Motorcycles and rock have been intertwined since Steppenwolf, Motörhead and Foghat. But what music is associated with pedaled two-wheelers? Queen's "Bicycle Race" or Kraftwerk's "Tour de France"? Bands who feature bikes in their videos, like Bat For Lashes, Mewithoutyou or Nada Surf?
It's hard to pin down bike rock, but Michael Kotyk hopes to try. With two partners, he turned South Side watering hole Quagmire's into the area's first bike-themed restaurant, the OTB Bicycle Café. "As a landscape architect, I worked with trail design and promoting the bike/pedestrian movement," Kotyk says. "I'd like to see Pittsburgh become more bicycle-friendly and help organizations like Bike Pittsburgh get the word out."
One way Kotyk is attempting to lure the curious is a Saturday-night music series, which kicks off on Sept. 5 (performers TBA at press time). "A lot of people told us this would be a great place for music," says bartender and manager Kevin Hughes. "We'll move the tables in the back and put the bands in front of the yellow wall. We're looking for acoustic and alternative stuff, nothing heavy metal."
"Exactly how the music scene fits in with the whole idea of cycling is still undetermined," says Kotyk. He says the café attracts everyone from mountain bikers and road cyclists to college kids and young professionals, while jukebox plays range from '70s rock and Michael Jackson to The Decemberists and Modest Mouse. So how to please a clientele that's all over the map?
The music could vary, suggest patrons Eli Kazan (of Kim Phuc and new C-86ers The Gotobeds) and Kevin Parent (Test Patterns, Icon Gallery), while taking a break at OTB. "They're going for a socially responsible crowd," as well as bike-messenger types, says Parent, "[so] they could have indie or punk shows here. Not the super-crusty stuff, but some bands that play at Gooski's."
So far, Kotyk has lined up a couple of acts: Sept. 12 features acoustic duo Mike and Doug and Oct. 17 belongs to Walter Tolentino (of Seventh House and Strangeway). He'll charge $3-5 and can pack in a little more than 100 heads. Kotyk has calls out to a wide spectrum of local musicians, and a customer named David Gingrich (who blogs at ndanger.org) also suggested names. "He's plugged into Bike Fest," says Kotyk, "and is linking us up with groups that cyclists follow."
Interested musicians can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-381-3698.