Originally Posted by John Whitworth
In what way is the bicycle/icicle rhyme particularly contrived? The messenger HAD a bicycle and 'cold as an icicle' is not a particularly unusual turn of phrase. I like the poem and I think the ruined version does indeed point, as Lance said, to the felicitous phrasing. I can imagine someone teaching a class of sixteen-year-olds (good ones I mean) using just such a tool.
It seems contrived because:
Q: Number of times I've heard someone say, "cold as ice."
Q: Number of times I've heard someone say, "cold as an (any) icicle"
Of course the messenger had a bicycle. JCR needed that for the 'icicle' rhyme.
(Just kidding, I don't really care one way or the other.)