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Bemidji musician to tour state by bicycle

If you care about the environment, is it hypocritical to drive around in a car promoting that message?

Shannon Murray and Dave Cuomo say yes.

So, as they tour the state promoting their music and raising awareness about global warming through their Respect Yr Mama Bike Tour, they plan to do it an earth-friendly way: by bicycle.

"I had been driving around (for tours) a lot in a car -- it was so contradictory," said Murray, 26, of Bemidji.

Cuomo, 26, of New York City, said he had been touring by vehicle when Murray asked him if he would be interested in touring with her this fall by bike.

"No hesitation," Cuomo said. "It sounded fun, more adventurous."

The tour is about more than just global warming. Murray and Cuomo are both folk/punk singers and the 1,200-mile tour will feature concerts in 15 Minnesota communities.

The tour begins at 8 p.m. Saturday at Brigid's Irish Cross Pub in Bemidji with a kick-off party.

The pedaling will then begin as the duo will next go to Grand Rapids, Duluth and Mahtowa before heading to Minneapolis for performances scheduled Sept. 13-16. Most stops will feature one show, but some cities, like Duluth, will feature two concerts or more. The duo plans to perform four times in Minneapolis.

Once their time in Minneapolis has ended, Murray and Cuomo will head to Stillwater, Lake City and then Winona, where two shows are scheduled for Sept. 22-23. Stops are then planned in Rochester, St. Peter, Mankato, Morris and Montevideo.

Two concerts are scheduled in Montevideo and then also in St. Cloud as Murray and Cuomo continue heading north through Little Falls and Brainerd.

They will end back where they began -- in Bemidji -- as three more shows are planned. The tour will end Oct. 21 with a final show at 10 a.m. for the Headwater's Unitarian Fellowship at the Bemidji Senior Center.

For a complete listing of times, dates and cities, visit

The idea for the bike tour, Murray said, stems from a previous bike tour she participated in from St. Louis to New Orleans.

"Then, my car broke down this winter," she said.

So, she decided to try touring by bicycle.

"I've been thinking about it for a while," she said. "It's been a long process."

Her equipment, including her guitar, will be towed behind the bike in a trailer of sorts, similar to bike carriages that carry children. But, it's designed a little differently.

She and Cuomo will pedal in the rain, if necessary, to make their scheduled performances.

While also promoting their music, Murray and Cuomo plan also to raise awareness about global warming. People are now interested in the topic, she said.

"A lot of people are conscious about the environment in general," she said. "I don't know if it was Al Gore's movie or what ("An Inconvenient Truth"), but in the last year or so, people have really started talking."