A Bike Race Brings the Difference Down

A poem I write in honor of Hayward's Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival

Amid cheers of loved ones, out-of-towners, and smatterings of locals
congregated on Main Street's crowded side, 

The vast Bicycle Armada glides.

Two thousand five hundred, did I hear?
Sailing furiously down Main Street
Into wooded wilderness.

Two thousand five hundred look-alikes
On fat tired bikes.
But they, themselves seem neither fat nor tired (yet!)

Hunched over handlebars, determined
The helmeted hopefuls fly
In wild-eyed animation.

Wave after wave, the countless waves go by
inspiring awe, and even tears from sidewalk sentimentalists
who with wave and cheer, race on with them -- vicariously.

Two thousand five hundred souls hodgepodged,
Cobbled together from different ilk.
Following the clarion call. . .

From Minnesota and Montana
Texas and Kentucky.
From urban sprawl and hamlet

Together, they ride.

Farmer and Banker
Undertaker and Mechanic
Minister and Bartender

Together, they ride.

Republican and Democrat
Believer and Skeptic
Liberal and Conservative

Together, they ride

Management and Labor
Judge and Lawbreaker
Teenager and Elder

Together, they ride

Male and Female
Minority and Majority
Builder and Boomer and Buster

Together, they ride -- side by side.

So very different, but on this September day
So very much alike.

On Main Street, in a small Wisconsin town
A Bike Race brings the difference down.
Sailing, they cast it all aside -- and together, they ride!

All hearts united.
All minds directed
To the common end
A common friend -- the finish line.

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