We cycle mainly to get around. Driving around Oxford is pretty stressful so like most people we use cycling to get around town and to and from rehearsals.
If I’m taking a break from songwriting and I haven’t been out all day then I’ll often get on the bike and head out of town. There is a nice path along the River Thames; you can follow the towpath and get out of town to nearby villages and then come back the other side.
I’ve got a tandem which I cycle on with my wife, although we’ve got two babies now so it’s in the garage a lot of the time. My bandmate, John Ouin, has been on the tandem occasionally. He didn’t have a bike for a while because it got stolen, so I gave him a lift into town once.
Part of songwriting is going and playing around with lyrics in my head, more so than melodies, so sometimes I’ll go cycling. It works for certain types of song – you need something that works with the rhythm of cycling. I did it with a song called ‘I Saw You Blink’, but it needs to be a f lat bike ride because if it’s too demanding then I can’t think about the song.
Cycling features in quite a few songs actually, at least in a couple. In the new album there’s references to it in a song called ‘Hook, Line, Sinker’ and I’m sure there’s another one but I can’t think of it at this minute. I suppose just being outdoors and out and about is part of the music.
We went riding together as a band in america when we played a gig in Washington state. We stayed in a hotel on the coast that had some bicycles for hire which were these big beach cruisers. We all took those out and we got that feeling of being in a gang, riding down the streets, like how you feel like when you’re 10 years old and on BMX bikes. But that is definitely the exception, not the rule.
I like the idea of doing a tour on bikes but in reality it’s pretty much impossible: we like instruments too much!
Stornoway will next be playing at The Green Man Festival 15-18 August set in the beautiful black mountains, near Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons.
Featuring ten entertainment areas 1500 performers, 24 hour entertainments, comedy, poetry, literature, art & science, fun for 12 and unders and a separate area just for teens, spas, therapies, hot piping showers, luxury camping areas, local ale and cider, all night bonfires, and locally sourced food over 4 days of festival fun, the award winning Green Man really has got it all.
Tickets are still available, to find out more visit www.greenman.net
This article was first published in the August issue of Cycling Active. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!