Guitarist taking to road again by bike

Shoreham virtuoso guitarist Richard Durrant is off on a second Cycling Music tour
Shoreham virtuoso guitarist Richard Durrant is off on a second Cycling Music tour

VIRTUOSO guitarist Richard Durrant is hitting the road again for a second cycling concert tour.

Cycling Music Lap 2 starts at the Ropetackle Arts Centre on Friday and travels across the country before returning for a finale at the Shoreham venue on July 3.

Called Bach on a Bicycle, the tour follows last year’s successful 1,500 mile, 36 concert Cycling Music tour.

Richard, who lives on Shoreham Beach, said this year’s route would be even more challenging as he heads for the Isle of Skye on June 13, playing concerts in theatres, arts centres, halls, churches, schools and bicycle workshops along the way.

He will pedal up to 100 miles between gigs, carrying his show equipment on his bicycle and trailer. After each ride, his work begins in earnest with a show featuring Bach’s Chaconne and his own Cycling Music for guitar, sequencers and pre-recorded bicycles, complete with projected animations.

A donation from each show will be made to the Cycling Defence Fund, a charity which defends the rights of cyclists and provides information and advice about all aspects of cycling.

When Marek started building the bike while I was there, he did something I do when I’m starting a recording in the studio. I tidy the place up, polish the woodwork, then I’m ready to begin

Shoreham Beach guitarist Richard Durrant

Richard will be applying the lessons he learned last summer to, hopefully, lessen the hardships this time round. First and foremost is cutting down on the payload by not taking a PA system, relying instead on venues which have their own sound set-up.

“And if it turns out they don’t have any equipment, I will just play Bach on a ukelele,” explained Richard.

“I’m also taking a lighter guitar, a beautiful little Mexican instrument.”

Towards the end of the tour he will be meeting up with the Brighton Youth Orchestra for a concert in the Unitarian Church, to perform passages from Cycling Music. He is one of the group’s musical ambassadors, having himself been a member as a youngster.

Most of the way Richard will be riding alone, though it’s likely some members of Ilkley Cycling Club, who gave him a warm welcome last year, will join him for part of what is likely to be the toughest leg, 100 miles from Leeds to Penrith, over the Pennines.

While in Leeds, he will give a performance at Aurelius Cycles, where earlier this year owner Marek Szczeplek built Richard’s steel-framed steed specially for the tour.

On a two-day visit to the Yorkshire city, Richard tried out several different frames before he and Marek agreed on the one for him, an Aurelius Columbus Zona road bike.

“When Marek started building the bike while I was there, he did something I do when I’m starting a recording in the studio. I tidy the place up, polish the woodwork, then I’m ready to begin,” said Richard.

“He did the same with his workshop, cleaned it up, cleared away the stuff he didn’t want, and then laid out all the parts ready to start work on my bike. I respected him for that.”

Marek will be checking Richard’s bike is in fine fettle for the rest of the tour, as he did on last year’s ride. “It was like watching a violin maker, seeing him recable the bike,” Richard recalled.

He will take the Topeak trailer which served him well last time and, even without the PA, will still be loaded up with lighting kit, mixing desk, laptop computer, stage drapery and so on.