Musicians have an inexplicable obsession with cycling and bicycles that may never be understood. Let us honour the musicians who celebrate life on two wheels.
Before Motorhead, Lemmy sang about bicycles with psychedelic-rockers, Hawkwind. The lyrics were based on Alfred Jarry’s essay about a time-machine, which lyricist Robert Calvert took to be a euphemism about bicycles. It brings a whole new meaning to being spun-out…
Hawkwind aren’t the only psychedelic pioneers to become transfixed by the allure of turning cogs and Syd Barrett’s tribute to his trusty bicycle appears on Pink Floyd’s debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Like all musicians, Barrett is practically minded and appreciates the different people you can meet when travelling on two wheels.
Apart from designing gloriously impractical bike racks for New York City, the Talking Heads frontman wrote a book about his travels with bicycles – and his relationship with them. As a musician, Byrne embraced tangents and his left turn into cycle advocacy seems to be his latest.
Despite his involvement in a serious crash in New York’s Central Park, Bono’s love for cycling wasn’t diminished and it wasn’t long before he was doing what he did best – raising money and awareness for a charity he was passionate about.
You’re probably thinking this article is getting a bit weird – just what is it about musicians and bicycles? Some of us debate whether it’s safe to ride a bicycle with headphones in and Mr Gabriel is flaunting the most basic health and safety advice by performing songs whilst riding a bike.
You may be forgiven for thinking there is a conspiracy between the UCI and the music industry, especially when you think that Kraftwerk released the Tour de France song in 1983. They only slightly missed the album re-release for the 100th edition for Le Tour but that didn’t stop Le Tour coming to Kraftwerk’s hometown of Dusseldorf in 2017, where Kraftwerk played Le Grand Depart.