As Bike Month continues, the thought of biking just keeps on cycling in our heads (get it?) Today, we’re going to give you the lowdown on a group of bikers best known for their musical ability!
1. David Byrne
This former Talking Heads frontman has a massive passion for music. He even wrote a book that was published in 2012 called How Music Works. What other passion has he written about? Bicycling! Byrne is a huge cycling enthusiast who wrote Bicycle Diaries (published in 2010) about his cycling life. In the book he talks about how bicycling was something he started doing regularly in the early 1980s as a means of getting around New York City. To this day, he still gets around New York this way, and in Bicycle Diaries he chronicles his experiences cycling in cities around the world, from Buenos Aires to Berlin. He also chronicles his interactions with people he met along the way and shares his thoughts on art, music, globalization, and how many cities are becoming more bike-friendly.
2. Neil Peart
Neil Peart is a drum legend in the rock world. Having drummed for Canadian rock gods Rush since 1974, Peart is well known for being a highly technical drummer with insane endurance who also plays an insane drum kit with infinite components. What may not be as well known is that Peart is a huge cycling enthusiast who, like David Byrne, has also written about his experiences on two wheels. In his 1996 book The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa, Peart details his month-long bicycle tour in Cameroon in 1988, where he and four fellow cyclists passed through villages and towns and interacted with many different people along the way.
3. Ralf Hutter
While the name Ralf Hutter may not ring a bell initially, the band he co-founded probably will: Kraftwerk. The influential German legends are well-known for songs like “Pocket Calculator” and “The Robots”, as well as their stage shows where they mimic mechanical automatons and their music videos where they appear as straight-up robots. Hutter has been a cycling enthusiast since the 1970s, and he has even said many of his compositions are inspired by cycling. It is documented that on many of their tours all four members of Kraftwerk would get off their tour bus hours outside of whatever city they were playing in and cycle the rest of the way in.
In the early 80s Hutter almost got into a fatal bicycling accident where he fractured his skull. After being saved in surgery, he resumed his passion as soon as he was physically able and began work on what would ultimately become the 2003 Kraftwerk release Tour de France Soundtracks. Hutter and Kraftwerk continue to tour, and Hutter is still an outspoken cycling enthusiast.
4/5. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein
Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein may be better known to some as comedic actors these days, but both began their careers as musicians, and still play in bands. Cycling is featured heavily to comedic effect on Portlandia, as it is a popular mode of transportation in the Oregon city. One of Armisen’s popular recurring characters is Spike the angry bike messenger. Portland resident Brownstein has even talked about in interviews how she uses a bike as a primary mode of transportation.
Recently Brownstein and Armisen even joined Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s congressional bike caucus!
6/7. The Ditty Bops (Amanda Barrett and Abby Dewald)