Next time you encounter an interview with a touring musician whining about the rigours of the road, spare a thought for Rich Aucoin.
On March 23, the Halifax-based dance/rock artist began a 15-date U.S. jaunt in support of his new Hold EP. On the tour, originally called F#$k You Depression, but is now called Press On, he is bicycling alone from city to city — covering some 5,500 kilometres across states from California to Pennsylvania — raising awareness for mental health and donating 100 percent of tour proceeds to Mental Health America. His Canadian winter tour raised money for The Canadian Mental Health Association.
His goal is to raise $1,000 a month over the course of four months through ticket sales and crowdfunding.
Cold, rain, flat tires in the middle of nowhere and marauding coyotes are all real possibilities on Aucoin’s journey which makes the standard between-show boredom and bad food complaints of traditional rock tours pale considerably.
Amazingly, this is not the first time Aucoin has toured by bicycle. In 2007, he traversed Canada (roughly 6,500 zigzagging kilometres) promoting his debut EP Personal Publication, to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation, a charity he selected in part because of its small operational overhead. He has also toured Canada by way of running half-marathons in various cities, donating money to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Needless to say, much hard-won learning from Aucoin’s previous bike adventure has been applied to the planning of this one, including (but not limited to) the importance of having a smartphone. Samaritanmag talked with Aucoin about the logistical hurdles of his current ride and why, despite the hardships, it’s so worth it as a charitable measure. – Continue reading here.