Ever hopped in the bath with your bike? This guy did.
Ken Ferguson’s bathtub follies are totally famous on the internet
Interview by Tammy Thorne / Photos provided by Ken Ferguson
Full disclosure: Ken and I met when we were working together for a soulless tyrant in the financial district*. I knew we’d be friends when he exclaimed how much he loved the name dandyhorse – and that he rides everywhere. We're also both originally from rural environs, just trying to make our mark in the big city.
When we saw Ken’s Bunz bathtub antics on Instagram and Facebook and then in The Star and finally, BUZZFEED (the holy grail of internet fame) we had to reach out to him and ask him about his adventures… and why on earth he is doing this.
Turns out it really started on a whim to live a more positive, weird and wonderful life. Ferguson says he was tired of all the negativity he was seeing online and thought his project #bathtubsofbunz would provide more levity than the average cat video. He says that with the new xenophobic, racist, homophobic president, he really wanted to do something that shows the joy in the world. (And he’s got a point – a recent study showed that talking to strangers has a positive affect on mental health.)
This is not your normal cat video. Photos by Ken Ferguson via his Instagram @kennyfergy.
But what does he hope will come of the big splash he’s made on the internet and in strangers bathrooms? Nothing. He says he doubts anything – like a job – will come of all this fun, although he may co-host an episode with YouTube "star" Bathtub Bran and he’s had invites to come and bathe in Texas and the Netherlands. Ferguson says he’ll end his bathtub tour at the end of January, because, well, he’s got to find a job.
dandyhorse asked Ken to share some of the highlights from his Tour de tub.
How many jobs have you had in the last year?
I've had 7 jobs in the last year, most of them short term contracts. Many of them I worked at the same time and some were serving jobs combined with acting and clowning jobs. I also worked as an Eco Bike driver during TIFF. (Ken's report on the experience is coming soon to dandyhorsemagazine.com.)
What do all these jobs have in common?
All of them have an aspect of customer service.
What is your dream job?
I would love to be an actor in a comedy or a clown in Cirque Du Soleil, with some freedom in the creative process and some input into the lines and the work that I would be doing. I love to make people laugh and smile and break out of their normal paces.
Do you ride your bike to your tub locales?
I ride my bike everywhere I can! I have taken my bike on GO transit to get to a friend's wedding in Pickering and a friend's Doctorate party in Oakville. I've done Peterborough and Newmarket like this. Peterborough is actually quite well set up with lots of bike paths to utilize. That's the beauty about the train and bus lines we have. GO transit has bicycle racks on every one of their buses and has bike access on their trains too. Getting to these other cities with transit and then using your bike to move around once there saves money and gas, and cuts down on pollution. More people should do that.
As for my bathtub travels; yes. Almost every single one of them I have biked to. This winter has been really mild and although I'm disappointed in not having snow, because I can't snowboard, I can at least bike everywhere without the worry of slipping on ice. However, I still do bike during snowy and icy weather. I just switch my bike to a low riding cruiser so that I can keep my feet closer to the ground and brace myself more easily if I slip.
Radha Pithadia is the woman who had Ken over for his bath-with-bike.
Has Olivia Chow invited you over for a bath yet?
She hasn't. Neither has John Tory. But, Olivia did start following me on Instagram. Point 1, Olivia.
Have bikes been helpful in your search for jobs and fun?
Yes, they have created fun, definitely! I am usually quite happy on my bike and I love connecting with other cyclists and going for rides together. I think there's something about how your heart moves and reacts and connects to your brain and the rest of your body that makes you feel invigorated while riding. And this sense of movement reminds us of being children. We are so static as adults in Canada. Our cars do the moving. Our machines do the moving. Our chairs do the moving. But our bodies don't do the moving. We need to remember how to be a child! We need to move our bodies and stay active. Any time I bike, my thoughts are racing and I tend to settle my thoughts and opinions while riding. People that get physical exercise like running, or rowing, or dancing in their apartments are exercising all of the parts of their bodies and their intricate systems, and your mind is connected to that.
Bikes have definitely been helpful for jobs. I actually got a job with Eco Cab being a driver because of my biking experience. Also, as I said earlier, I use my bike to go everywhere, so I've biked to almost every job interview I've had in the past 6 years of living in Toronto. And with the new lanes on Bloor, Adelaide, and Richmond, I'm biking more on these streets and feeling safer. I worked an office job in the downtown core and it's an amazing and encouraging experience to be part of that early morning bicycle rush. Meeting up with so many other people at Bathurst and Adelaide's intersection and all riding together and keeping our city moving is something that I remember loving during that contract. I think it's super important to keep this city running smoothly to get more people out of their cars. Every time I go downtown, cars are blocking intersections and thus the streetcars, backing them up. They are belching out more pollution. They are making turns when they shouldn't be. And EVERYONE in them seems to be so angry. This is my observation as a driver, as a cyclist and a pedestrian. It creates such a dour mood in the grey, core. No wonder people think Toronto is unfriendly. People need to stop bringing their cars to the city and learning how to use transit or to bike. It would definitely lighten up the mood down there.
Do you think you'll work as an Eco Bike driver again next summer?
I probably won't because it's a heavy slog. You have a back up battery assist for going up hills, but you get super sweaty. Also, the season is in summer, so it's way hotter than normal and you burn through water fast. I always make sure to not buy bottled water though and bring a camel back. Think about all the garbage generated from just one person with bottled water. What a waste.
What is the meaning of life?
I think it's to have empathy, to try to live with a sense of adventure and silliness, to try to live without fear and without being wasteful, and always to ask why. So many people are complacent in their lives and they don't bother to ask "Why am I doing this?"And people make so many assumptions in the world and react to situations without really researching or questioning "Why did you say/do this?"I think we need some more understanding in this world and we need to talk more to strangers , acquaintances, friends, and family, more. With this bathtub project I'm realizing the importance of having conversations and keeping open dialogue. We can't discount someone's voice just because you don't agree with their opinion. We have to at least try to see where it's coming from. And while some people can be unreasonable, a lot of people make decisions out of fear: Fear of losing their jobs, homes, not being able to eat, not being safe. This is how a lot of the political right drums up the chorus and gets votes. We need to listen to these disaffected voices and to include them and take their concerns seriously. If you don't listen to each other, you get what is happening in the U.S. with the right and left both just calling each other idiots without a real dialogue towards understanding happening.
In general, we need to be nicer and listen more.
And as a note to our cycling community, we are getting a really bad rap for being assholes. Of course, there are plenty of people in cars that are assholes, but we have the power to sway opinion for the good AND the bad. You have a choice how to react to a driver and it doesn't have to be immediately in anger. Educate people in a calm way about the rules of the road, if you know the rules. You have the power to change people's perceptions of us!
Have fun and ride safe.
You can follow Ken’s bathtub fun on Instagram here.
*Note, the type/name of company has been removed and/or purposely left out to avoid any legal repercussions.
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