For our prompt of “Bicycle” today, my mind went back to my childhood. My mother used to sing bits of a song sung by Nat King Cole called “On A Bicycle Built For Two.” I hadn’t thought about that song in years, but now it’s stuck in my head again. I said my mother sang bits as, like most of us, it’s tough to remember all of the lyrics so she’d tend to hum bits and then get bolder when it was time for chorus. It’s a cute song and so I figured I’d do a quick little loose and carefree doodle in honor of that memory. The song was actually a hit way back when it was first written in 1892, and was recorded by many different people after that. I’ve never ridden on a tandem bicycle like this, but it seems like a very fun thing to try. It would take a lot of teamwork so it’s no wonder it became a star in song about romance.

Actually, in the original version of the song, the singer is asking Daisy Bell for her hand in marriage. Unfortunately, the young man, named Michael, can’t afford a carriage and tells her she’d look sweet on a tandem bike instead. Her answer is that song is an emphatic “no” as she tells him she’s not crazy and there won’t be a marriage if there’s no carriage. This isn’t really a very happy ending, so the modern versions of the song added some lyrics and wisely left out the response of the bride-to-be. What’s left is a cute little song about a poor boy pining for the love of the girl of his dreams. In the new version, it’s assumed that Daisy isn’t so pretentious and will of course say yes and they will ride away and live happily ever after. But, it is rather funnier the other way around.

I adore those older songs because romance was something so sweet and innocent. If the subject of marriage didn’t come up in the song, it was just as easily one that could be sung to a good friend. There’s something beautiful about pure love, and our capacity to share love is always larger than we think. Throughout my life, just when I thought I’d met every friend that might become special to me, another one appears. I cherish those friendships and even remember the first time we met as though it were a romance. Love makes everything more memorable and amazing. And, of course, I remember meeting Philippe for the first time. He didn’t sing a love song to me, but he did sing the Disney song “The Bare Necessities” in French, which really was the next best thing. In that moment, I knew we weren’t the couple that would ever require a carriage, as we’d certainly be quite at home on a bicycle built for two.

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About the Doodlewash

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Tandem Bicycle Built For Two Rabbit Mouse Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

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29 thoughts on “Bicycle Built For Two

  1. I often wonder which of our songs will survive to the next century with the constant influx of new music and competition for attention. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of them are forgotten, while mothers still sing “Daisy, Daisy…” to their children.

  2. Charlie, ack! Someone turned down marriage in the 1890s? So does one of my novel heroines who wants to go to work instead. Only she uses a horse. Great story as usual! Do you speak French too? Being Canadian they forced us to learn it in school and while I elected to continue taking it for 7 years it turns out to be Acadian. That means fractured French. Ask Phillippe what it means as I’m really not sure — and tell him thank you.

    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Lisa! 💜 I really appreciate it and it means a lot to me. It’s just been a long road and I am tired. These past few days, I have been feeling like a caged animal, but I have to re-focus on my faith and the Lord ‘s faithfulness. I know that He is faithful even when I am not. 😀 I almost wished you a happy Thanksgiving. haha haha A little late.

      1. Not a big deal, Marisela. You know we might never again get this kind of time and space to be creative. I am enjoying it. I love it when it gets dark and I feel cuddly and I love it when it gets light and I have lots of stuff to do. I have been redecorating. Again. I made a grouping of frames I have to fill with paintings. And thanks for the greetings, I have turkey soup on the stove. I don’t like turkey but I do like it in soup and casseroles, go figure. Have a great week. Be happy. The Lord gave us his peace. Use it.

    2. Actually, I understand much more French than I can speak. I can never seem to pronounce things properly, and even a slight alteration makes it sound like mush to Philippe! 😉 As for French in Canada, he’s only mentioned Quebec French. Says he understands it, but there’s a definite accent.

  3. I immediately thought of that Daisy song too, Charlie. I used to hear my late-granny singing it to me when I was a child and we did a play in primary school for this song. Now, that song is stuck in my head haha

  4. My mom sang this one. Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

    I was really into biking in my 30s, but there came a time when I could no longer do it, so we bought a recumbent tandem bike. On our maiden voyage down the bike trail, we took a spill and I broke my foot. That was the last time we ever rode that bike! I still own a hand cycle through I haven’t used it for years. I should sell it, but that feels like surrender, so it hangs unused in the shed. Bad Lisa!

    1. Hi, Lisa! I am Marisela. They do sell adult sized tricycles. They’re actually cute and seem safer. I am scared to bike ride also for that very reason — breaking or injuring anything. I am just coming out of a very bad, scary, and brutally painful 7 years of very serious injuries so to go bike riding……YIKES! Maybe later on, but, for now, I would totally go for a cute adult tricycle. 💜 Happy Thanksgiving, Lisa!

      1. Hi Marisela, I can no longer ride at all because I have MS, and my legs don’t work. I use an electric wheelchair these days. My hand cycle is a three wheeler and it worked well when I was still able to use it.

  5. Such a sweet painting, Charlie! 💜 Super cute bunnies. I love bunny feet. Me and feet. haha haha Charlie, our music is so vulgar now. Like you, I was fortunate enough to grow up hearing love songs. There are no more love songs. Our music now is about sex and not in a good way. It’s so vulgar. So sad.
    I would love to go bike riding. I have a bike, but it’s too high for me and I am terrified of falling and getting injured or broken. I don’t want to be afraid, but it’s too soon. After being injured for so long, I am just now feeling good. I am not interested in risky behavior right now. I would totally go for an adult tricycle, though. I would burn rubber with that one. haha haha

    1. Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not a fan of a lot of the newer music. Still love the oldies, which just makes me sound old I guess. haha! You totally have to ride an adult tricycle… that sounds amazing! I’d do that in a heartbeat! Fun! lol

      1. Hi, Charlie! No, you’re not old. We’re not old. We just have finer taste in music. That’s why they’re called oldies, but goodies. 😀

  6. Hello Charlie,

    I love today’s Doodlewash – specially the scene through which the two friends are bicycling. I would love to walk for endless hours on that road. And I really loved the story of how you and Phillipe met. It really must be a magical feeling to meet the person of your dreams. I met someone many years ago too and I thought it was meant to be, only to realize that I was painfully wrong. Now am scared of letting anyone near me but being a lover of fairytales I still believe in true love. Talk about contradicting beliefs! But you’ve been speaking of hope and love and belief and it makes me want to believe once again that someone special might still come my way. 🙂 Only time can tell I guess. For you, my prayer is that you & Phillipe keep finding yourselves in each other’s eyes and hearts.


    1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Yeah, Philippe and I met a bit later in life. Prior loves didn’t work out for me either, but that makes this relationship all the more special! So, it always worth trying again and demanding that fairy tale ending! You deserve it!

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