This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
For the past month, Eric Rich and Corbin Baldwin have regularly entertained Farmers Market shoppers with their piano music, but their unusual mode of transportation draws just as much attention.
Every Saturday morning, Rich and Baldwin hitch their upright grand piano to a bike and head through the streets of downtown Salt Lake City to Pioneer Park.
"The pianobike was an idea that I had and I looked it up on YouTube to see if people had done it yet," Rich said. "And yes, people have. I've been thinking about doing it for about a year."
He turned to his brother, handy with tools, for help. They created a design, and then welded together a piano trailer that connects via a trailer hitch attached underneath the bike's seat.
The musicians used to bike through the Trolley Square neigborhood to Pioneer Park. But recently, they've stored the piano at a friend's garage near The Gateway, which means less morning traffic and fewer inclines to negotiate.
On the road by 7:30 a.m., one of the musicians rides the bike, towing the piano, while the other rides along on a second bike, transporting a piano seat and a tip container.
Every trip, it seems, the musicians watch people take out their phones to snap shots of a man riding a bike and towing a 500-plus pound piano.
"A lot of people really like it," Rich said. "It's something they don't ordinarily see, and it takes them by surprise. We take a lot of space on the road. Generally when that happens when you're biking, people yell at you or honk and get mad." The novelty of their transport seems to excuse them from most drivers' road rage.
Once they arrive at the market, no unloading is needed. The piano bike is parked, and an old high seat is placed in front of the instrument. The two set out a stack of CDs with six songs on them, three performed by each pianist. A cardboard sign suggests a $5 donation.
Whoever hasn't been towing the piano that day starts playing the first set. On one recent Saturday, it was Rich, 25, who took up the instrument four years ago, and now composes his own songs.
About three years ago, Rich began taking lessons from Baldwin, 20, who classically trained and has been playing the piano since he was five.
The two hit it off, and have been playing and practicing together since. Between the two, they have collected a fleet of seven pianos. The one they transport via bike they acquired for $100.
During their performances, Baldwin sticks to the classics by Frederick Chopin and Franz Liszt, while Rich plays his own compositions.
Taking turns, they play for tips until 1 p.m., drawing market vendors and shoppers. Passers-by, with looks of intrigue or confusion, make their way to the spot where the music comes from. What they find is Rich or Baldwin, lost in the music they create on a journey they started with their pianobike.
Peddling my way?
R View our video of Eric Rich and Corbin Baldwin's pianobike at sltrib.com.