
which will immediately be melted down
into ostentatious bike racks and public
sculpture, marking this historic occasion
as an act of reconciliation
to all those who will never again
feel the dark alloy menacing them
just feet away, on the motorway;
to all those who will never again
feel their revving presences sending
fear and loathing
through their
fleshy and crash-helmeted minds.

Ride the Lights, 26th March


Ride the Lights

On Wednesday 26th April, Paul Hurley and I will be running a creative cycling expedition from The Hepworth, Wakefield, called Ride the Lights.

The event is the third cycling-arts event Paul and I have led, after CycloGeographic in 2010 for SusTrans in Caerphilly (to celebrate the opening of a new National Cycling Network route) and then a Situationists Vs Romantics CycloGeo expedition for Juliana’s Bike in Leeds last year.

We’ll be exploring themes of light, and the play between fact and fiction for the Hepworth event, inviting riders to explore the cinematic fragments and moments of Wakefield at night – inspired by the current exhibition by Philip-Lorca diCorcia. There will be intrigue, inspiration and a fair amount of light-up items.

You can book a place on the ride here. We hope to see you and your bike there…

Notes on the Pedal Post-Mortem


This poem’s been rattling around my head for a while, so I made myself get on with it for a bike zine (on the theme of ‘wheels’) which is being produced tomorrow for the Juliana’s Bike Festival – hosted by the great Culture Vulture blog.

A month or so ago, I took my bike in to the Pedallar’s Arms (an amazing place always staffed by wonderful volunteers) as the pedal (appropriately) was making an alarming screeching noise. Several hours later, with a functioning pedal, realised how complex and surgical the process of fixing a pedal is…And that’s what inspired this (perhaps a bit e e cummings-like) poem…(It may or may not end up in the zine! Depends on space and time, as does everything…)

Notes on the Pedal Post-Mortem

or, The Wheels are the Feet


the wheels are the feet

are the pedals are the feet

are the wheels are the


ache in my treads screech

each orbit when feet meet

rubber of skin / tarmac of air


joints of the race break

red-pink fractured link

mechanical ankle / bone machine


the hands are the grip

are the brakes are the grip

are the hands are


the workshop crank of surgery

momentum from metallurgy

tweezered bearings / threaded limbs


ring-road of recovery

stitched white line a cut between

cycling the city / the city in me


the wheels are the feet

are the pedals are the feet

are the wheels are

Snails, or Cycling in Shropshire

An uphill snail…

A brief post, as – after NaPoWriMo – I’ve had a bit of breathing space…But feel like the fallow time is done and the ideas they are a-flowing again.

Having just returned from a week in lovely Shropshire (which really is stunningly beautiful), I had a couple of rustic animal-related ideas (I do enjoy writing about animals). It’s a wonderful county and made me appreciate anew how many diverse landscapes we’re lucky enough to have on Our Curious Little Rock in the Atlantic (or, Britain, as it’s known).

Here’s one of the animal poems, about cycling in a hilly terrain while in otherworldly holiday-time:



or, Cycling in Shropshire


We trail the treads

of our tyre-tracks.


all Earth’s gravity,

all of time:

a week of our life,

all we can see,


over our backs.

Cycle Geo for Leeds Bike Fest

Exciting news!

Alongside artist Paul Hurley, I shall be running workshops for East Street Arts‘ city-wide bike fest event – our CycloGeographic rides will be on 20th and 21st of July.

Watch this space – the event is called Juliana’s Bike – for more information about our deranged derives. More information should appear on that site soon!

CycloGeographic, Caerphilly

CycloGeographic, Caerphilly, Wales

Last Sunday 5th September, Paul Hurley, Arabella Butler and I  set off to Caerphilly, to set up our participatory cycling arts event for SusTrans’ MicroFest event. Posing as our alter-egos, The Explorer (Paul), The Ringmaster (Me) and Lady Bee (Arabella), we invited the public to explore their surroundings in new, creative ways, either on foot or by bike.


Part treasure hunt, part discovery game, Cyclo-Geographic was commissioned by SusTrans as a cycle-based arts event for adventurers of all ages. With a selection of things to do, make or find, adventurers will set off from the Castle to explore, on foot or by bicycle, the National Cycle Network in and around Caerphilly.

We invited Explorers to spin the ‘Bike Wheel of Fortune’ to decide on their tasks, based on different skills/areas, a la Trivial Pursuit: Nature, Creativity, History etc. They were then given ‘luggage tags’ with ‘Invitations’ for games and exercises to do.

Our amazing artist friend, H Ren, painted a gorgeous map of the site and the National Cycle Network area, so when people returned from their explorations, they were asked to ‘map’ where they had done them. Thus, an alternative map was created which represented people’s creative experiences of the area:

H Ren's beautiful alternative map of Caerphilly, with people's experiences pinned to it. This is now with Caerphilly library.

In our bright red tent, we had prepared various bike-based artefacts from surplus bike parts from the Bristol Bike Project. Here’s the Cyclo Geo sign, made entirely of bike parts! I was quite proud of it…

CycloGeo bike part sign

CycloGeo bike part sign

Paul and I are keen cyclists – and I’m passionate about how important it is for more people to get cycling – so it was a great pleasure to do an interactive event which was so cycle-centric. This is something we could very easily adapt to other localities and events, so if you want to talk about us doing it at an event then please get in touch.