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“EuroVelo routes are just perfect for biking concert tours!”

Ida Johanne Kühn Riegels, a classical cellist and composer from Copenhagen, is set to start a concert tour by bike in April. For two months, she will transport her cello on her bike and give more than 20 concerts along the EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route. We caught up with her to see how the preparations for her trip are going.
“EuroVelo routes are just perfect for biking concert tours!”

© Ida Johanne Kühn Riegels

 

Why did you choose a EuroVelo trip?

In the last few years, I have done some concert tours by bike with my cello on the pannier rack in Denmark and Germany.I didn’t know about EuroVelo until recently, when a friend gave me a magazine about cycle routes. I think, like many others, I got very inspired by looking at all the different routes.They are just perfect for biking concert tours!

Which EuroVelo route(s) did you choose and why? 

I chose the EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route. The Rhine is known for its amazing beauty and for being a source of inspiration for all sorts of artists. A lot of the music I compose was invented on my bike. There is something about the fresh air and the flow of scenery passing by that creates ideas. I hope that some of the muses that have been inspiring artists along the Rhine for centuries are still there and willing to whisper a song for my cello.

What will you play?

I will play solo music for cello by my favorite composer J.S. Bach. I think a lot of his music was inspired by nature. I will also play a cello suite that I have composed myself and hopefully on a cello that I am building myself from scratch. I am planning to have it ready by April. You can follow the making of it on my blog.

What made you want to do a concert tour by bike?

Like many Danes, I do not have a driver's license, so the bike is my primary means of transportation. But most of all, I just really enjoy the freedom when travelling by bike.Something I found out from previous biking concert tours is that cycling is very good for two important things:

• To be in good shape improves the ability to concentrate a lot. The program I play consists of more than 10,000 notes.  I find it much easier to focus and play after having cycled for hours in the fresh air.

• When you travel by bike, you meet so many inspiring people (even more if you carry a big red cello case on your bag - try it!). Maybe you share a cup of tea at the campsite in the evening or a beautiful view on the roadside with fellow bikers. These meetings and the stories people sometimes share are a source of inspiration for my concerts.

When and where will your concert tour start and end?

The opening concert will be on the 18th of April at noon, near Tomasee, a lake in the Swiss Alps. It is an extremely picturesque place, 2,345 meters above sea level, completely isolated from civilization.This first concert is dedicated to the Rhine and is meant as a gesture to the power of the river.  Anybody who likes cello and nature is very welcome. The entrance is free! You will have to cycle six kilometers uphill from the village Tschamut and then walk the last kilometer on a small path. There is no address, but the coordinates are: 46°63′N and 8°67′E.The end of the tour will be on the 15th of June in Hoek van Holland where the Rhine meets the North Sea.

Which places will you visit?

I will visit some of the biggest cities along the Rhine such as Basel, Strasbourg, Bonn, Cologne and Rotterdam. The ideas behind the tour is to take advantage of the freedom that bikes offer and play in small villages that I would never get to see if I didn’t go by bike. For instance, a priest and his wife from Romanshorn, a little village near the Lake Constance, invited me and my cello on a sailing trip. I hope I will have many more inspiring meetings along the route.

Do you already have a list of some of the venues where you are going to play?

Yes, I am planning the concerts right now, and if somebody along the Rhine is interested in hosting a concert, you can contact me by email: ida@riegels.info.You can find my tour schedule on my website, which will be updated with more concerts.

How can we follow you during your trip?

You can follow the trip on my blog:  and on Facebook 
Different magazines such as "BikeBild" and "Crescendo" as well as Danish and German Radio stations will also follow the tour.

If anybody has already done the EuroVelo15 – Rhine Cycle Route and has some tips to share, I would also be happy to hear from you.

Thank you!