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The Bicycle
(Roud 5233)
Tom Lenihan
Knockbrack, Miltown Malbay
Recorded 1977

Carroll Mackenzie Collection


Tom Lenihan

You talk about having a bicycle hump,
I got a bicycle pip.
I bought a beautiful safety one;
And on my very first trip.
I ran right in to an old, old woman
Sure I nearly mangled a kid.
The crowd all gathered around me,
And what do you think they did?

Chorus:
They first took hold of the handlebars,
They twisted the diamond frame.
They pulled out the end of the patent valve
And it never will look the same.
They burst the bearing, they bent the fork,
Somebody smashed the chain.
They took all the wind from the inner tube,
And I never will ride again.

They bored a hole through my Dunlop tyre,
They smashed my detachable brake.
They stuck a spanner between the spokes,
And the squeaker they tried to take.
They spoiled the shape of the rust-less wrench;
The cox couldn’t stand the strain.
They burst a cog and I lost my gear,
And I never will ride again.

Chorus:
They first took hold of the handlebars,
They twisted the diamond frame.
They pulled out the end of the patent valve
And it never will look the same.
They burst the bearing, they bent the fork,
Somebody smashed the chain.
They took all the wind from the inner tube,
And I never will ride again.

They told me my saddle was puncture-proof,
They pulled out the wick of the lamp.
They started in trying to ring the bell
And the gear-wheel got a cramp.
I started in trying to stop the bell,
The pump went into a drain.
It took all the oil from the oilcan
And I’m damned if I’ll ride again.

Chorus:
They first took hold of the handlebars,
They twisted the diamond frame.
They pulled out the end of the patent valve
And it never will look the same.
They burst the bearing, they bent the fork,
Somebody smashed the chain.
They took all the wind from the inner tube,
And I never will ride again.

Conversation at end of song between Tom Lenihan and Jim Carroll:
Jim: Where did you hear that song?
Tom: Well to tell you the gospel truth Jim, I don’t know where I got that; it’s a hundred years old if ‘tis a minute and I never sung it in any place because you wouldn’t know the devil what it’s about at-all or what, what sort of a song it is!


"Tom got this from his sister Mary in America. He told us he could never make much sense of it and was reluctant to sing it. He said the same to Tom Munnelly when he gave it to him later, who suggested that Tom saw a double-entendre in some of the lines, hence his hesitation in singing it in mixed company.
Jim Carroll


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