Bicycle Bands

Not many things go together as well as music and bicycles. If this is not a fact you already know, then there are plenty of people who will prove it to you.

The St. John’s Bicycle Band was one of the first bands, consisting of an average of 20 young men from the St. John’s, Michigan rea. They rode bicycles instead of marching in parades, even in civil events the band appeared on bicycles all over Michigan from 1886 to 1891. Due to their popularity they were even offered a job in Ringling Brothers’ circus, to be the parade band. The young men had to decline due to their parents that would not agree to the constant travelling it would have involved.

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In 1927 the Nederlandsch Wielrijders Muziekcorps was a Dutch Cycling Music group formed by army conscripts. Armrests were welded to their bicycles so they could play their instruments while riding in formation dressed in Dutch military uniforms.

Since 1973 the Crescendo Cycling Brass Band has been playing pop music while riding on their bicycles. Before they started out as the Cresendo’s they were just a regular marching band from Opende in the Netherlands, by deciding to spice things up, their bicycle routine became instantly popular and they’ve been asked to perform in Japan and all over Europe.

The band called bicycle started years before but in 1995 they decided to take their show on the road across America. Taking the tour by bicycle they stopped over in small towns along the way, which enabled them to meet new fans, plus sell records. They repeated it tours several times, drew more publicity and even got great sponsorships from bike companies. After doing it a few times the finally they were offered a record contract.

But then the band called The Ginger Ninjas came along and took playing music and bicycling a step further by means of bikes as a green energy source for stage power and transportation. Fans had a chance to cycle while the band performed. In 2007, the Ginger Ninjas became the first band in the history of rock and roll to tour by bicycle, completely unsupported by any automobile. On a 5,000 mile journey from Northern California, which was home to them, to the pyramids of southern Mexico, they explored the pedal generated electricity, promote transportation by cycling and used their own bikes to power a hyper-efficient sound system.

When Frank Zappa was 22 years old in 1963, he appeared on the Steve Allen Show a musical bicyclist and used two bicycles as his instruments. Using most of his time entertaining the audience Zappa enlisted asked Allen and the studio band to produce spontaneous noises and poetry for this performance.

A show on Cycology was a one-man show by Linsey Pollack in which he displayed the art of playing the bicycle. Taking on the role of Professor Squealy Deetbum, Pollack demonstrated how a bicule seat could make the same music as a clarinet, cello performed on the gear cable, a handlebar harmonic flute, and several other sounds all performed on bicycle parts. Lindsey Pollack was also a member of a three piece band consisting of Brendan Hook, Pollack and Rick Halstead, in which all of them are playing on bicycle parts.