Nfld. & Labrador

This St. John's musician couldn't tour Atlantic Canada by car — so he did it by bike instead

Adrian House began his tour across Atlantic Canada in St. John's and headed west, riding his bike and playing concerts through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Adrian House hopes to tour by bicycle again in the spring

St. John's musician Adrian House toured Atlantic Canada on a bicycle, playing 10 shows across Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. (Cec Haire/CBC)

When St. John's musician Adrian House released his latest album last year, he was trying to find a way to tour the album in 2020. Fuelled by a global pandemic and lacking a car to get around, House said he decided to go with what he had.

"For the past three years I haven't owned a car, so a bicycle is the way I get around the city," House said Friday.

"I figured, 'Well, I don't have a car, so if I want to do a tour, maybe I can try doing it on my bike.'"

House decided to research if touring by bike could be done and saw others had been successful.

After some time for preparation — including gathering the accessories and waterproof clothing needed — House played his opening show in St. John's and headed west.

"You want to be as light as possible," he said. "I geared it all up. I got a special pannier [bag] for my guitar, and managed to get everything on my bike and off I went."

House made his way across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick after getting off the ferry in Sydney, with stops in Prince Edward Island. (Adrian House/Facebook)

House played 10 shows across Atlantic Canada after arriving in Sydney, N.S., biking across Nova Scotia and into New Brunswick. He reached Prince Edward Island across the Confederation Bridge, took a ferry back to Nova Scotia and finally travelled home to Newfoundland by bus.

He said there were some challenges beyond just doing a tour by bicycle, as only about half of his shows were confirmed by the time his journey began because of COVID-19.

"I told people I had three jobs on this trip," House said. "One of them was just riding my bike every day. The other one was organizing shows and promoting myself … then my third job was playing music. It was quite a bit of things to juggle, but I did manage to get a rhythm at it eventually."

He also had to carefully plan his bike rides, often saving longer ones for days when he wasn't performing.

House said he spent most nights sleeping in a tent, except for nights before a performance where he would try to find a bed to sleep in with a friend or in a motel.

Watch more of Adrian's story on Friday's episode of CBC Here and Now (Story begins 11:14):

Looking back on his tour, House said he will most remember the experience of cycling the rural roads of Atlantic Canada.

"All the fall colours, there was moments that I was just really overcome by the beauty of nature around me," he said.

"To be able to do it on a bicycle and not in a car, it's such a different experience. You're in the fresh air getting exercise, your body feels good, most of the time. That was definitely a real highlight."

He said the reaction from the public was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that he hopes to do another bicycle tour in the spring.

"It was just so nice, and I had many of those moments along the way," he said. 

"Just people being so generous and accommodating, it was quite humbling and heartwarming to get that kind of support and generosity along the way. I think Maritimers in general and Atlantic Canadians are just hospitable, generous people."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cec Haire