Cy­cling Celebrity

The vi­o­lin­ist com­poses on the bike

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By David Mcpher­son

Vi­o­lin­ist Anne Lind­say

From Cape Town, South Africa to his­toric Tus­can towns, from the vine­yards of Ni­a­gara to the Don and Hum­ber River trails around Toronto, Anne Lind­say loves see­ing – and ex­plor­ing – the world from the sad­dle of her bike. “Usu­ally when I’m trav­el­ling, I’ll rent a bike, but I al­ways take my sad­dle be­cause I have a cus­tom seat and it makes a big dif­fer­ence when you are rent­ing,” she says.

For the Toronto mu­si­cian, cy­cling is ther­apy – whether she rides alone or in a group. Usu­ally, on solo rides, she finds her­self writ­ing songs or prac­tis­ing tunes while mak­ing per­fect cir­cles with her feet.

“I get into a place where it’s easy for those ideas to flow,” Lind­say ex­plains. “My brain is clear of all the other riff-raff and minu­tiae of daily life, which al­lows me to go to that place and cre­ate. The rhythm of the road, too, is in­spir­ing. If I’m on a hill, there are cer­tain tunes I sing to my­self to help me make it up the in­cline.”

If Lind­say feels she might for­get a melody or song sketch that comes to her while cy­cling, she’ll stop and sing it into her phone.

The vi­o­lin­ist’s joy of cy­cling be­gan dur­ing her for­ma­tive years in the early 1970s while liv­ing near Al­lis­ton, Ont. She bought her first bike (a “classy women’s white Le­je­une 10-speed”) with the sum­mer earn­ings her par­ents paid her for tak­ing care of the horses on the fam­ily farm.

“It cost me about $100, which was a lot of money then,” Lind­say re­calls. “I loved it. It was a re­ally cool bike and I was de­ter­mined I was go­ing to ride it across Canada. A girl­friend of mine was into the idea, too. To this day, I haven’t done it, but I did ride from our farm along High­way 89 into Al­lis­ton, which was the clos­est town for my swim­ming lessons. That was my first rid­ing ad­ven­ture. “

“It was stolen once from a back­yard and used as a get­away ve­hi­cle for some­one rob­bing a Mac’s Milk,” she adds. “I was heart­bro­ken that some­one would steal my bike, but luck­ily the po­lice found it.”

Lind­say be­gan fid­dlin’ about on the vi­olin in mid­dle school. In Grade 8, she was hon­oured for be­ing the most promis­ing vi­o­lin­ist. “They gave me a vi­olin as a prize,” Lind­say re­called. “Of course, I cried. Later, when I was 16, I drilled a hole in this vi­olin and put in a pick-up so I could play in a rock band.”

To­day, Lind­say makes a liv­ing as a full-time mu­si­cian, which is not an easy gig. The same qual­i­ties that she brings to cy­cling – hard work, de­ter­mi­na­tion and va­ri­ety – serve her in her ca­reer. She plays tra­di­tional fid­dle tunes, brings her elec­tric-vi­olin stylings to stu­dio ses­sions and even rocks out at cor­po­rate gigs. “I got to ex­pe­ri­ence the golden years of the mu­sic busi­ness,” Lind­say says. “Hav­ing a di­verse skill set has proved to be very ben­e­fi­cial to get­ting a wide va­ri­ety of work. From my point of view, to ex­pe­ri­ence so many dif­fer­ent types of mu­sic and play with so many won­der­ful play­ers, it’s been a won­der­ful ca­reer.” Dur­ing this suc­cess­ful ca­reer, which is far from done, Lind­say has had the op­por­tu­nity to play with Blue Rodeo, Roger Dal­trey of The Who, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zep­pelin, The Chief­tains and James Tay­lor. These days, when she’s not com­mut­ing on two wheels around the Greater Toronto Area, or play­ing a gig some­where, the mu­si­cian is writ­ing songs for a new project. “Things are fer­ment­ing,” Lind­say says. “I’m fig­ur­ing out what the whole scope will be and I’m still con­vers­ing with the muse.”

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