The Ditch the Van Tour is an experiment in sustainability and community oriented music touring by bicycle. In this first chapter, film-maker Marty Benson introduces all the characters on the road. See Katie Benson, Jordon Ellis and Ben Sollee weigh in their gear and ride out on the first leg of their 1500+ mile self-supported tour by bike.
“Weve had such a warm response to the bike tour. Friends and fans have opened up their venues and homes to us. Weve meet and will continue to meet local heroes, creative minds, and bicycle friendly folks. Some of those folks have asked some questions about exactly how were tying together legs of this tour and I wanted to take a sec to explain what were up to.
This tour is not about going green, even though it will have a smaller over all carbon footprint than a more traditional tour by van. Instead, its about re-humanizing the pace of the road. The bicycles provide the limitation on a local level. However, we have to be real. I have a family and we all have bills to pay so we cant afford for this tour to be a musical vacation by bicycle. And, its important to us to demonstrate that biking to our business can be financially sustainable. We want biking to be a compelling choice to other businesses and artists. So, through some trial and error weve discovered a few things.
We have to pedal through regions that have a high density of vibrant communities. Areas like the West Coast and New England that are packed with places to perform every fifty or sixty miles. Every now and then, we have to utilize other modes of transportation to connect to dots. However pretty the ride might be (well miss you Big Sur) we cant afford to spend three days without a show. For this tour, were incorporating a few trains.
For example, were performing in Santa Barbara on Tuesday and then taking a train to Salinas. The 200 mile ride had no potential shows and would have taken about 2 and a half days with all our gear in tow. With the train we can keep a show that next day. If we didnt do this wed be treading water and, like I said, we cant afford to do that any more than any other business. Dont get us wrong, wed love to bike across the country sometime, but it probably wont be a music tour in that case.
See ya on the road.” – Ben Sollee
You can follow the tour here. Dates below.