Musician goes on (bike) tour

With a travel guitar and his gig gear strapped to the side of his cargobike, blues musician Martin Harley is to spend a month cycling to 27 shows, starting in Northern England.

Kicking off in Gateshead on August 20th, Martin Harley will be riding to Cornwall, stopping off at 19 venues en route. His tour ends at the cycle-friendly Eden Project, near St Austell.

Originally planned as a two-man tour – with a support rider carrying some of Hurley’s gear – the 1200-mile route will now be done solo. He will be using Sustrans’ National Cycle Network. Gig venues were booked via Villages in Action and the Rural Touring Circuit. He will be playing the Isle of Wight’s Bestival and at TV’s River Cottage Canteen.

“It’ll be interesting to see if I can complete a full tour of the country with no carbon footprint at all,” said Hurley.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m hoping it will inspire a few more people to get on two wheels to explore this great nation of ours.”

Hurley will be riding a Surly Big Dummy cargobike. This has an integral Xtracycle attachment on the rear, extending the length of the bike and greatly adding to luggage capacity.

He’s promising to recording his experiences on his blog and via a video diary.

Last year, comedian Dave Gorman pedalled to gigs up and down the country, and in America, a number of bands have toured by bike, including the aptly named Bicycle, which bike toured coast to coast from 1995 to 2000. German band, the Ginger Ninjas, travel the world by bike on their on-and-off Pleasant Revolution tour.

Hurley is already in training for his 1200-mile tour: “My training regime is strict. I ride to the pub at least three times a week and I have been doing my weekly food shop on the Big Dummy.”

Surly is an American company and supplied the Big Dummy for use on the tour.

Hurley said: “I liked the idea of having a solid unit as opposed to a regular touring bike towing a trailer full of guitars. It’s taken a bit of getting used to but considering how much longer than a regular bike it is, the handling is not that different and, even with a lot of weight on the back, it’s a smooth and precise ride.”

Tour dates and venues can be found on Hurley’s blog.

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