Sunday, March 29, 2009
This has been entertaining.
Each day Gregg Whelan and Gary Winters set out from the E Street Plaza on their compact Brompton folding bikes for a five-to six-hour ride in and around Davis, collecting stories from the folks they encounter along the way. Each evening, they return to the plaza for a 5:30 performance that mixes the theatrics of a town crier with the more conversational tone of public radio storytelling. They are Lone Twin, a British duo brought to Davis by the Mondavi Center to perform "To the Century: 30 Days in the Life of Davis," in honor of the UC Davis centennial and this town's love of cycling.
Lone Twin started their ride Friday with a spin of the bottle — a water bottle that is. Said Winters: "We go by the fate of the bottle." On a large homemade map laid out on the ground, Winters spins his blue water bottle and whichever direction the bottle points, is the direction they take. Friday's spin sent them on a southeasterly route. The spin for Saturday morning would have them heading due east. They will fill in their map as they go, repeating routes if the spin of the bottle dictates. "It's a way of kind of building a map," Winters said. Their first public performance on Friday evening drew a crowd of about 30 to 40 people, some just passersby stopping to see what all the fuss was about.
The show began when Whelan and Winters zipped up on their bikes. Accompanied by music piping out from a portable speaker, the two related stories of their ride. "We were on the road today," Whelan said, "and we came up to a junction. We were trying to figure out who had the right-of-way, when a car pulls up next to Gary. We see a woman inside, and she rolls down her window and says, 'You look great!'" "We took that as a positive sign," he said. About five hours later, on their way back into town, said Whelan, they were passed by a car with four young men inside. Another friendly encounter? Not so much. "They yell, 'Share the road you clowns!'" Whelan said. "Which we also took as a positive sign," Winters said. "On Montgomery, we saw a couple in their mid-40s packing a car," Winters said. "So we stopped to talk, and they said they were going to get in their car, point it north and just see where they end up. They're going to drive for four weeks." On Second Street, he said, the duo passed by some road construction. "We saw a man digging a hole. He said he was digging for money. I'm not sure if he really was."
Once their performance was finished for the evening, they exhorted the crowd to return again and again and hopped back on their bikes, pedaling off toward F Street with Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" blaring from their speaker.
The duo will be in the plaza every evening at 5:30 p.m. and welcome fellow riders who happen to catch them on the road on Wednesdays and Sundays. Read more....