By James Sandham
Riding a bike is a wonderful thing to do at any time of the year, but never more so than during the warm months of summer. Bike riding and summertime just seem to be made for each other – maybe because they share a lot of the same associations: freedom, easy-goingness, innocence and relaxation.
Just as summer will always be associated with summer vacation in my mind, bike riding will always be associated with the carefree feelings of childhood – and that’s a good thing to hold on to, I think. Plus, when you’re in a sea of sweltering traffic, there’s something undeniably liberating about just being able to cruise on by it or, like here in Toronto, being able to hop down to the lakefront trail and ride home peacefully. So to celebrate summer’s most sublime pastime, here are a few clips and artists singing of the bicycle’s glory.
Mark Ronson and The Business Intl. – “The Bike Song”
Mark Ronson is an English DJ, musician, music producer, artist and the co-founder of Allido Records. He’s also the man behind this song and video. More than just “a” bike song, it’s “the” bike song, a whole cinematic tribute to two-wheeled pedal power and the joyful freedom that comes with carefree cruising. With a plot that centres around some nefarious bike-thievery and the subsequent thwarting of said bike-thievery by autonomously operating bikes, followed by a whole lot of general bike-related awesomeness, it’s pretty much normal life on a bike.
Lily Allen – “LDN”
Here’s another ode to two-wheeled glory from across the pond, courtesy of recording artist, actress and fashion designer Lily Allen. Those Brits really seem to dig their bikes. Consigned to her bike because “the filth took away my licence,” Allen subsequently realizes that bike riding “doesn’t get me down and I feel OK, ’cause the sights that I’m seeing are priceless.” Just one of the many benefits of the bicycle. Ride on, fair Lily.
Robin Thicke – “When I Get You Alone”
The son of Canadian actor, comedian, songwriter, and game and talk show host Alan Thicke, Robin Thicke is an R&B singer-songwriter, musician and composer. His “When I Get You Alone” isn’t about bikes or bike riding per se, but the music video depicts the love song through the story of a very passionate and soulful New York City bicycle courier. Then again, who knows? The love Thicke sings about could very well be the love he feels for riding his bike.
Toronto Bicycle Music Festival featuring “Funeral Song” by Richard Laviolette
Here’s another interesting bike and music-related bit: the Toronto Bicycle Music Festival. It’s a free community event that’s been running for a few years now, sponsored by both the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council. It basically involves a series of outdoor, pedal-powered concerts, which this year will feature Snowblink, Gentleman Reg and Rae Spoon among others. It takes place Saturday, September 15, 2012. For more information check out the Toronto Bicycle Music Festival website or watch the festival’s short film.
Queen – “Bicycle Race”
And to finish things off, how could we not include the one that started them all, bike song of all bike songs: Queen’s original tribute to simple, sustainable transportation. This song says it all. So go forth, music lovers, and ride!