In case you were psyched on the Ben Sollee bike tour like we were, it appears that things got a little scary for the crew and they’ve decided to cancel all the remaining dates out of safety concerns. Bummer.
After completing over 200 miles of the Ditch the Van Tour 2011, Ben Sollee’s fourth tour by bicycle, Sollee and the band have decided to cancel their remaining performances. This affects Sollee’s scheduled performances at The A&M Theater in Panama City, Fla. on November 5th, and Mockingbird Cafe in Tallahassee, Fla. on November 7th. Sollee will still be making his appearance at Orlando Calling Fest in Orlando, Fla. on November 13th.
“I wished 2011’s Ditch the Van tour by bicycle to be reviving, not death defying” says Sollee. “Regrettably, due to lack of transportation infrastructure and the unsafe driving habits of many Gulf Coast drivers, I have to cancel the remaining portion of this tour.”
While the spirit of the Ditch the Van tour, and the philosophy of community empowerment therein, is deeply important to Sollee, the safety of the musicians and crew are paramount. It is our hope that these concerns and cancellations can open up dialogue about how to make our communities friendlier not only for cyclists, but pedestrians, motorcyclists, and motorists.
“As I have previously stated, we don’t do these tours to save the world. We don’t tour by bicycle because it is “green” or sustainable. We tour by bicycle because of the joy it brings and the opportunity to see communities from the perspective of the saddle. If the joy is overcome by an overwhelming sense of danger, I know it’s time to make some changes.”
He did manage to play at Preservation Hall in New Orleans along the way so he was definitely able to share some of his gospel with the world, but still a bummer that his ambition got the best of him and his team and they were putting themselves in danger. I can’t say this ever sounded like a safe way to try and tour, but kudos to Sollee for managing it close to the vest.