A MUSIC duo are embarking on a tour with a difference when they strap guitars to their backs and hit the road on their bikes.

Sheffield-based Mr Magpie will be cycling around 120 miles and stopping off at seven gig venues including Acoustic Cafe in Sankey Street, Warrington.

The cross-country tour is to raise money and awareness of the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Mr Magpie consists of musicians Luke Foster and Matt Alexander.

Matt, who has family members affected by the illnesses, said “Crohns and Colitis are horrible, life-changing illnesses that often don’t get talked about.

“When we set up the idea of doing a tour, we realised it was a great chance to raise awareness among new audiences and hopefully some money for the charity too.”

Towing their guitars behind them, Luke and Matt will travel through the Peak District, south Manchester and Cheshire before finishing in Liverpool for the series of gigs.

The Warrington gig is on Tuesday and the duo will also be busking along the way.

Luke added: “Rather than following convention and bundling into a van to drive from city to city, we thought we’d explore the rural scenery that often informs our music.

Crewe Guardian:

“Travelling by bicycle, we can better connect to the surrounding landscape, digging up myths and folklore from the towns and villages a little off the beaten track.

“Ultimately, we hope our experiences will make their way into songs.”

It will also be a good bonding experience for Luke and Matt as they have been performing together for under a year.

Matt said: “We’d both been playing solo but we realised that we were writing about a lot of the same themes – mainly landscape and nature – so it made sense to collaborate.

“We call our music ‘landscape pop’. Musically, it’s very melodic, and influenced by artists like XTC, The Kinks, The Beatles and Robyn Hitchcock.”

The duo have just released their first songs, Bulrushes and (She’s Got The) Shivers online.

Matt and Luke also continue to create solo material.

In fact, just after the tour, Luke’s project Curlicues is releasing a new album, Private Life.

Before then though, they have a lot of pedalling to do.

Matt added: “We’re hoping to have an adventure, meet new people and help out a worthy cause in the process.

“That, and avoid punctures...”

Mr Magpie stop off at The Acoustic Cafe during their charity bicycle tour on Tuesday. The performance is free and starts at 8pm.

To make a donation visit justgiving.com/fundraising/mr-magpie