Cycling Students Write Love Letters to … Their Shoes?!

Cycling Students Write Love Letters to … Their Shoes?!
Suzanne Morrissey

The high school years find students toiling over many a writing assignment. From college essays to explanations of lab findings, book reports to articles for The Brewster Browser—students are constantly putting pen to paper (or, more accurately, fingers to keyboard). But we’re quite sure it never crossed anyone’s mind that they may be called upon to write an ode to their—wait for it—shoes.

But that is exactly what students who participated in the April Interim Studies experience “Biking Inn to Inn” did. Their cycling shoes got quite the workout on the once-in-a-lifetime experience, during which the small group pedaled along New Hampshire’s Northern Rail Trail and stayed at local inns reserved solely for our Brewster crew. They discovered the joys of “bikepacking” in the Granite State countryside learning teamwork, perseverance, and endurance along the way. The nine students and their faculty guides, Michelle Rafalowski and Edison Quinatoa, logged 50+ miles during their five days on the road. 

So perhaps it isn’t so surprising that when asked by Ms. Rafalowski to think about the humble kicks that carried them through their adventure, the students were able to wax poetic. “I asked them to write about what their cycling shoes would say to them about their adventures over the course of the week,” she shared, encouraging the students to consider questions like, What did you see? How did you feel? Were you scared? Excited? Surprised? How might your trip have transformed your shoes? And how did it transform you?

Please enjoy this collection of poems called “Ode to My Cycling Shoes.” 

And for more information about Interim Studies, the unique hands-on learning program when Brewster students choose from dozens of interesting choices like Biking Inn to Inn, documentary filmmaking, dog sledding, winter hiking, and many more, visit

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Luke Clarke ’24

Oh black Nike running shoes
You began as clean black and white
Now, you are black and slightly dirtyish white
Over Interim Studies, you have been to waterfalls, train stations, and to a dam.
Over the Interim Studies week, you have seen us build fire, build shelters, and hiked with us. 
You have been with me when I’ve felt exhausted, happy, and annoyed.
Now, you are in my dorm room.
Saying, “When are you going to bike again?”
And I’d say maybe in the summer.

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Jade Hall ’22

Baby pink Nike running shoes
Men’s 8.5
Sleek, and smooth, you spoke to my father and me
I remember when I picked you off the shelf and thought of all that we’d do
Over the Interim Studies week, you have done more than you’d hoped
You’ve seen every kind of terrain, every farmhouse scent, and nearby creek
You were with me when I felt the rainfall on my nose
And when the wind blew your laces all over
Now though you’ve taken a hit, you sit back in my closet
Ready for a quick wash that’ll make you good as new,
Saying, can we do that again?
And I say, yes anything for you.

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
James Keung ’23

Size 13 dark green waterproof hiking shoes
You began looking clean
Now, you look muddy, dirty, and scratch marks all over you.
Over the Interim Studies week, you have been on many different bike trails, grass fields, rocky roads, and wet muddy roads
Over the Interim Studies week, you have seen a lot of new people and to a lot of new places
You were with me when I felt, sleeping, wet, and hungry
Now you are on my feet, because I thought it would be a good idea to clean the mud off with the snow
Saying are you going to clean me?
And I would say I am trying to.

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Nao Takegami ’23

Size 10,5 Nike Black
You began
I bought this last summer. It was inflexible.
Now, you are
You have been with me
Every day’s biking and hiking. 
You have been with me when I felt tired or enjoyed.
Now you are in my room.
Biking was fun!
What would you say to them?
Thank you.

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Emilie Alpert ’22

My gray, purple, and blue nike sneakers size 8 
You began with some discoloration from being worn a lot but otherwise clean looking 
Now you are lined with dried mud on the bottom 
Over the past few days you have been in water, on a bike, and in a barn
You were with me when I felt tired, motivated, and happy
Now you are in my dorm room
Saying thank you for giving me a rest 
I would you’re welcome but it won’t last long

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Derek Clark ’22

Turquoise Lime Green Nike Size 10 
You began in my garage from the previous owner, my Dad Tom who used you for runs and bike rides. 
Now you’re mine and passed down to join me on the same journey. 
Over Interim Studies, you have seen my bike, my friends, and the outside world. You were peddled, walked in, hiked in and broken into. 
You were with me as I was at the gym, with friends, with family before this trip, now you were with me in the outside world. 
Now you are on my feet right now. 
You’d say to me that you had a rough week, but you’re now ready for the next adventures that lie ahead and I say Let’s Roll. 

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Julian Laing ’23

Orange and gray size 10 hiking shoes
You began clean not worn in
Now you are full of mud and worn in
You have been from dams, to forests, to waterfalls, to trails. 
You have seen the beauty of New Hampshire. 
Now you are sitting in my dorm room.
You would say let’s go it’s time to biking
And I would say no, I'm tired. 

Ode to My Cycling Shoes
By Will Barry ’24

Turquoise Nikes size 8
You began clean and colorful pink yellow and turquoise
Now you are almost brown and worn
Over the Interim, you have been to the inn to dinners and with the biking group
You were with me when I felt
Tired happy and angry
Now you are on my feet
You told me I had a great trip I am exhausted
I would say I know right thank you for the great trip

Julian Laing (in red), Derek Clark, Jade Hall, and Emilie Alpert stopped for a scenic pause at Profile Falls Bristol, N.H. In his ode, Julian imagined his shoes would say “Let’s go, it’s time to biking,” to which Julian would reply, “No, I’m tired.”

William Barry, admiring the view at Profile Falls in Bristol, N.H., wrote that he imagines his shoes would tell him he had a great trip and that he would reply, “I know, right? Thank you for the great trip!”

The group struck a triumphant pose when they reached the Franklin Dam in Franklin, N.H.


See more photos from the Biking Inn to Inn experience here.


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