would you ride on a bicycle with your violin?

August 27, 2016 at 02:23 PM · Hello,

I have recently bought a new case for my violin, and I do feel secure walking in the rain with it.

My main method of transportation is walking. From where I live to my campus is about 3km. This is a 15 mins walk, or 3mins cycling time, but I NEVER went on a bicycle while carrying my violin.

As September is around the corner, I will be forced to find another method of transportation other than walking, as I will have to commute between 2 different campuses, which are 8km away from each other.

The joke is, that in-between classes time is 15 mins, during rush hour, which means public transportation and driving are not viable options.

In this case I have a few options:1. I leave the violin home and take my bike

2. I leave the violin in my shared office, and take my bike.

3. I go for a ride with the violin.

Last year, I fell off of my bike due to a miniature sink-hole swallowing my front wheel, and I destroyed everything inside my backpack, bent the bike wheels and got myself a concussion. I think even if I were carrying my violin, even in an armoured case, the violin would've been damaged in some sort of way. My average riding speed is about 40km/hr.

I'm questioning now, will YOU take your violin on a bicycle ride?

Replies (33)

August 27, 2016 at 03:37 PM · Are you the same guy who has broken several bones and such whilst doing various "extreme" sports? If so I recommend against the rocket-propelled unicycle you're building in your garage.

Seriously, get the Joey for your violin and panniers for your other stuff. And slow down. It's one thing to bust yourself up, but if you hit a pedestrian going 40 km/hr on your bike, you're going to prison. You don't always have to do everything the craziest possible way.

August 27, 2016 at 03:38 PM · I don't think I would ever. Convenience is the enemy of security, and it is just not worth the damage. Go with option 1.

August 27, 2016 at 04:14 PM · Oh, no, never!

Nevermind that where I live it has one of the highest rates of cyclists getting hit by cars, I would not take my instruments on a two-wheel ride regardless!

Steven, is your violin insured? Might be something worth looking into.

August 27, 2016 at 04:26 PM · I've got the Joey and I've taken my violin all around town on my 50-cc scooter. The one thing about the Joey is that it holds your violin up relatively high, which raises your center of mass. So it *will* make handling somewhat more difficult on a bicycle. On my scooter, which weighs 150 pounds by itself, the only issue is that the top of my violin bumps up against the back of my helmet, which is a Scorpion motorcycle helmet. This could be an issue too, so you do have to try it. And if you do insure your violin (e.g., as a rider on your renter's policy), make sure it is covered if stolen from your car or your workplace office. That's not the case with all policies. I have Allstate and my violin is covered everywhere.

August 27, 2016 at 05:28 PM · I ride my bike to rehearsal sometimes when I'm in Colorado for the summer. It's never been a problem, not even when I fell last month--I was very banged up but my violin wasn't even out of tune. I have a couple of colleagues who ride to rehearsal here sometimes.

I just lengthen the backpack straps to the maximum possible so the violin doesn't bump up against my helmet.

August 27, 2016 at 05:48 PM · 40km/hour = 24.8m/hour. What makes you think your going that fast? Do you always ride downhill? In both directions? Anyway, I bicycle with my Shih Tzu (dog) in a carrier on the back of my bike. She has separation anxiety and it's hard to leave her behind. She loves it anyway. People bicycle with their small children in carriers. Is your violin more valuable than that? Slow down a bit.

August 27, 2016 at 06:36 PM · Mark, I keep sensors for the speed attached to my helmet, and I ride along a path along the canal in Ottawa.

Everytime I am on the bicycle, I move as fast as I can to break my previous record in speed.

As for insuring my violin, I am yet to be successful finding a company that will insure my violin everywhere. Closest thing I had to it was to attach it to my car insurance, and the policy of course extended as far as confines of my car.

August 27, 2016 at 06:44 PM · Maybe focus more on safety and less on speed if you're concerned about your instrument?

Look into specialty instrument insurance instead of trying to attach it to a homeowner or car insurance - Clarion, Heritage, and Anderson are a few companies in the US. Having instruments on homeowners or rental policies can get complicated if you have to claim, since those companies generally don't understand that eg the instrument's value doesn't depreciate with age.

August 27, 2016 at 06:51 PM · I know a top violinist (21 years old, but incredibly great) where I live and he always rides his bike with his violin on his back. And he's fast, damn, he's always going very fast. I'd say that unless you have a really bad violin case, there shouldn't be a problem.

August 27, 2016 at 07:47 PM · I work in occupational health and safety and your biking is nuts. I ask myself, what is the point? What is a little number on a sensor compared to your life? To the life of a stranger? I deal with this every day at work. What is the purpose of having such a high tolerance of risk? Generally it's ignorance to the dangers involved in such things.

Anyway, I know that's not the purpose of this post. I live in Canada, as I gather you do as well, and I use Square One Insurance. They cover my gear inside my house and out. I don't have my violin covered, but I pay $5 extra a month to cover my $20,000 in camera gear. (Which I may sell to buy a violin eventually.... hmmm...)

Check them out.

August 27, 2016 at 08:10 PM · Well, just to time myself, I biked the commuting distance without the violin today. It took me 17 minutes from building-to-building. I'm already behind schedule in terms of what my schedule allows.

August 27, 2016 at 08:35 PM · Bycicles are dangerous.... a cellist of the Gewandhaus Leipzig died recently due to a bike accident.

As a maker I find it very dangerous... if you want to do so, get a very strong case and have a good insurance.

August 27, 2016 at 08:42 PM · Steven - We are waiting for you to make a transporter.


August 27, 2016 at 08:43 PM · Steven - We are waiting for you to make a transporter.


August 27, 2016 at 09:24 PM · Oh David,


Just give us physicists 40 years + 200 nuclear reactors + population of earth x $100US, and we'll be there.

I've actually recently went to a seminar about limiting factors of research. The speaker calculated how much power we use just to maintain a moderate super computer. I think each institute should have their own power plant.

That aside, I'm waiting materials engineers to build powered-torque enforced protective cases. Or certain weapons companies to release their technology for commercial use.

I have seen some very impressive protection technology, I wish they were commercialized and used for violin cases.

August 27, 2016 at 11:29 PM · Steven. If you are not careful, the next post might be, "How I rode my bicycle ON my violin..."

Cheers Carlo

August 27, 2016 at 11:41 PM · > I'm questioning now, will YOU take your violin on a bicycle ride?

No. Well, depends on where. Not in a city with tons of traffic. And only if the violin costs less than my bike.

August 27, 2016 at 11:48 PM · Get a BAM case? :)

August 28, 2016 at 03:28 AM · Yes, specialty musical instrument insurance is the way to go. They also recognize that sometimes repairing damage to an instrument isn't what you want; repairs can change the sound of an instrument, and they get that sometimes you'd just rather have the money to go buy something else, and they can take the instrument and deal with the repair and sale of it.

August 28, 2016 at 05:56 AM · Specialty musical instrument insurance is rather expensive if your instrument is of modest value. Heritage, the company I use has a minimum amount of coverage, $30,000 I believe. So if your instrument cost less than that it would only be covered for its actual value, but you'd have to pay for $30,000 worth of coverage.

August 28, 2016 at 07:09 AM · Breaking the case and going for insurance is not an option. I suggest You take bumpy rides like easy downhill, and then going with your instrument is better.

I got a crazy friend, who made us going in front of traffic without light in the evening in Budapest. I would no do that , it was fun :)

I plan to ride a bike with a good case :) Just be careful :) You're worth more than our instrument, don't forget that ! :)

getting the wheels evened out, so you can roll smoothly and comfortably relaxed is essential :)

August 28, 2016 at 08:40 PM · Ride a bike with a violin?


But with a viola.......


August 29, 2016 at 09:29 AM · I rode a bike with violin for many years. Including when I had graduated to the situation where my violin was worth more than the bike. I was careful, well-lit (in the dark), restrained my speed, especially downhill, and had no incidents I can recall.

August 29, 2016 at 02:52 PM · I do it all the time around university - just make sure to stick some high visibility reflective strips onto your case. Haven't had any problems; as long as you're not a maniac on the roads then you'll be fine.

August 29, 2016 at 03:29 PM · I'm regularly riding a bike with my violin - no problems at all, and I also see fellow cycling violinists all the time.

Always a fun thing to see are cellists and their cases on recumbent bikes, I have seen this more than once. Makes me glad my instrument isn't quite as unwieldy, though.

August 29, 2016 at 04:39 PM · Not sure about that (wielding), but it seeeeems looogical ;-)

Reflective strips? Good idea, and when in the dark, you can leave it behind :)

August 31, 2016 at 11:31 AM · @Paul What's the matter with 40kph biking on the streets? Sounds like a fairly normal pace equal to or less than the cars.

Now I agree that op shouldn't ride with his violin at 40kph but...

September 1, 2016 at 11:03 AM · I agree with Bailey, 40kph is generally not that fast on the right bike. I regularly average 35kph on my road bike and it doesn't feel particularly dangerous. I can safely average 40kph over short distances, and on the right roads (e.g. long and straight, good visibility from in front and behind). Corey - part of the reason is the thrill of pushing yourself physically on a regular basis - minimizing risk is not the only route to a happy life.

However, when carrying my instrument I wouldn't go that speed as a crash would tend to have a very high impact - my case is good, but I wouldn't feel 100% sure that the instrument would get damaged, and I don't want to test it!

With my violin, I generally ride my mountain bike - so sitting up more - at about 20kph.

September 1, 2016 at 03:24 PM · This is where I produce my age card! I never ride a bike now; it's far too dangerous because the city where I live is one of the two worst in the UK for traffic congestion. I'm quite happy to walk or use public transport, and avoid driving in town whenever I can.

September 1, 2016 at 04:56 PM · Steven, check out Bam Hightech cases. Quite expensive but very strong (and relatively light weight). Uses layers of carbon fiber and super-strong plastic foam. I doubt it would withstand being run over by a car but I'm pretty sure it can handle falling off a bike.

Another option is to get an inexpensive 2nd fiddle that you don't have to worry about. Decent (and, in my experience, sometimes VERY good) Chinese workshop fiddles can be had on Ebay for $150-350.

September 1, 2016 at 07:24 PM · Thomas, I actually recently purchased a GEWA Jaeger case, which I think is pretty solid.

As for 2nd instrument... Please don't get me started, I've went through over 10 of them, including 2 electric violins and 1 viola.

September 4, 2016 at 01:41 PM · Do you really walk 3 km in 15 minutes? Must look like a Charly Chaplin film at double speed.

September 4, 2016 at 02:37 PM · Seems like you have set up a schedule that is not workable. I don't really have an opinion on biking with your violin, but I would suggest that you reschedule your classes or move so you don't have to risk your instrument and your life to get to class on time. Maybe not viable for this semester but certainly something to strive for next semester. Good luck.

Our Kokopelli
Please support Violinist.com
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign.

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Connolly Music

Corilon Violins

15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, Poznań, 8-23 October 2016

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases



Heifetz International Music Institute

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop