Going S is Touring and Biking Across America
By Regan Harvey
Jay Mobley and Hugh Yamada form Going S together, and they are going on a cross-country bike tour and hitting up many venues and college radios across America on the way. They started here in Boston, and WERS' Regan sat down to chat a bit.
Regan: You guys said the two of you planned this trip when you were back in college and that didn’t work out. I was wondering what kinds of things you changed this time around to make it work out and what you learned in the time between the two attempts that you’re going to use on your trip?
Jay Mobley: For me I think it’s where I’m at in my life that’s changed. I think I wasn’t willing to make a big enough commitment at the time, mostly like in terms of time. We were just coming out of college and we, well I, wanted to try and make my way a little bit on my own. In retrospect, this probably would have been a good way to launch into like [laughs] adulthood. But at the time I think committing five months, which is what we’re doing now, would have been too much to ask for me. In some ways it’s harder now because we’re more established in the places that we live, but in another way it’s like if we are gonna do it we have to just go on the road.
Hugh Yamada: And also we graduated at a little bit different times too, right? I actually graduated in December.
JM: Right, after me.
HY: So there was a gap for that too.
JM: And I had already sort of established myself in Northampton where I was living right after college.
So how did you choose your ‘S’ shaped tour path and what are some of the places you’re most excited to play in?
HY: So first we were looking at venues and stuff.
JM: Right and it seemed that a lot of the college radios we wanted to hit were in the midwest or sort of in the middle of the country, just east of the Mississippi. And the other thing, once we saw that, we immediately realized that if we headed South for the winter that would help too, so there’s sort of a practical thing to it. But like we said, we thought it would be a good story too, to not head straight across.
HY: Yeah and we wanted to stop by New Orleans too.
That’s gonna be fun.
JM: Yeah, New Orleans! So New Orleans, Nashville, Austin; those are a few places we’re excited to hit, definitely.
Have you guys ever been on a cross country trip before?
HY: I’ve done it in Japan actually. From North Hokkaido, like North Island to South Island. It took like one year, so I took my time and I like to travel long term. That’s one of the reasons why we took it for five months.
JM: And I’ve done some bicycle touring, but this is by far the largest thing I’ve ever done [laughs]. So I’ve been training for it for a while this year.
You said a portion of your proceeds are going to a place called Camp Fowler, which you said is near and dear to your heart. Could you tell me a little bit more about why you’ve chosen to support this camp and how you hope to help them?
JM: This is a camp I grew up going to, it’s in the Adirondacks, it’s a kids camp and it formed a lot of my best qualities as an adult. I worked there for a couple years and it’s a very welcoming place where they value every child that comes through and support the idea that you can be many things. There’s a very pluralist mentality there, which is something that’s really important to me. That, you know, we can be cyclists and musicians and mechanics and all of this. And that can be one person, you don’t have to be one thing. So I’m hoping that I can help get more kids to camp who don’t have the means otherwise.
Yeah, that’s really cool. So what has preparing for this trip been like and what has been the hardest thing and what’s been the most fun?
HY: The most fun part is just that it’s exciting to be doing this. Building a bicycle was a fun part. I broke my bicycle that I used to do the cross country in Japan. So it’s the same bicycle.
JM: Well the first half.
HY: Yeah yeah, the first half. So I brought it from Japan and Jay fixed it.
JM: It was sort of a last minute decision actually! It’s like a Dutch city bike sort of, it’s called a Mamachari in Japanese.
HY: So basically this Mamachari, usually you don’t take parts off.
JM: It’s built to last and if you run it into the ground you have to get a new bike. But we did not heed that advice and so we rebuilt his bike when it got here, in the last week and a half. So that was maybe one of the most fun parts for Hugh, one of the most challenging parts for me [laughs]. But I had fun building my bike too. I built my bike up from a dumpster. It was a frame I found in a dumpster and I built it up into an adventure bike. I think the hardest thing for me was probably making the commitment, taking the time off to do it, you know money is tight.
Same for you, Hugh?
HY: Not so much, for me it’s like I want to keep doing this so I have to think from now how to make it continue.
JM: Yeah he’s actually not planning on stopping when we get to L.A.
HY: Yeah, I’m not planning [laughs].
JM: He’s going to continue forever.
Finally, how did the two of you meet and why did you choose each other to do this trip with?
JM: Well we met in college, we were both music majors at Fredonia in Western New York, tiny little town.
HY: And somehow we both liked bicycles [laughs].
JM: I’m not really sure how we decided to go together, it just seemed... right. Hugh had this dream to do that.
JM: And probably we were talking at a bar late at night sometime. That’s certainly how it happened this time around! But I’m not sure how the initial idea became his and my thing in particular. But… it did! We share an adventurous spirit I think.
Well that’s all I have, thank you so much. Good luck!