Life on the Road: The Boys

Mark Collier as Viola - (small)

Hi! Mark the Blue HandleBard here!

As we reach the 800 mile point of our Twelfth Night cycle tour of the UK I thought it would be a good moment to reflect on our journey so far…


There have been ups (A.K.A ‘Hills’), downs (A.K.A ‘Falling Off Of Bikes’), amazing venues, new friends and picnics… oh so many picnics.

Most of all though there has been a lot of fun which, I’ll admit, wasn’t at the top of my ‘Things I Think I’ll Have On A Cycling Tour To Edinburgh’ list.

In case you’re interested the list ran:

1 – A Sore Bum

2 – Sore Legs

3 – Sun Burn and/or Soaking Wet Clothes

4 – A Constant Smell

5 – Fun?

It’s also been more challenging than I ever could have imagined.

 Me and Red Bard Bill flying off of our bikes whilst hurtling down a hill and leaving a large proportion of our skin on the tarmac was a challenge. We got back in the saddle though and carried on (shout out to our tour manager Will – he is an excellent fixer-upper of bikes and humans!)

Every hill is a challenge when you’re towing one of the set trailers but I now have a new definition of teamwork:

When one of your fellow bards cycles past you up the mother of all hills, leaves their bike at the top of the hill and then comes running back DOWN the hill to help push you and your trailer to the top of said hill.

Despite these challenges I wouldn’t change a single thing… actually maybe my saddle… a softer saddle would be nice. What an amazing way to spend a Summer – cycling through beautiful countryside (sometimes literally THROUGH it, nettles and ditches included) with friends and performing at such varied and incredible venues, including a quick hop over to Neuss in Germany (boy do Germans know how to applaud!)


People often ask us if we’re tired by show time after having spent the day cycling, but our HandleBard version of Twelfth Night is so riotous and so fun to perform that even after the toughest day of cycling we can’t wait to play with our audiences (and steal their food and booze, of course). Seeing folk of all ages engage with a Shakespeare play is one of my favourite things about this job (well, that and stealing food and booze).

And so, as our tour continues, I’m sure the ups are going to get bigger (The Peak District!) and there’ll probably be a few more downs (no more falling off of bikes, even if the bandages did get us a lot of sympathy) but when Blue Bard, Green Bard, Purple Bard, Red Bard and Company Manager Bard (we really need to give Will a colour) combine we will continue to be a hill conquering, picnic stealing, Twelfth Night performing unstoppable team. Ride on!


  • Brian Bostock

    August 1, 2018


    Just met Will, Company Manager Bard, and if you’re looking for a colour, what about Black Bard? This seems to be his preference – black shoes, trousers, tee shirt and even beard. (He’s great fun too.)

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