Farewell Nova Scotia: The Ballad of the BikesThere's something about 27 hours on a train that can warp your sense of time a little bit.... And so, even though it's only been a few days since we were on the east coast, it feels like much much more. And as happy as I am to be back in Ontario, today I miss the breeze coming off the ocean and the lack of humidity (Seriously this humidity might have us missing the Nova Scotian hills in a hurry). Last night we officially kicked off the Ontario leg of our tour with a show in Bracebridge. So if you're anywhere in Ontario check out the TOUR SCHEDULE and book those TICKETS But before we completely move on I'd like to take a moment to toast the glory that is the east coast. This summer was my first trip to this part of Canada, I'd heard so many things, and it sure didn't disappoint. There are some of those things that came as no surprise: gorgeous ocean and country. But the thing I think we'll all remember is the incredible people we've crossed paths with over the last few months. I'd love to go through you all, but I'm sure to forget too many.... So instead a short (but epic) ballad to remember our time in Nova Scotia.
The Ballad of the Bikes
Come gather round and I'll tell you a tale of 8 bikes, a few bells and a cello Who traveled o'er hills of the fair Nova Scotia Dispensing a new kind of bellow.
Not the kind that'd been heard through vale and through glen play'd on fiddle and boron and pipe But the voice of New Opera, Canadian and strong now rang clear In the still of the night.
We had some tough days, and they cost a few knees, but our smiles withstood every blow And no matter the rain, dehydration or hills, it was always "on with the show"
And they came, oh they came, the warmest of folks to hear all the stories we wove And they clapped and they laughed and shed a few tears. And then it was back on the road
We've been a few places, with opera and bikes and have always been glad that we came But to leave the east coast, with it's beauty and friends... That hardship is hard to explain.
But we'll never forget the folks that we met, o'er oat cakes, and dancing and beer. There's nothing to say that will quite say enough... Except... "Hope to see you next year" 😉
Ontario tour: dates and tickets!Well, our Nova Scotia tour has come to a close, and we write to you now from the train as we enjoy the beautiful, scenic, very Canadian experience traveling from Halifax to Toronto.
27 hours of intermittent wifi is the perfect opportunity to catch up on our work, and we are FINALLY able to announce the dates and locations for the next phrase of our journy... ONTARIO! (That's right, we didn't forget about you.) Our 2015 touring production, shadow box, had a tremendously successful launch out east. Met with praise across Nova Scotia from opera veterans and newbies alike, shadow box is now coming to Ontario and we are so excited to show you what we've been up to. Tickets are now available and in limited supply: book yours today!!
ONTARIO August 17 - September 6
Ups and Downs, and another 200 kmIf I was a glass half empty kind of guy I would tell you a harrowing tale about our last few days. A tale of detours, hills, bad roads and another knee injury… But you know what? I’m more of a silver linings guy, and now that we’re all settled safely into our beds in Truro I can tell you that glass is so much more than half full. Seriously… we’re biking beside this…. Over the last 4 days we’ve done 2 shows, and biked over 200 kms across Nova Scotia. I don’t wanna oversell it… but we’re kind of killing it over here. But because there have been a few rough moments to go with a huge helping of awesome… we’re going to play a game I used to play this in high school called 'Lemons and Lilies". We gave out ‘lilies’ to the things that we liked, and ‘lemons’ to the things that weren’t great. EXAMPLE:
- A lily to Sonja because she bought road pie
- A lemon to Geoff because he made me play a game called ‘one gear’ (in which we pick one gear that we have to stick to for the whole day) and I chose poorly.
Day 1: Momma said there would be days like this....
Day one was always going to be a challenge. We had just finished up doing 6 shows in 7 days, including launching shadowbox to an awesome audience in Baddeck.
We were tired, and the prospect of biking 90 kilometres on the first day… on Cape Breton hills seemed like… a lot.
As a "veteran" of bike opera I was nervous for what I knew was coming. The hills, the length, my complete lack of conditioning.
The 'newbies' had different fears. Will I keep up? Will I be able to do it?
Well... some days go exactly as you think they will… whether that's a good or a bad thing...
And some days… are just crazy banana pants (#technicalterm)
The Veteran Story….
It all started off as we remembered it, packing the trailers… getting on the road. It felt comfortable… familiar. Bell signals and hills alike. Our fearless leaders: Larissa, smiling her huge “I love bike opera” smile, and Geoff, the workhorse, saddling up his clearly overloaded trailer without complaint.
Until about 25 kilometres in…
A spoke doesn’t seem like a big deal. But when it breaks… it’s not the best. It was my spoke that started the events that sent the day into crazy town.
We had prepared for the possibility, but of course it was a spoke in the wrong position and we didn’t have just the right tool for the job (crazy specific bike tools). So we were left on the side of the road with 7 and a half bikes… and 8 people.
Fact: You can't ride half a bike
Luckily this started a trend of amazing people stepping in to save the day.
The first heroes were Petra and _______ who scooped me, and my bike up and drove me into the next town. There we all met up to ponder the next move.
I won’t bore you with the endless details of my story, but within the day I was shuttled 100s of kilometres in three different stranger’s cars. Met some of the most generous, kind people I have had the pleasure of interacting with (and one beautiful Husky). I bought a new bike wheel (apparently one spoke wasn’t the problem), and chalked the day up to one of the luckiest unlucky days of my life.
Meanwhile back with the group things were getting more topsy turvy.
Spokes are important, but knees are way more important.
Now, it’s tough to explain how incredible Geoff’s tolerance for pain is… but just know that it’s very high, but at one point (allegedly: remember… I was 60 km away meeting my new Husky friend) he was biking with only one leg, the other crossed over his crossbar up a hill.
Picking up the slack was the rest of the veteran team. Larissa and Wes who hauled trailers… and STEPH!!!! Who rocked out a trailer for the FIRST TIME and totally killed it up some particularly nasty hills.
The Newbie Story
I remember being a newbie. I had done no cycle touring before Bike Opera last year…
I was worried about whether I’d keep up, or even be able to do it at all.
Well… if our newbies were worried about those things they sure put it all to rest. Not only did they “keep up”…. They freaking killed it. Our newbies led the pack, charging up hills and leaving the rest of us behind.
They went 90 kms on their FIRST DAY OF TOURING… with some crazy hills.
So…. We had some bad luck today… but it wasn’t a bad day.
It’s a testament to community that even when things get turned on their heads, people step up… both the folks in our Bike family… and the people that we'd never met before (welcome to the Bike Family).
People are pretty awesome.
So, if you’re an awesome person and you find yourself near Port Hawksbury, come to our show tomorrow night at 7. I think if anything is clear after today it’s that we will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to put on this show for you.