A month ago I told you about the series of Journey Rides that Charleston Ride studio in South Carolina was hosting this summer.
I’ve been following their Facebook page as they post the promotions and follow-ups to these special events. Last week was the ride Into Africa, taught by Dan Boland, and I was able to see the videos on their Facebook page.
I don’t remember what year it was, but at an early WSSC Johnny G brought in some African dancers and drummers. Another year, there were Brazilian drummers. I remember being entranced as we rode to the live music; the tribal rhythm and emotions transfer so beautifully to riding a bicycle!
Have you ever ridden to live drumming and dancing, or live music of any kind? What was your experience?
I tracked Dan Boland down to ask him about his African Journey ride. Dan is a drummer himself, and met the performers through a drumming group. They are called WoSe (pronounced Wo-Say), a West African dance troupe based in Charleston, and agreed to perform for Dan’s class.
The class was 90 minutes long. As riders came in, there was just one drummer playing. As the class started, Dan introduced the group and suggested that riders release any concern about rpm, heart rate, or calories. Instead, he asked them to rely on their awareness of breathing and technique, and to allow themselves to get lost in the music, and let it drive what they did on the bike.
After the 10-minute warm-up, there were three different dances, each about 20–25 minutes long. Before each one, he let the lead drummer or dancer explain to the class the title of the dance, what they would be doing, and the story and tradition behind the dance.
Dance #1 was a celebration dance. The rhythm was faster, suitable for a flat road cadence. Dan told his riders to let themselves get lost in the rhythm, and to add resistance and stand if they felt the need.
Dance #2 was on slavery and struggle. It was a slower rhythm, perfect for a long climb. The lead dancer was a woman named Queen who spoke about the struggles Africans faced many years ago. As Dan empowered his riders to do, they faced their own struggles on their climb and made it their own, transitioning in and out of the saddle as the music moved them.
Dance #3 was a West African mating dance, which had varying rhythms ending with an explosion of energy. The drummer told the story of the tradition of this dance, and riders were entreated to enjoy themselves and just have fun!
After that, a few of the riders (including Luciana Marcial Vincion, the owner of the studio) got off their bikes and started dancing with the performers. According to Dan, almost every rider had transitioned to the floor to dance!
At the end of the ride, Queen led the stretch.
Dan said the 90 minutes just flew by and everyone was amazed when it was over!
Has anyone else experienced a ride quite like this?