The 6th Annual San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival was our biggest ever and a milestone for our grassroots Human Powered Music Fest. Many thanks to the bands, fans, and our huge volunteer crew. Any one of the 3 phases of the day would have been epic enough. But we had a beautiful, idyllic daytime music festival in the park, an outrageous mobile party, and a post-modern urban block party all in one day. Daytime: 500+ people in a meadow, enjoying live music in the beautiful sunshine… Followed by a fire-truck dodging, freeway underpass screaming, Fossil Fooling LiveOnBike session, with captain Ariel using no electric assist to pull 3 performers and audio gear weighing 250 pounds on our Mobile Stage… Followed by a street party with an elevated stage, a glowing Bike Tree, and a 3-person pedal powered stage lighting system.
We had 19 pedalers at the peak in Golden Gate Park! Plenty of power for our 10000-Watt sound system to run. In the distance you can see our Pedal Powered Line Array hanging from its bamboo tripod.
We mobilized the entire festival on an outrageous LiveOnBike ride with yours truly, Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper, performing with two bandmates on an elevated Mobile Stage towed by a Mundo. Above: the view from the Mobile Stage.
Our biggest event of the year is coming up. Hope to see you there! Click the poster image for more details on the world’s largest human powered music festival. Many thanks Hugh D’Andrade for the beautiful poster image.
There’s a suite available next door to our metalshop in our Berkeley workshop community, which also includes the East Bay Bike Coalition. “Unit A” has good light from its large glass doors and skylights, concrete floor, high ceilings in most of the space, lots of built in storage, a sink, gas heater for the winter, and access to a shared bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor shower. Our landlord has expressed a high priority on finding a new tenant within the bicycle field, so that we can continue to develop a thriving business community at Channing Way. There is ample bike parking in the large courtyard space and we are on a well-trafficked bicycle boulevard.
The workshop community has the honor of being the only structure zoned for ‘Light Industrial’ in this otherwise residential neighborhood. This makes it ideal for inventors, frame builders, seamsters and seamstresses, or fabricators. We are close to good food and 3 BART stations.
Unit A also has access to our metal shop seen below. Depending on the nature of your skills, needs, and experience, you can make an arrangement with us and the landlord to use the tools in the metal shop. Perhaps you can share your skills!
The highlights are:
- Large lathe
- Mill with digital readout. (Not CNC)
- Large layout table
- TIG Welder
- Large band saw
- Keith Bontrager bicycle frame jig
Asking price is $1200/month for Unit A. Please contact landlord Nick Bertoni, 510-517-9991 or Rock The Bike, 510-548-2453, for a tour.
We want to feel the love at all of our events in 2012 and are willing to let some event opportunities go if they are shaping up to be foofy.
Foofy: Excessively frilly or frou-frou, typically in a manner calculated to attract attention to an otherwise unremarkable person or event. Source: Wiktionary
In the context of Pedal Powered events, foofy is synonymous with greenwashing, needless burning of Fossil Fuels to get there, or huge expense of resources to amplify a vague message.
For 2012, we vow: No More Foofy or Unattended Gigs!
We’re grateful to everyone who has reached out to us about event opportunities. And we don’t want to point fingers. But those on the crew who’ve been there week after week know we’ve had some foofy gigs in the mix this past year. We took almost all the events that came our way in the past year, turning down only an employee event for a major oil company. In 2012 we want to apply a stricter standard to avoid taking gigs that waste our time or use our Pedal Power to further a lame cause. This will hopefully save our team’s energy and resources to give our all to the products and events we believe in.
If several of the questions below raise a flag , that’s a clear sign this gig is likely to be foofy. Avoid it!
Would we be proud to announce it in our newsletter?
Are we comfortable doing it? In order to get the gig, do we need to promise something we’ve never done at an event before?
Does this event producer / client have a message? And is it a message we can get behind?
The message doesn’t need to be the focus of the event. For example, our music events don’t always have a strong message, and they’re still worth doing.
Do we respect the planners / organizers and their work in the community?
Do we need to burn fossil fuels to get there? This is a big one. We did a lot of truck and airplane gigs in 2011. Using Fossil Fuels to get to a gig raises the bar on everything else. We need to reach a good number of people in a real way to make up for burning
Do we get to work with kids? Major trump card! Working with kids makes almost everything else passable.
Does the client care about the event enough to want to be there in person? Enough to pedal? At many of our events, we are left to hold it down and the event contact / client is busy doing something else. Not a deal braker on its own but if 2-3 other flags are up, then this might make the gig unworkable.
No more unattended gigs. We will work to get our people there!
OK, so we are only going to do events we believe in. Now we want to avoid another pitfall: unattended gigs. There were too many events in 2011 that had awesome music, a great message, and not enough people! We will use every tool in our bag to get our friends and people out. If you want to make sure you hear about these events, join our Facebook page, and our newsletter using the icons above.
Bike Fair at Sproul Plaza. Awesome event, great music and dancing, but only 5-10 people from our community showed up beyond our crew who were working the event. Let’s grow that number next year so that we can have more great dance moments like these at our Pedal Powered events.
What follows is an explanation of the key elements of a Pedal Powered Stage. If you are ready to buy individual components, please see the Pedal Powered Stage products section of our online store. If you’d like a custom quote for a Pedal Powered Stage, please start by emailing us with the answers to our Pedal Powered Stage questionnaire.
Pedal Power Generators:
Above, two Mundo 500 generators in use at the Eugene Bicycle Music Festival. The rear wheel is elevated off the ground so that you can pedal in place and generate power.
How many? You will need enough bicycle generators that the pedaling effort per person is approx. 50-75 Watts. Based on our experience at events, 50-75 Watts is the amount that an average audience member can continuously provide. You should also have ‘ringer pedalers’ in your crew. Ringer pedalers are strong racer or everyday commuting cyclists who can contribute up to 4 times more than an average pedaler. Whether you’re relying on ringers or the GP (General Public), you’ll need to provide enough bikes that the effort can be shared.
In order to make Pedal Power fun and inspiring, your goal should be to have the lowest ‘overhead’ possible. Overhead is how much Wattage your system draws when no music is playing. Using energy intensive devices like rack-mount audio gear, subwoofers, large guitar and bass amps, laptops, and lights can add significant Wattage to your system’s overhead. If you already know what devices you want to run, start by measuring their Wattage with a Kill-A-Watt. Having a lower overhead means that more of your pedalers’ energy goes into music, not keeping devices on.
If you are planning to use our Modified JBL PRX Loudspeakers, you can follow this table to estimate the crowd size possible for a given number of pedalers. These numbers are for danceable levels of music and assume a favorable overhead.
Number of Pedalers
Estimated Crowd Size Possible in an Outdoor Location
200-500 (with One Bike / One Speaker)
2000+ We haven’t had enough chances to test at these power levels.