Mr. B's Joybox Express: Modern Minstrels Haul Piano 300 Miles by Bicycle

Tonight is the finale of a summer tour for Mr. B's Joybox Express. Blues & boogie-woogie pianist Mark Lincoln Braun (a.k.a. Mr. B) has been pedalling his custom-designed, piano-tricycle nearly 300 miles across Michigan, in what is described as "one of the longest human powered piano moves in history."

The tricycle hauling Braun's 160 kg (352 pound) acoustic 'joybox' (an early American term for the piano) was made by Nobilette Cycles, who also craft handmade custom bikes, such as racing frames.

Also accompanying Mark Braun on this musical odyssey have been Pete Siers, playing a specially designed drum set using a suitcase as a bass drum; Brian Delaney, playing an electric, solar-powered guitar and Carl Hildebrandt, who pulls his string bass on a trailer behind his bike. Their blues & boogie-woogie concerts have been raising money for children's art and athletic charities.

Mr B describes the challenge of heaving such a beast cross country to, "If anybody who's cycled at all has even put a bag of panniers on your bike, where you add maybe 40 pounds on your bike, you can really feel it, and we just added 500. So it's challenging just when you would expect it to be, during the uphills. You just have to gear way down, be really patient, and work through it." Although he concludes, "But the vehicle works -- it's just beautifully engineered, beautifully designed, beautifully built. It works wonderfully."

This link sports a video of the joys of biking a piano about the place.

The final concert of this tour of the Joybox Express is in Detroit tonight.

Mr. B's Joybox Express