25 March 2009

Shakespeare was a cyclist: proof

The Bard has been in the news lately, thanks to claimed new portraits of him (Cobbe, Sanders) popping up faster than new bank bailouts.

But nobody has mentioned the fact that Shakespeare was a keen cyclist, as these quotes from his oeuvre prove. Well, as much as anyone can prove he is the person in the Cobbe or Sanders portraits, anyway.

In the bike shop
Will this gear ne'er be mended? Troilus and Cressida Act I, Scene 1
Lights, lights, lights! Hamlet Act III, Scene 2
I'll provide you a chain; and I'll do what I can to get you a pair of horns. Merry Wives of Windsor Act V, Scene 1
Lights, more lights! Timon of Athens Act I, Scene 2

On the folly of cheap or worn accessories
A merry heart goes all the day, your sad tires in a mile-a. Winter's Tale Act IV Scene 3
...to ride with ugly rack... Sonnet 33
Look you what hacks are on his helmet! Troilus and Cressida Act I, Scene 2
...thou hast worn out thy pump... Romeo and Juliet Act II, Scene 4

Encounters with bad drivers
They shouted thrice: what was the last cry for? Julius Caesar Act I, Scene 2
This cuff was but to knock at your car and beseech list'ning. Taming of the Shrew Act IV, Scene 1

At Critical Mass
For 'tis the sport to have the enginer hoist with his own petard Hamlet Act III, Scene 4

On waiting at cycle crossings which stay red through several greens for everyone else
Lo, where it comes again! I'll cross it, though it blast me. Hamlet Act I, Scene 1

To the cyclist who jumps red lights
Stir not until the signal. Julius Caesar Act V, Scene 1

On overambitious touring itineraries
...thou and I have thirty miles to ride yet ere dinner time Henry IV Part 1, Act III Scene 3

On the need for security
You shall not now be stol'n, you have locks upon you Cymbeline Act V, Scene 4

To the CTC Sunday ride arriving at the pub
...do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals? Henry VIII Act V, Scene 4

A cyclist's declaration of love
...no leave take I; for I will ride, as far as land will let me, by your side. Richard II Act I, Scene 3


  1. There is strong evidence (proof) that the Sanders portrait is legit.


  2. Rob. This is truly brilliant! Here's my bike bard pound of flesh article on bicycle saddles: http://quickrelease.tv/?p=59