Adrian House cycling the Atlantic bubble on his ‘Pedal Power Tour’
Standing at the edge of Lake Munro in Nova Scotia, the reception was good enough for Adrian House to take a phone call before jumping back on his bicycle and heading toward Digby, to get the ferry across the Bay of Fundy to New Brunswick.
“I camped out here last night,” he said. “I was on the South Shore yesterday near Lunenburg. ... It’s so nice down there.”
The St. John’s based singer-songwriter is on a tour of the Atlantic bubble. But there’s no van packed to the roof with amps, guitars and a drum kit. It’s just House and his bike, with an acoustic guitar strapped on tight.
“I got rid of my car a couple years ago, so I’ve just been living with a bike as my main mode of transport. It’s really opened up the possibilities of cycling and what you can do on a bike. I got to thinking about touring and how it’s always in a van and in a car, burning lots of gas.” — Adrian House
“I got rid of my car a couple years ago, so I’ve just been living with a bike as my main mode of transport,” he said.
It's also part of his employment; he’s been working as a cycling guide for five years.
“It’s really opened up the possibilities of cycling and what you can do on a bike,” he said. “I got to thinking about touring and how it’s always in a van and in a car, burning lots of gas.”
He began researching and soon discovered, while he wouldn’t be the first, there really weren’t many people doing two-wheel tours.
“(But) I said to myself, if these people can do it, I can do it, and so I started to prepare for it,” he said. “And here I am.”
Last winter, House started getting his bike ready and planning his route for the tour which was originally set for June.
“Of course, when (the COVID-19 pandemic) hit, I had to cancel the tour,” he said. “But after some thought, I decided I would just go ahead and rebook it for the fall, and I’m super glad I did.”
Getting definite answers from venues about booking gigs was difficult, he said.
“I think I only had my first confirmation about two weeks before I left,” he said. “So, it was definitely uncertain. I just told myself whether or not I get a bunch of shows, I’m still going to do this ride around the Maritimes.”
He did manage to nail down some bookings, and they’ve been going well, he said.
Drew Moores of Mahone Bay is a singer and guitar player in the band Caribou Run. Normally, a six-piece folk-rock group, it was stripped down to three musicians and played an intimate show with House at the residence of a mutual friend.
“He did play a song my dog really liked,” Moores said of House’s performance. “I can’t remember the name of the song but … he howls and barks and it really got my dog excited. He’s a player even for animals. You don’t have to be a human being to enjoy his music.”
Though some of the members of Caribou Run live in different cities across Canada, they’ve never travelled to gigs as House is doing now.
“He’s a brave guy,” Said Moores. “I didn’t know exactly how it was going to work, but he made it to the gig.”
He had only spoken to House once prior to their meeting. That was when House asked if he could borrow a guitar because the headstock of his had broken off.
“I’m proving to people you can do pretty much anything without a car. You can go on a music tour on a bike. It’s not the hardest thing in the world.” — Adrian House
“At first I (thought) 'Oh, no, I hope he didn’t go into a ditch with his bike, or get hit by a car'” said Moores. “(But) I guess it just kind of broke on its own."
Moores said there are few people who would endeavor to do what House is doing. But for House, it makes perfect sense.
“There’s just something about being on bicycles, it’s a fun thing, it makes you feel like a kid,” he said. “That feeling when you’re a kid and you’re just coasting down the road on your bike and how liberating that feels. You can still get that when you’re a grown-up.”
Showing people you can still have fun as an adult is part of the tour as well, he says. And that doesn’t always require a vehicle.
“I’m proving to people you can do pretty much anything without a car,” House said. “You can go on a music tour on a bike. It’s not the hardest thing in the world.”