Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Howdy,

so two of us are doing a cycle tour next year and it would be really neat if we could visit a whole bunch of sessions on the way.
Any thoughts on a country that has a heap of sessions we could visit via pedal power? (Not Ireland or New Zealand where we are based)

Cheers!

Chris

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

England is probably a good bet, as long as you’re not expecting to find Irish music everywhere - most of the Irish music is in the cities, which you’ll probably want to avoid on your bikes. Sessions in rural/small town England can range from hardcore English Trad, through English with a smattering of Irish, Scottish, French, Scandinavian, Old Time, Klezmer, Balkan etc., to generic jam sessions with a few tunes sneaked in while the Dylan and Elvis impersonators are at the bar. You’ll also find some English traditional sessions that are predominantly or exclusively singing. You might also find pockets of Irish music (or other non-English genre-specific sessions) here and there.

So, if you’re open to diversity, England has a lot to offer on the session scene. Southern England (Kent to Cornwall) would give you lots of nice cycling country and, given the relatively high population density, probably more sessions than elsewhere - and you could start your cycling trip from the Margins of London. The Welsh/English border country (Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire) is beautiful and I know of some good musicians around there; you could also cross the border into Wales and come to one of my local sessions. (I would thoroughly recommend Wales for a cycling tour, but because of the low population density, sessions are generally few and far between.)

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Pity you aren’t interested in Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way passes many places well known for traditional music.

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Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Yes - Why not Ireland?

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Myself and herself were down the west of Ireland last weekend staying in Clifden and drove all around Connemara (north and south), and went as far as Louisburgh and Roonagh pier in Co. Mayo. I imagine if you had more free time cycling there would also be lovely. That whole corner of Ireland is absolutely stunning. So why not Ireland?

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Ireland also has several great trad music festivals in the western half of the country around July.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

I’d second Mr. C.M. Organig’s suggestion re Southern England….or even going north from London. Depends, though, how many miles per day you want to cycle, and how many sessions you want to take in. If it’s something like 80-100+mpd you could get up to East Anglia in a day from London, then zig-zag through the Midlands to Yorkshire, then nip over the Peak District to Manchester. Take note - as CMO points out, most, but not all, Irish sessions in England are in cities, cos that’s where immigrants originally found work. Also agree with CMO’s assessment of rural English sessions: these can indeed be interesting phenomena to observe.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

And if you want more scenery but less sessions, try Scotland. But maybe a bit too much like South Island NZ, from what I’ve heard!

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

It’s also worth pointing out that N. England (Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland) has strong musical traditions of its own - and lots of beautiful scenery - although I don’t know how widespread or frequent sessions are there.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Unicorn Folk Magazine ( http://www.unicornmagazine.org/ ) has a page with sessions information, giving place / dates / organiser details. Downloading the latest copy is free, but a big file (20MB).

Covers Home Counties North + some Midlands clubs.

Page 10 in the latest edition…

As others have said - sessions quality, repertoire, etc etc vary hugely. Best to give the organiser a call before going.

On a different aspect: do make sure you have decent locks on your bikes. I use a Dutch Axa rear-wheel lock (fixed to frame) plus a strong chain. Heavy, but the bike is still there when I come back.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

If you went to England, Cambridgeshire is well worth a look. Very flat, dry, and lots of folk clubs.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Re South East England, I know some good sessions in Brighton with some absolutely top players. Well worth a visit. The South Downs are lovely too. I have cycled Sussex/Kent many times and love it. There are a whole bunch of good dedicated cycles routes down there.
Also I can double recommend Wales, as Creadurmawrorganig says, there are some good sessions in Wales. I know of a couple in Carmarthenshire and then in North Wales where I live there are quite a few spread all over the most fantastic North Walian scenery, playing Irish, French esp. Breton, Welsh and English tunes.

Wherever you go, I wish you happy music and tail winds!

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Where’s good in North Wales? Holidays coming up at end of June.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

Brittany
Prince Edward Island
Cape Breton Island
Shetland Islands
Montréal/Québec City/Trois-Rivières
Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay & Bay Area CA
Basque country!

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

There are good sessions in Beds, Herts, Bucks and Cambridgeshire, some Irish, some mixed (irish, English, French). Google MK sessions for sessions all around Milton Keynes, mostly in Country or Small town pubs, such as Stoney Stratford or Woburn Sands.

Re: Cycle Touring and Session visiting ?!?!?!!

There are some great sessions in Spain too. I live in Andalucia and can give you contacts in Malaga, Nerja, TorremolinosGranada, Córdoba Seville, and also Valencia to the East.Also Northern Spain. great cycling country too, but not insummer perhaps! And not forgetting the wonderful Irish Fleadh which takes place the first weekend of November in the lovely medieval city of Cáceres negar the Portuguese border. Take a look at their Facebook Page, or google.