Cycling Stories

Ring the Bell

June 19, 2020


Ring the Bell

I gave away my bike in 2012 
My marriage was on the rocks 
I had bad mental health 
Most days I couldn’t look at myself 

One day, I disappeared 
From my marketing job 
I posted the office keys 
And walked 

My phone rang for hours 
I told people I was safe 
But I didn’t want to talk 
I propped myself up in a cafe 

As I wondered what to do next 
Crying into a muffin 
I noticed the women’s centre 
Was open for drop-in  

There was nothing to lose 
I wandered over to the building 
The ladies put their arms around me 
I relaxed for the time being  

The following weeks, I returned 
I started talking 
It took a long time 
But I eventually made friends  

One day I saw a helper 
Putting up posters 
She told me a client 
Had her bicycle stolen  

I ran to my flat 
And grabbed my bike 
Although I’d miss it 
Giving it away felt right  

I cycled to the women’s centre 
The helper was overjoyed 
As I rode around the corner 
I shouted “Oi, Oi, Oi”  

I jumped from my bike 
Like my legs were springs 
I felt my chest rise 
And my face was smiling  

We spent the afternoon 
Doing bunny hops and laughing 
I pumped the tyres 
And met the new owner  

I looked behind me as I walked home 
The helper and the new owner 
Waved at me warmly 
And rang the bell 

Nina Vallard is a student and administrator in Kent, United Kingdom. She was born in the Westcountry but has gradually worked her way east hugging the coastline. In her free time, she visits museums and makes zines.
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