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When Mikey the Bike went out on that day He knew in his heart that things seemed astray. Most often his rider rode far and quite fast Till no other bikes and their riders could pass.

They won every race, the young rider and Mike, And they rode as one unit, just owner and bike.

‘Cause winning was all to both in those days And no one could stop them and their winning ways.

But on this occasion, Mikey knew things were wrong. He didn’t go fast nor did he ride long. His rider felt heavy. He didn’t feel strong. Mikey tried as he might to will them both on. But it just didn’t work. The speed was all gone.

‘Cause bikes cannot move without riders on top. Without a good rider, a bike will just stop.

And stop they soon did after just a short while. They hadn’t gone far, not even a mile.

But Mikey just ďŹ gured it was a bad day And he thought that tomorrow things would soon go his way. His rider put Mike in his spot in the shed Near an old oil can and a mower named Fred.

“How was the ride?” Fred asked his old friend. “How fast did you go? Did you win in the end?” But Mikey just frowned as he sat in his spot And he sat and he stewed about all that he thought.

“I’m so disappointed,” he told Fred with a sigh. “My rider gave up. He did not even try. Most often we ride very far, very fast, But today, oh today, we just ran out of gas.”

Fred laughed at the prospect of bikes and of gas And he said, “Not to worry. I’m sure it won’t last. You’ll see,” he told Mikey inside of the shed, “He’ll be back tomorrow. It’s all in your head.”

But tomorrow came slowly and the next day and more, And still the young rider didn’t come to the fore. He left Mike abandoned inside of the shed With that same oil can and the mower named Fred.

“He will never come back,” Mikey said in a huff. “That’s it, he’s just quit. He’s back on his duff. We were a TEAM, my rider and me. So how could he leave? Just where could he be? “We need to keep winning and taking first place And bringing home trophies from each little race. ‘Cause winning is everything. Without it I’m lost. I’m just an old bike that’s all coated with dust.”

So Mikey he sat in the shed and he whined

And his rider stayed gone for a very long time.

And Mikey got covered with dust and with grime. And his oiled parts rusted. His joints turned to slime.

And Mikey got madder…

…and more and madder…

Till his gears stuck together and his saddle was sore. And still he got madder each day in the shed Near the old oil can and the mower named Fred.

And soon days and then weeks

and then months came to pass When in walked the rider, at very long last.

And Mikey was set to be mad at the man Who left him behind like an old rusty can.

But when he came close, Mikey’s feelings they changed. Something seemed wrong and something seemed strange. His rider was different — he was thinner and sadder. And Mikey’s big anger, well, it just didn’t matter.

The rider sat down on the ground before Mike And he lifted one hand which he gripped to the bike.

And there he just sat as a tear wrestled free.

And Mikey said nothing. He just let him be.

They sat for some time, the young rider and Mike, Then the rider got up, and he patted his bike. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, “about your disuse. I’ve been sick for some time, but that’s not an excuse. ‘Cause I’m done being ill. I’ve fought it and won. But my healing’s not over. There’s more to be done. In fact,” he said softly, “I’ve not yet begun.” And with that he grabbed some clean soap and a cloth And he slowly, oh so slowly, wiped Mike the Bike off. And he gave him some oil and grease from the shelf And soon Mikey the Bike was back to his old self.

They were off the next day for a trip down the road But the riding was different from so long ago. For they didn’t go far and they didn’t ride fast And ALL of the bikes and their riders did pass. But Mike didn’t worry. His feelings had altered. Just seeing his rider (falter) Mikey urged him on farther as best as he could And when he got tired, well, Mike understood.

‘Cause healing takes time for it to be good.

And soon after days and then weeks and then months, Mike and his rider were back in the hunt. And they won some. They lost some. They fell in between. But they always were happy, this bike riding team.

For Mike learned that winning just didn’t compare To the feel of the wind and the smell of the air. And the hills yet to climb and the moon and the stars were better than medals.

They were better by far.

For all of those years Mikey looked toward the end And the trophy that waited around that last bend. But what he soon learned from his rider’s big trial Is the end doesn’t matter. Not so by a mile.

It’s the journey to get there that makes life all worthwhile.

Michael the Bicycle  

Children's Picture Book

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