Ode to the Flatlands
September 2018
A poem about riding Flatlands 2018

There is no easy six hundred
       Tomsk will say frequently and often
You blithely ignore the wisdom of those words
       And sign up, a naive cycling boffin.

This naivety can last all day
  As you tick of the funny spots
The Mountain Rescue Team, Peak Hill
  And other witty bon mots.

You’ll scythe the endless fields of brassicas
  Grinning with the joys
Of a tailwind on the way out
  That creates men from boys.

Even a pile of swedes
  The highest thing around
Becomes a pleasant artistic piece
  A turner-winning mound.

For the roads may never ascend, and the roads they never go down
But the Flatlands roads double the distance betwixt every town


But then comes the fall of night
  And that savage spectral ghoul
The golden M that haunts
  The historic port-town of Goole.

At least the staff are smiling
  But what choice do they have
When the wet lycra posse
  Outnumber the normal chavs?

‘Tough half the ride is done
  And you still feel quite super
Further challenges lie in wait
  Beyond choking down a burger.

You venture to the toilet
  In order to dry out
To find the dyson already dominated
       By some ancien lout.

For the roads may never ascend, and the corners they are scarce
But the Flatlands can be endless and the route sheet deadly terse


And then the challenge to find
  That elusive friend called sleep
In sodden breezy bus shelters
  Festooned with souvenirs of sheep.

You ride along the Lincoln ridge
  All hotels are taken by others
Whom now we detest and loathe
  These daylight sisters and brothers.

Finally you find a four foot bench  
  And settle down to rest
A fantasy of two hours sleep reduced
  To a toss and turn at best.

And then the morning crawl comes
  The body lethargic and slack
And the mood among survivors
  A grim and deathly black.

Finally! Spoons! At eight sharp
  We fall upon the door
We are so effing hungry
  We’d eat it off the floor.

For the roads may never ascend, and the downhills never there
But the Flatlands can be endless and motivation can be threadbare


But with the morning comes the wind
  The troll with the slapped red face
Who hits back at you double hard
  And halves the onward pace

And then a helping more of that
  And then another helping again
The wind becomes a constant needle
  That inflicts an endless pain

The landscape that you once flew over
  Is now reversed and sour
And it seems to take a day
  To complete a ten mile hour

The swede’s revenge is cruelly sweet
  They all seem to have grown a face
They jeer and laugh and cackle
  And spray you with their mace.

Hour after hour this all carries on
  Each stop gets further and longer
Time elongates then snaps
  And the end is less hither more yonder.

For the roads may never ascend, and the downhills never come
But the Flatlands can be endless and bite you in the bum


Even then the last thirty miles
  Have a nasty little trick
Of throwing in some steep short hills
  Your arse laid bare to kick.

And the sudden appearance of scenery
  Reminds you of the prior lack
This miracle of things to look at
  After thirty hours of cak.

Suddenly it’s over
        And none too soon for me
I loathe the Flatlands once again
  Swearing forever to flee.

It takes just one day dear reader
  To discard my resolute resolve
And sign up to the next one -
  Another years revolve

For next year is the ride in france
  That wee coast and return
So I cannot forgo this ride
  Despite this poem to spurn.

For the roads may never ascend, and the downhills have been banned
The Flatlands can be endless but it’s easier than Bryan Chapman.