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

ben sollee bike tour day 3© Kip Pierson

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.

Tags: Bike Accessories | Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Biking | Music


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