On October 18, 2007 rock bands The Ginger Ninjas and Shake Your Peace set out on the "Pleasant Revolution Bicycle Music Tour," riding over 5000 miles and playing over 90 pedal-powered shows from the foothills of the Sierras in North San Juan, California, to the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico.
There are no sag-wagons, and no buses hauling their gear: everything including the 800 Watt human-powered PA System is being hauled entirely on bicycle. All the gear being carried on Xtracycle sport utility bicycles (SUBs)
The bands will be joined along the way by "The Caravan" – a fluctuating group of bicycle and music enthusiasts made up of friends, fans, and the general public. "Everyone," say the bands, "is invited to come along!"
The term "Pleasant Revolution" was coined by Ginger Ninjas guitarist Kipchoge Spencer to describe the sense of joy, as opposed to sacrifice and loss, people find when they start living a more sustainable life.
“Our way of life threatens our way of life," says Spencer, bay area bike culture hero, and co-originator of the Xtracycle Sport Utility Bicycle. “As people resonate with that point and start to contemplate giving up their cars and forsaking a lot of other conveniences they're accustomed to, on the surface it could seem like they're sacrificing and losing a lot.
But the Pleasant Revolution is about realizing that by losing this stuff, we gain a life that's way more rich, humane, and happy. Anybody who stops driving and starts biking feels that. Biking doesn't feel like losing a car, it feels like you're getting your life back! The message of the Pleasant Revolution isn't: ‘sacrifice til it hurts,’ it's more: ‘drop the excess, and have the time of your life.’”
I only wish I had found out about this tour earlier, because as I write this the tour is already in San Diego and about to cross into Mexico. However, if you can’t catch the band this time the Ginger Ninjas are planning another four-month Xtracycle ride from Nevada City, CA to the Mexican Yucatan.
Along the way, the Ginger Ninjas will play spontaneous street corners and scheduled shows in several large venues, and organize a bicycle summit in Mexico City. Their musical odyssey will be the basis of a documentary by Rattle Can Films of Boulder, Colorado.
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