Ten years ago, I bicycled across Canada for my first music tour performing my own music under my name, Rich Aucoin. The Coast, which I had been delivering just prior to this trek, was kind enough to give me an outlet to blog about my adventures. Well, now we’re doing it again, if you want to come along.
That first run was while I was touring my first EP, Personal Publication. I biked on that tour raising money for The Childhood Cancer Foundation. I played solo alongside a projection of Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas on borrowed bedsheets and wore a Grinch costume. I also got a cease-and-desist from Dr. Seuss Enterprises LP, who were kind enough to tell me in rhyme to refrain from posting my music synced to their film on my Myspace.
A decade later, I’m cycling again for charity—this time The Canadian Mental Health Association—and performing a collective sing-a-long dance show, again on borrowed bedsheets to save room in my bags which still weigh over 100 pounds (have the parachute of course!). I had to forgo the projector, hoping to procure one in each city I perform in or having one brought in by a bandmate. In the way that the show has evolved to a collective: I was hoping this second coast to coast bike tour would become somewhat of a group effort, like a three-month version of that running montage scene from Forrest Gump. But it’s still just me and it’s still a long way to the top, if you wanna rock n roll.
Leaving LA, like Father John Misty, took a few days to escape the urban sprawl. It was a difficult time, perhaps not as difficult as Snake Plissken’s, but it was hot. I had not trained as I hadn’t had to before and was too busy touring the new EP, Hold, back home (that Seahorse show was rly fun btw). Also the traffic really liked to be close to the bike on the non-shoulder roads entering the foothills.
I didn’t have a cell phone the first time I did the bike, since then the invention of the smartphone has been pretty sweet for no longer needing to stop for new maps and directions; not to mention Google Maps bike routes which work most of the time—except for when you have to go down decommissioned post-apocalyptic-looking roads to enter somewhere as fancy as Palm Springs to avoid the freeway.
Once in the real desert, I passed the Salton Sea, the decrepit remains of the forgotten resort at Bombay Beach, the plaster maximal Salvation Mountain, the pure sand of the Imperial Dunes, the rolling hills along the Colorado River.
Entering into Arizona, I had to embrace the fact that there will be freeway riding on this journey. Most cars give cyclists space and understand your repositioning in the shoulder (or sometimes non-shoulder) when sharing the freeway, but some either do not notice or care and will breeze by you at such a speed that your speedometer increases in miles per hour from the force of their draft wind. You can practically tag the side of a semi sometimes.
I’ve now climbed up into the mountains and am at this amazing place called Arcosanti: An “urban laboratory” and/or the only real-world prototype to Paolo Soleri’s architectural reaction to the problem of urban sprawl. An urban compound which incorporates and minimizes the destruction its natural environment and promotes community. The end result is this beautiful isolated artistic community of around 100 people living in what looks like a 1970s brutalist utopian vision of the future.
I’ll make a new post every Monday for The Coast for the next few months if you want to follow along for this journey. One hundred percent of the tour proceeds are going to The Canadian Mental Health Association and you can also pledge in addition to that here if you wish.
Here are the remaining shows if you happen to be in the US or know someone who might want to see the show:
04.26 - Amarillo, TX - The 806
05.03 - Oklahoma City, OK - The Root
05.04 - Norman, OK - Opolis
05.16 - Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone
05.24 - Nashville, TN - The East Room
05.31 - Knoxville, TN - The Birdhouse
06.20 - Washington, DC - DC9
06.23 - Baltimore, MD - The Crown
06.26 - Philadelphia, PA - PhilaMoca
06.29 - Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory
And you can hear my latest EP, Hold, here.