“This Is Spinal Tap on wheels,” laughs Daryl Clark, founder of ChildLine Rocks and organiser of the latest US charity bike ride that starts September 10. “This is our fifth invasion, and this time, they’d better fucking take us seriously. We’ve been trying to get arrested for five years now…”
The ChildLine Rocks pilgrimage has become a much-loved date in the blues diary. Having first raised £1,000 each to support the work of ChildLine (the NSPCC’s confidential helpline for young people), riders travel through the most iconic landscapes of the US, soaking up the culture and enjoying music from the resident musicians, who include blues rock titans Thunder and the Sons Of Royalty (a supergroup including Bobby Tench and Papa George).
This is Spinal Tap on wheels!
This year’s trip – titled The Great British Invasion: Standing On The Corner In The Footsteps Of Bobby Troup – takes on the US west coast. “We start off in San Francisco,” explains Clark. “Next day, we go to Yosemite National Park. Then we ride the Tioga Pass out of Yosemite at 10,000 feet, down to Mammoth Lakes and into Death Valley, where we’re staying at Furnace Creek. That night, we’ll be drinking prickly pear margaritas and celebrating the recent achievement of Geezer Butler, who was arrested for fighting in the saloon at Furnace Creek a few months ago.
“We go on to Las Vegas,” he adds, “and to the Grand Canyon, before we ride the Painted Desert to Winslow, Arizona. We’re now on the best bits of Route 66, so it’s Breaking Bad and we’re overnight in Gallup, New Mexico. Then we ride into our final destination, Santa Fe, where we have our end-of-tour concert. The proceeds from that will benefit local causes. They developed the atom bomb in a laboratory north of Santa Fe, and let it off in White Sands National Park. There are still kids being born with deformities.”
As this issue went to press, space for five more riders was available. “Go to www.sonsofroyalty.com,” explains Clark. “All we ask is that people cover their costs, and raise or donate £1,000, which goes to ChildLine.”