Musician Ben Sollee and Band Touring by Bike: Beautiful Limitations

Guest blogger and musician Ben Sollee is contributing a series of articles from the road about his Ditch the Van tour. He's traveling by bike, unsupported, throughout New England.

Beautiful Limitations

When people hear about our bike tours, they often interpret the effort as “car-free” or “green” touring. While it’s true that touring by bicycle has a lighter impact on the environment, it’s not THE reason we climb on our saddles.

The bicycle, especially loaded down with gear, offers a beautiful limitation: one can only pedal as fast and far as the body will allow. As a touring musician, me and most others book on shows on availability. That means we go play the shows for the best money in a certain block of time. And I found myself falling in to the conventional pattern of flying across the country and driving through the night multiple times a week. I was spending all my time between places rather than in them and doing so at a super-human pace.

Day 3: Marshfield, MA to Boston, MA (17 Miles, Including Hingham Ferry, BCU 7-Mile Group Ride)

So, when I saw a commercial on Current TV for an Xtracycle utility bike I was inspired to put my cello on it.

I use the limitations the bicycle offers to connect and engage with the communities I perform in. When one takes the time to pedal in to town, the community responds with in-kind energy. Whether it be organizing a lovely group ride through town like the Boston Cyclists Union did today or just a quick, cool shower. As we ride from town to town we keep lacing together these one-to-one connections to create a strong network of fans and supporters.

It’s an intentionally slow, but rewarding business model that we’ve been developing over the last three years.

Follow the whole series here.

Musician Ben Sollee and Band Touring by Bike: Beautiful Limitations
Limited by the speed and route of a bike, Ben Sollee and his band are able to connect and engage in the communities they perform in.

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