Friday, September 16, 2016

Tomorrow – "My White Bicycle" (1967)

Moving fast
Everything looks great
My white bicycle

My new Trek 7.3 is matte black – not white – but everything still looks great when I'm moving fast on it.

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter e-mailed me about a biking event in Frederick, Maryland, where she and her husband live.

The “Tour de Hops” – a 17-mile ride on the streets of Frederick, punctuated by tastings at four local breweries – was a fundraiser for Heartly House, which provides comprehensive services for victims of domestic abuse.  It was scheduled for a Sunday afternoon when the weather forecast looked good and I had no particular place to be.   

(It was closer to 17 miles.)
The ride started at noon at Monocracy Brewery.  Some of the 53 Tour de Hops participants pregamed by knocking down a pint (or two) before the ride got started, but I refrained.  (I figured there was going to be plenty of beer along the way.)

The organizers of the ride had wisely constructed the route so we rode the longest brewery-to-brewery segment first.  Our first stop was Flying Dog Brewery, the largest and most widely distributed of Frederick’s breweries.  (I’m guessing there’s some Flying Dog for sale at your neighborhood liquor store.)  Our next stops were Barley and Hops (a brewpub with a large dining room that sells craft beers from many other brewers as well as the ones made on the premises) and Olde Mother Brewing (a modest-sized operation that had opened less than a year previously).

The ride ended where it began, at Monocracy Brewing, where there were four food trucks, a couple of musicians, and cornhole boards to entertain us.  We were given tickets for three samples and a pint – which was gilding the lily a bit after our three previous tastings – but I politely drank ever drop I was offered. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s get right to my photos of the Tour de Hops and save some words for a future 2 or 3 lines:

Tour de Hops bikes parked outside
the Flying Dog tasting room
Best reason I know to get a tattoo
Free beer for all Olympic medalists at Flying Dog
Replenishing our precious bodily fluids
It wasn't easy choosing only four to taste
Bathroom sign at Flying Dog
A ride leader's growler-equipped bike
Hop vines at Flying Dog
On the road to brewery number two
The Barley and Hops brewpub
A sweet Cannonade fixie
Tasting on the Barley and Hops patio
On the way to our third brewery
Olde Mother Brewing
More precious bodily fluid replenishment
The owner's puppy was a chick magnet
Wobbling down a quiet street to our final stop
The ride's end – which was also its beginning
*     *     *     *     *

Tomorrow was a short-lived English psychedelic band that broke up only a year after it formed in 1967.  

The brains behind the operation was singer-songwriter Keith West, who continues to record and produce music today.  The group’s lead guitarist, Steve Howe, later achieved fame and fortune as a member of Yes, while drummer John “Twink” Alder is best known for his work with the Pretty Things.  (Alder later converted to Islam and changed his name to Mohammed Abdullah.)

“My White Bicycle” was Tomorrow’s first single.  (It’s only other single was titled “Revolution.”  It preceded the Beatles’ “Revolution” by a year.) 

According to “Twink” Adler, the song was inspired by some Amsterdam anarchists who called themselves the Provos: 

[T]hey had white bicycles in Amsterdam and they used to leave them around the town.  And if you were going somewhere and you needed to use a bike, you'd just take the bike and you'd go somewhere and just leave it. Whoever needed the bikes would take them and leave them when they were done.

John and Yoko on a white Provos bike
“My White Bicycle” inspired “Bike Ride to the Moon” by The Dukes of Stratosphear – which was a tongue-in-cheek pseudonym used by XTC, one of the cleverest English rock bands that ever was.  (“Bike Ride to the Moon” was the second track on that group’s first record, the six-song mini-album 25 O’Clock, which was released on April Fools’ Day 1985.)

Here’s “My White Bicycle,” which was one of the first records to feature a backwards guitar recording:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. Not sure if this is true back east, but here in Southern California, there is a practice of painting an old bicycle white and placing it where a bicyclist has been killed in a traffic collision. These "ghost bikes" are a reminder to drivers to watch out for vehicles that are smaller than other cars. I have seen them in Pasadena and Arcadia. On a less serious note, the song that came to mind when I saw this column was (should be no surprise) "Bicycle Race" by Queen.