Richard Durrant is a world class performer traveling in excess of 35,000 miles each year with UK tours, forays into Europe and an annual visit to South America. As a concert guitarist he finds it impossible to do anything but cast a vast carbon footprint. But in 2014 it was payback time. Between May 1 and June 21 Richard, the leading guitarist of his generation, got on his bike for a ground-breaking British tour, playing thirty six gigs at venues great and small during a seven-week, 1,500-mile odyssey that attempted to be the last word in eco-friendliness. Cycling up to 85 miles a day, Richard, and co-rider Sean Simington carried an entire stage show on two bicycles. Each performance featured beautiful lighting, video projections and was amplified, but the gear was state of the art, low energy and lightweight. At each show Richard performed his own Cycling Music for guitar, sequencers and bicycle percussion as well as guitar solos from around the world.
The tour set off from Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham by Sea on May 1st and completed its clockwise, circumnavigation of England seven weeks later with a triumphant gig at the same venue. Along the way the duo went as far south as Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, pushed the bikes up Glastonbury Tor, visited countless BBC radio stations where Richard played live and talked about bikes, went as far north as 'Le Tour' country in north Yorkshire and survived night rides, white van drivers and the rigours of the British climate.
Richard was accompanied on the tour by close friend Sean Simington, who lost his partner Shirley to cancer last year. Sean had the guitarist's pledge to donate 20 per cent of the proceeds from the concerts to the Big C drop-in centre for cancer patients in Norfolk and Waveney. In 2013 Sean cycled from Lands End to John O’Groates for the same charity. For the guitar tour Sean offered to carry Richard’s toothbrush, in the event he became Chief Navigation Officer, Manager of all Things and Stage Manager.
TECHNO FILE FOR THE 2014 TOUR
The bike Richard rides is a Giant Escape City 2 with an ALUXX aluminium frame, 24 gears and 700c wheels. The bike tows a Top Peak trailer and has a stronger back wheel with extra spokes to cope with the huge weight of the PA system, full panniers etc. The bike, trailer, cycle lights & helmet cam etc were supplied by the Giant Bike shop in Shoreham by Sea, Sussex run by Rod Lambert who helped Richard plan the technical cycling aspects of the tour and provided support throughout.
For amplification on the 2014 tour, Richard carried two KRK Rokit6 powered speakers supplied by Peter Tyson of Carlisle. Audio mixing for guitar and sequencers used Logic on a Macbook Pro with a Tascam USB audio interface. The same Macbook outputted video sequences for the show using Keynote. These were projected onto Richard's white guitar case using a tiny Acer projector, either balanced on the bike saddle or from the floor depending on the venue.
Show lights in 2014 were operated by Sean using a small (but quite heavy) DMX mixer. Sean carried the entire lighting rig on his bike - three colour changing LED parcans and a selection of cycle lights mounted on Sean's handlebars to spotlight Richard's hands and face.
The look of the show was all about the two, hardworking bikes. They carried all the gear for 1,500 miles and then appeared onstage with Richard each night. Richard was flanked by his Giant Escape and Sean's Norka, both beautifully spotlit and very much part of the concert.
Bicycle and cycling equipment supplied by Giant Shoreham.
Touring PA supplied by Peter Tyson, Carlisle.
Clothing for cycling and performance supplied by Endura - ("Urban" collection).
DESIGN BY MARK CHARLTON
Photography Dawn Jee