Monday morning in the office, this alone could be a good reason to be dreaming of being somewhere different than behind a desk looking at the computer screen. The unread email messages are staring at me and I am wondering how that is even possible, my day at the office has literally just started. Outside is a perfect sunny day, I am thinking that being on a bike right now would be brilliant. The opportunity appears out of thin air. The phone screen says “message from Jordan”:
“On our way, get yourself ready mate!”
I suddenly remember having a conversation with him and scheduling a gravel ride today at 3pm.
Jordan is Lighting Designer and Davide is a Musician/Producer/DJ. Jordan and Davide are two of the people behind the “Bike and Sounds” project, they both work in the live entertainment industry. That same industry that has been completely silenced by the global pandemic. This is the reason why these guys have decided to organize a Bike Tour. A journey from Milan to Rome. 10 stages, passing through all the live music places that have been hit hard by the new social distancing rules. The original plan for this to happen was March 2021, but unfortunately the COVID-19 situation did not allow it.
People working in this industry often face issues that need to be addressed quickly. Issues that need creative problem-solving skills. Travel bans in Italy have become a massive issue for the tour schedule, which is the reason why the organization has decided to push it back to May, when hopefully, social restrictions should be lifted. In the meanwhile, on March 20th, they have set up a social challenge. #PinkNoiseChallenge.
The goal is to support Telefono Rosa – an Italian Organization that deals with domestic violence and gender abuse since 1988. The challenge consists of cycling 10.000km in 30 days. Anyone can be part of it. It only requires getting on a bike and tracking the ride on Komoot, tagging the BikeaAndSounds account. At the end of the ride donate 0,10€ for every km on the Bike and Sounds GoFundMe account to support Telefono Rosa. Share the ride and pictures using the hashtag #PinkNoiseChallenge. As of today, Bike and Sounds have collectively cycled more almost 3000km! They need your help to make noise again.
The ride interview
CARLO: Jordan and Davide are here; we are getting ready for the ride and I want to know more about their project. Just being curious, you know! Jordan, can you tell us a bit more?
Jordan: “This journey will be accomplished by friends who love cycling and work in the same industry – Live Music Show Business. We are those people hidden behind the scenes, making sure that everything goes smoothly during a live show. We work together to deliver the best possible experience for the audience. We get at the venues early in the morning, we put a lot of effort to set everything up correctly, we make the shows happen, we pack all the equipment down and we leave the venues late at night.
Headed to the next show. Pretty much like on a bike-packing trip. Many different professionals work on a live show: Production Managers, Tour Managers, Account Managers, Lighting Designers, Stage Managers, Riggers, FOH Engineers, Monitor Engineers, Backliners, Musicians etc. All these professionals will be cycling together on the Bike and Sounds Tour.
CARLO: That sounds great! This is basically a music tour, but traveling by bike, unfortunately there won’t be any music, right? What exactly is your goal?
JORDAN: You are right, Carlo. Our industry has been silenced by the global pandemic. We have the energy and the adrenaline stored up in the past 13 months. We are willing to release them to give support to those who are not able to speak for themselves, living in a state of long-lasting emergency. Sometimes is too easy to just sit down and overthink problems rather than being proactive, finding solutions. This is why we want to top-up good vibes and put the spotlight on those who work behind the scenes of live shows. At the end of the day when I think of a live show, I imagine people enjoying themselves. Good vibes. During the trip we will be cycling together as a single group to live venues, lighting video and audio companies, theatres, places that are key for the live music industry. We want to show people who we are.
CARLO: Brilliant! May I ask you something Jordan? Before being a cyclist, you used to live and work on the road. Are you missing being on tour? Can you share some good stories with us?
JORDAN: I am missing touring so much. I have always been into tour-packing which is pretty much what cyclists do with bike-packing. My personal goal has always been to pack my bags in a clever way to spend the minimum amount of time during airport security checks. There were times when I was carrying 3 laptops and 2 tablets with all the accessories and managing to take out every single bit and repack it in less than a minute. Weirdly enough I am missing all the long waiting hours in airports lounges. I consider those some sort of a forced personal “quality time”, only interrupted by the Gate Announcement. It can be anywhere Singapore, Los Angeles, Sidney or Bogota.
For some unknown reason I am missing the jetlag too. It made me do the most incredible things. A few years ago, for instance, I was touring in Japan and I “remember” falling asleep while doing the lights for the band playing on stage in between songs. What a shame! Another time I was in Los Angeles and because of the jetlag I woke up at 3am and went running. I took a route through the heart of Runyon Canyon and after 15km, when the sun was rising, I realized I was on Mullholland Drive and I am a massive fan of the David Lynch’s movies.
Normally, when on tour, we travel on a Tour Bus. We fall asleep in a city and wake up in a new one. We used to say, “what goes on the bus stays on the bus”. A tour leg could last 8 to 10 weeks, which depending on the schedule, makes us spend an average of 45 days on the bus with 10 other people and it can be tough sometimes. Every morning, though, on a show day I get out of my bunk, make myself a coffee and enter the venue. One thing is certain: that night the show needs to happen. That is a given.
I miss the endless FIFA Tournaments on the Play Station in the bus back lounge.
I miss (not really) the driver coming upstairs and asking us to get out for Border Passport Control.
I miss the long conversations about what went right or wrong during the show.
I miss the 24 hours transfers across Europe sitting in the back lounge and watching entire Tv Shows seasons with people from 5 different nationalities.
I miss all the people I met and on day one it seemed like we had nothing in common, but after years we are still in touch on regular basis. I got married to one of them.
CARLO: Looks like the guys are enjoying the route I planned for us on Komoot. Now I want to know more about Davide and how the Bike and Sounds project started.
DAVIDE: One day a friend of mine, who knows Jordan and that I love cycling, told me I needed to meet Jordan as he was coming up with something. A charity trip that potentially I would be interested in. We met for a coffee and that is how it started.
As I always mention, I am really impressed by the passion and the positive vibes that I receive every time I talk about the project itself with the people involved. It is clear how much those people love their jobs and teamworking. They are genuinely struggling to stay in one place. Restless spirits.
Bike and Sounds is a collective project. There will not be a winner but people moving together towards a target which is what usually happens in a band too. A collective effort to produce something beautiful for others to enjoy.
The nature of our job forces us to think quickly, make decisions rapidly, be in a different place every day. Our income has been affected dramatically by the pandemic, and this is a fact, but the real challenge for all of us is to live without live shows. We just cannot get used to it. Bike and Sounds is pushing us to stay strong and active, to show people who we are. We are never going to give up doing what we love. As a musician I find Bike and Sounds really stimulating for my personal projects too. It is a great opportunity to share ideas with other people. A few days ago, a question crossed my mind: “How can we write music if we are not living?” Music, for me, comes with inputs generated from the outside. If those inputs are not there, it gets hard for me to find stories to tell. I need to go back to images from my past, or in the best-case scenario, look at my dreams. In the past year I managed to explore all these alternative ways of producing music, but now I need to go somewhere else.
To be honest I am not even that fit, I have never been that much into sports. This whole trip will be a great challenge for me. Maybe I won’t even make it. Maybe during day three my legs will hurt so bad that I might need to go back home. Either way, I have to try because at the end of the day emotions are the sense of life.