Bike Tours- The Next Big Thing?

Recently, some of my artist-friends, Arthur Alligood and Danny Brewer (via Besides Daniel) biked from Tennessee to South Carolina via their bicycles to raise awareness for Compassion. Since then, I’ve been really interested in this idea. I think songwriters, especially, but even bands should incorporate this into at least one tour during their year. Have a cause and get an organization (or group of people) to sponsor your tour. You’re saving gas and getting in Lance Armstrong-ish type of shape while doing so. Seems like a winner to me.

I’ve been keeping up with this blog, “Ditch The Van.” Jeffrey over at Crash Avenue sent me this little tid-bit from Ben Sollee about his “Ditch The Van” tour:

“We’ve had such a warm response to the bike tour. Friends and fans have opened up their venues and homes to us. We’ve meet and will continue to meet local heroes, creative minds, and bicycle friendly folks. Some of those folks have asked some questions about exactly how we’re tying together legs of this tour and I wanted to take a sec to explain what we’re up to.

This tour is not about going “green,” even though it will have a smaller over all carbon footprint than a more traditional tour by van. Instead, its about re-humanizing the pace of the road. The bicycles provide the limitation on a local level. However, we have to be real. I have a family and we all have bills to pay so we can’t afford for this tour to be a musical vacation by bicycle. And, it’s important to us to demonstrate that biking to our business can be financially sustainable. We want biking to be a compelling choice to other businesses and artists. So, through some trial and error we’ve discovered a few things.

We have to pedal through regions that have a high density of vibrant communities. Areas like the West Coast and New England that are packed with places to perform every fifty or sixty miles. Every now and then, we have to utilize other modes of transportation to connect to dots. However pretty the ride might be (we’ll miss you Big Sur) we can’t afford to spend three days without a show. For this tour, we’re incorporating a few trains.

For example, we’re performing in Santa Barbara on Tuesday and then taking a train to Salinas. The 200 mile ride had no potential shows and would have taken about 2 and a half days with all our gear in tow. With the train we can keep a show that next day. If we didn’t do this we’d be treading water and, like I said, we can’t afford to do that any more than any other business.  Don’t get us wrong, we’d love to bike across the country sometime, but it probably won’t be a music tour in that case.

See ya on the road.”

-Ben Sollee

Ditch the Van Bike Tour – Chapter 1 from marty benson on Vimeo.