Steel Wheels pedal their way to 10 shows in 3 states
Quartet's tour raises awareness for nonprofit that teaches people with disabilitiesBy Sheldon C. Good Mennonite Weekly Review
The Steel Wheels isn’t the first band to literally make their music mobile, but the Americana quartet attests that cycling gives new meaning to the idea of touring.
The four-member band and its three-member support crew used pedal power to commute to 10 shows across three states Aug. 4-14. They towed everything the band needed to perform.
It was the third annual Spokesongs Tour for Trent Wagler of Harrisonburg, Va., lead vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for The Steel Wheels.
“You really start to understand why water-proof zippers cost more,” said Wagler. He admitted using “big industrial trash bags” to store his equipment on a 2009 tour.
Beginning in Ann Arbor, Mich., the group cycled across the state and into Illinois and Indiana, ending with a celebration concert in Goshen, Ind. Shows drew 50-250 audience members, according to the band.
“We’re all about doing things simply and differently both in our music and in how we think about our work as professional musicians,” Wagler said in a news release.
“Spokesongs is a way for us to do a band tour differently, since we’re essentially commuting to our jobs, and show how cycling is not only recreational but a totally viable option for all kinds of everyday transportation.”
Wagler, a 2002 Eastern Mennonite University graduate, attends Shalom Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg.
Every year the Spokesongs Tour raises awareness or money for a certain cause.
This year The Steel Wheels hosted a benefit concert Aug. 8 for Lose the Training Wheels, a nonprofit group with a mission of teaching people with disabilities how to ride “conventional” bikes and develop independence and self-reliance.
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