Bike Poetry? Bike Poetry!

When you enter Charlie’s Freewheels, you don’t expect that a poetry workshop would be held here. You see all the bike mechanics, the tools, the bikes themselves, but soon you realize that this is why the workshop is called Bike Poetry. Bike Poetry! Bike Poetry? Bike Poetry.


As I walked into the Charlie’s kitchen/sitting space, I was so confused about what Bike Poetry meant. I don’t think anyone had a clue. Tanya Neumeyer, the artist in charge of leading the workshop, was an amazing person and she explained to me what Bike Poetry meant. Bike Poetry is when you’re riding your bike and as you have ideas for your poetry, you stop and write them down and continue your ride. Although we didn’t ride our bikes anywhere, we wrote a lot of little poetry pieces in that workshop.


The workshop consisted of several women, of all ages from different backgrounds. Some older than others, but we all had creative minds and ideas when it came to poetry. Tanya was very welcoming and was open to all ideas. She had a great vibe and understood that sometimes we didn’t want to share our poetry, which was a great sigh of relief. Whether it was a piece in the making or we thought it was a bad one, Tanya understood how important sharing a piece was.


Every exercise we did lasted roughly 3 minutes each. We did many of them; freestyle, crossing out lines from her own poem and making it our own, and using the parts of a bike to make literal bike poetry. Confused about what I am talking about? We got a picture of a bike with all the bike parts on them and we chose three parts. I chose the brake, pedal and shifter. I used these words and made my own ‘bike poetry’. An example of a line that we created was to “Pedal away from your problems…”.


After doing a couple exercises, we merged them all together. We used lines from our pieces created in our activities to create a mega-piece that we were proud of. After that, Tanya did some performance exercises. Everyone was nervous to perform, but we did an exercise where you are handed a slip of paper that says “perform like a sportscaster” or “say your piece to the tune of twinkle 

twinkle”, and at the same time, everyone says their pieces so you can practice your performance but not have the anxiety of being in front of everyone and saying your piece.


Near the end, Tanya introduced each participant and we showcased our poetry to the rest of the group. Folks who  were uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their poetry (or even just writing poetry!) were now sharing their pieces and smiling from the wave of applause and positivity from the group.


All in all, the workshop was a very fun experience and Tanya did an amazing job hosting. Hearing her pieces and what she had to say about Bike Poetry and Poetry in general was fantastic. I enjoyed hearing the pieces and art that everyone created during the workshop. You’d think Charlie’s Freewheels was all about bikes only, but hey! They have awesome poetry and art workshops as well!