Happy Hour again!
As I write this, Paul Heaton, ex lead singer of the Beautiful South and before that the Housemartins, should be riding into the carpark of the Flying Horse hotel and public house in Rochdale, Lancashire. It’s not a cakestop or even a pint stop, but the venue of the first gig in his 15-date Pedals and Beer Pumps tour.
The short run of intimate gigs – which all pretty much sold out weeks ago - will actually be one big cycle ride from Manchester to London and back for the witty socialist songster, who is riding between every venue.
We caught up with Paul a few weeks ago after he and riding buddy Gus had literally just picked up their brand new Enigma bikes, before riding up to the Cat and Fiddle pub, high above Macclesfield on the edge of the Peak District.
It was foggy, cold and wet, and the pair dressed in fantastically unroadie kit – Paul in an Adidas running top, and Gus in a rain-soaked quilted jacket that must have weighed half his body weight.
It only took us 40 minutes or so to pedal up the famous hillclimb to the pub, but four hours to leave it before hurtling back down before dark in ragged formation. I can still see him flying through a hairpin now, one hand on the hoods with the other on the drops doing the braking, inside foot down and popstar shades misted in the dark fog with a big grin underneath. Priceless riding ‘style’ from a warm, funny, talented man that it was a pleasure to meet.
Today was the first day of a fortnight of riding, gigging and riding again for the star, and I reckon he’s going to love it…
We’ll be catching up with Paul on his tour and running an exclusive interview in a coming issue of Cycling Plus. For more info on the Pedals and Beer Pumps tour, see www.paulheatonmusic.co.uk, or Paul’s Facebook page.