May is National Bike Month. The Virginia Arts Festival is celebrating with The Handlebards in their U.S. debut. The Handlebards have been busy in Britain for the last few years, riding bikes and acting out Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream along the way.
They are crossing the pond, getting on some spiffy new electric bikes, and coming to a place near you. Beginning Wednesday, May 15 at Waterside District’s Blue Moon Stage in Norfolk, then traveling to Ocean View, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Ghent and finishing up at the Virginia Arts Festival Courtyard on May 22. These events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of The Handlebards in Hampton Roads, go to https://secure.vafest.org/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=823
The Handlebards are four young, sturdy men who load up their costumes and props on bikes and travel from town to town to bring Shakespeare to the country side, like the traveling troupes in Chaucer’s time. The men play all the parts, including the fairies. There are four interconnecting plots in Shakespeare’s masterpiece, so things get a little crazy. The production is both “crackers and cracking.”
The Handlebards are going to think they have set foot, or pedaled their way into, bicycle heaven when they land in Norfolk. Pedego Norfolk has just opened across the street from MacArthur Center on City Hall Ave. Amy and Kevin Oliver, owners of Pedego Norfolk, are thrilled to provide The Handlebards with brand new Pedego electric bikes with “burly bike” trailers for their tour of Hampton Roads.
If you haven’t tried out a Pedego bike yet, you need to visit Pedego Norfolk. Amy and Kevin rented the electric bikes for a day when they were on vacation in Napa Valley with their two teenagers. The family biked all day long and had a blast. As Amy says, “No bickering, no arguing.” They came home to Hampton Roads, did a lot of research, and decided to open a Pedego dealership in Norfolk.
The motto of Pedego is “Hello Fun”, and they are fun. They come in all kinds of colors and configurations. You can pedal on your own, pedal with electric assist, or let the battery take over and enjoy the ride.
Pedego Norfolk is open now, but their Grand Opening is May 31. You can buy a Pedego or try one out by renting by the hour, the day, or the week. They will be offering tours and group rides soon. The Elizabeth River Trail is two blocks from the store. That’s over ten miles of scenic biking next to the river.
Downtown Norfolk has published a calendar of Bike Month events in May that you can find here – https://www.norfolk.gov/DocumentCenter/View/46731
As The Handlebards say,
Ride on with us throughout the countryside,
With comedies and tragedies galore;
Four actors upon bikes are wont to ride,
With legs exhausted and with bottoms sore.
A journey thorough bush and thorough briar,
On a-roads, b-roads, cycle-paths we steer.
On pedalled steeds we stow all we require –
Set, props and costumes, scripts and camping gear.
Hey ho, the wind and rain may slow our ride,
Our chains may bear the whips and scorns of grime,
But this dry-witted, wet quartet provide
A stonking, bonkers, entertaining time.
So join this ped’ling Shakespeare troupe anon,
The HandleBards: ride on, dear friends, ride on.
The Handlebards performances and ride-alongs are free and open to the public. They will be performing outside, so bring along a blanket or a beach chair. Each venue opens one hour before the fellows ride up on their Pedegos. For more information, go to https://secure.vafest.org/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=823