May 9 2010

How to Carry a Guitar on a Bike

Trailer vs. Cargo Bike

When I first had the idea of doing my East Coast tour on bicycle, I looked into bike trailers. I couldn’t imagine any way to fit my guitar and amplifier onto the back of a bike without towing something behind. (not to mention my box of CDs, t-shirts, posters, tent, food, clothing, sleeping bag, stove, etc!)

But towing a trailer would have felt bulky… two wheels of extra friction on the road? And where would I leave the trailer when I wanted to ride around without all of my stuff?

The answer that I settled on: Xtracycle.
Jon Watts and his Xtracycle Radish 09

Carrying a Guitar on a Bike

Me with all my gear loaded on my Xtracycle.

Me with all my gear loaded on my Xtracycle.

So my plan was to ride my bike from Richmond, VA to Boston, MA and play shows in every city on the way. This would be easy if I were simply a wandering minstrel, but I am a professional musician. I booked this tour months and months in advance. I was selling CDs and T-shirts, had banners and posters, kept up with my facebook and twitter followers and released a regular vlog of my travels.

I needed not just my guitar, but an amplifier, a looping pedal, a big box of CDs, t-shirts, postcards and posters, a banner, a digital video camera, my laptop… not to mention all of the stuff I needed to survive on the road.

Check out the video below to see how I managed to fit all of that stuff onto a bicycle for my ride to Boston.

How I Fit My Amplifier, CDs, T-shirts, and Guitar On A Bicycle

Successful Music Tour on a Bike

In the end, I made it to Boston. I didn’t miss a single show (and I even booked a few more along the way!). And I had surprisingly little trouble carrying my guitar and all my gear on the bike.

And – perhaps best of all – I had a lot of fun. I got into shape. I saw and interacted with a whole lot of people and places that I wouldn’t have if I was driving or taking the train. And I loved every minute of it. Here’s more about why I decided to bike this one:

  • See my celebration upon arriving in Boston here
  • Check out this video from my show in Brooklyn
  • My review of the bike I rode to Boston
  • Get more info about this bike and other great practical biking solutions from Cycle 9

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