From our vantage point the events world seems to be ever growing, and out of passion for spreading our bike message and in the interest of providing the best gear we can to our customers, we continue to test our activities with larger crowds. In this post we’ll share some of what we’ve learned about bringing Bike Blending and Pedal Powered music to larger events.
When we work at this scale we now go through a complete process that includes applying for a temporary health permit (ideally 2-3 weeks ahead of time to avoid late fees). The Health Permit process will vary in different cities, but in Oakland, it involves bringing a 3-bin wash station, a hot water insulated jug, enough cooler space to separate servable ice (ice that goes in smoothies) from the ice used to keep other ingredients cold. The enclosed tent shown above is also required. It also helps draw attention and support the beautiful hand-sewn sign.
Above: we set up our smoothie booth at the Maker Faire in San Mateo. Our crew of 3 served about 400 smoothies in 7 hours. Above: Carolina gives the ‘countdown’ to a teenager, encouraging him to crank out 5 more seconds of high energy pedaling.
Across the Bay, our crew of 4 entertained thousands of runners at the finish line of the SF Half Marathon, with a 5-bike, 4-speaker sound system.read more
Ryan Carpenter gets the Sharks pedaling healthy smoothies as he pitches his Pedal Powered smoothie carts on National TV.
“No,” said Ryan “that’s the beauty of it!”
Having produced large smoothie booths at events ourselves, we know that Bike Blending doesn’t hold you back from quenching the thirst of a crowd. You just need to have an efficient system, a good team, and plenty of spare pitchers. Although Ryan didn’t lure the Sharks into making an investment, he successfully defended Pedal Power!read more
It is with great hope and excitement that we invite you to the Open House of our beautiful new headquarters in the Golden Gate District of Oakland, CA. The occasion will also mark the celebration of our 10th Birthday. We have been in business since September 2003 and are in our 10th year of providing products and services that combine our love of bikes, music, the earth, food, community, and education.
As our new decade begins we continue taking part in the environmental transformation and awakening happening right now on the planet. How can we resist environmental degradation and transition to a sustainable future? What types of changes do we need to make? We believe that our offerings are helping everyday people ask and answer those questions with joy, humor, and physical involvement. More…
With viewcounts racking up, Chobani’s Team USA Experience is officially going viral. 30 everyday athletes are introduced into a new environment and invited to pedal to power an incredible spin class that unfolds before them with live music, interactive LED art, and a huge hillside projection. Rock The Bike produced the Pedal Power Spin Class system and the interactive lighting: per-bike LED strips that responded to individual pedaling effort, and a 16′ LED mandala. The 4-speaker sound system was the same we use at our Pedal Powered DJ events and medium-sized concerts. You can see the all important Pedalometer (the light tube that shows pedalers how hard to pedal) and two of our generators: the Generator Pro and the Generator Wheel and stand combo.
Here’s a Behind-the-Scenes look that shows our experience of producing the Spin Class. You can follow the captions and dialogue to see how we recognized and overcame one of our main technical challenges: too much power. More…read more
A look at the workshops the Community MVPs have done with Brainfood‘s very own bike blender.
As the President/CEO of Youth Service America said, “The smoothie tasted even better knowing that I contributed to it.”
Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization in Washington, DC. Using food as a tool, Brainfood builds life skills and promotes healthy living in a fun and safe environment. They are using the Fender Blender Universale Stationary Kit for their workshops.read more
Ecochella was a student-produced live music event on the UCLA campus that was completely bike-powered thanks to our Pedal Powered Stage. We drove down to LA in a loaned pickup truck, carrying with us a 12-bike system ready for an audience of up to 1000 students.
The size ended up closer to 500, but the cool part was how engaged those students were. We had solid Pedal Power, great music, and a climactic all-up-front closer, the Dustbowl Revival. Hats off to student organizer Rachel Woods-Robinson for wanting to bring a human powered concert to UCLA. Check out the videos below.
Many colleges and Universities produce some type of Spring Fling concert on campus. By involving Human Power, the campuses can take advantage of a huge learning opportunity. Above, a dynamic sign shows how much Wattage has been generated by students so far.
More photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockthebike/sets/72157633641398367/with/8813100129/
More videos:read more
Bike Blenders growing in popularity and variety.
Above: Wheely Good Smoothies in Baltimore continues to dazzle at farmers markets with their customized Fender Blenders. The newest is their Rainbow Fish (using the Fender Blender Pro as the base).
Bike Blenders continue to be a force for good, both out in the world and in our business. Good for business because of the amazing outreach that happens each time our customers use their blenders in the community. Thank you, we really appreciate it! We’re seeing strong interest and even fellow human power entrepreneurs, i.e. competition, in the UK and Australia. There is an increasing acceptance among event people and educators that bike blenders work: they’re reliable, fun, engaging, and educational, and you get to nourish people with thick, healthy, tangy smoothies and other treats.
It’s an exciting time for innovation on Bike Blenders at RTB as well. We’re stoked to be working with BlendTec on a new Fender Blender (BlendTec) line. High performance, American-made, and with a mission that resonates with ours, the Utah-based company (both manufacturing and design / HQ) are pedal powering their very own Fender Blender Pro (BlendTec) and raving about it.
“We’ve been getting an awesome response all around internally and externally!” sayeth BlendTec.
Demolding wave guides. Each of the slots is at a slightly different angle, allowing the 6 tweeters to reach different parts of the crowd. Photo: Mike Cobb.
It’s always exciting when you move from the brainstorming and drawing phases of a custom project into the hands-on, smelly, goopy, dusty build phase. That’s happening right now for a project that could hopefully have a big impact on how we do our largest Pedal Powered concerts. It doesn’t have a concise name at the moment, so I’ll call it the 3000-person Pedal Powered Concert System that Fits into a Briefcase. Another name I’m considering is “America’s Concert” in honor of the AC72 America’s Cup boats that partially inspired it. It’s also inspired by Fukishima & Global Warming, Bike Party, James Bond, and Rube Goldberg.
It’s a new way to reduce the volume and weight of our 12-speaker concert PA system, using ultralight materials and a stacking / nesting / Russian Dolls redesign of the loudspeaker cabinets.
Loudspeakers contain lots of air. Air is what allows them to reproduce low frequencies like bass notes and the beat of dance music. But it means that they take up lots of space.
Pamela Parker’s pedal board at the Peace Day SF rally. Photo: Nio.
OK, so you have a device or set of devices in mind (like a laptop and projector) and you want to know whether it’s possible to power them with people on bike generators. Here are the steps to figure it out:
First you need to measure the power consumption of the device you want to power. There are two ways to do this. You can read the writing on the product OR you can actually measure it using a device like the Kill A Watt. The second way is better for two reasons: It’s more educational and fun, and some product ratings are approximate.Some products use different amounts of power at different settings. For example, a loudspeaker will use way less power than its rating if you’re listening to music at moderate levels. So get yourself a Kill A Watt and get scientific!
Above: A Kill A Watt in use. Connect it to the wall, then connect your device(s) to it, and read the Wattage number. Careful to switch to Watt mode. The device may default to showing Volts. If the reading is very close to 110, then you are probably reading Volts (USA AC power voltage is 110). Look carefully and the Watt mode will have the units “Watt” next to the reading.
Next: Visualize what types of pedalers you are expecting at your event. The Wattage you can expect per person will change depending on what types of people are pedaling! This is common sense: a competitive cyclist can generate more power than a 3rd grader. More…read more
When we heard 350.org was gathering 500 climate justice activists in Istanbul for the Global Power Shift conference in June, we offered to loan them our latest and simplest yet Pedal Power system, “One Bike / One Speaker” . Since several of the organizers were coming from the Bay Area, we reduced our smallest system to two boxes, both within airline regulations for checked baggage, bringing the shipping cost to 0. We met up with two of the organizers to hand off the two boxes, one at a BART station and one at our shop. 350.org would have to supply a bike in Istanbul and swap the rear wheel for the lightweight generator wheel we provided. We supplied detailed setup info to ensure the system would get good use. Next: wait for update.
Update from Kevin a few days into GPS: “Hey! Just saying it’s rocking. We did a 500 person plenary outside which was great, and its become a staple for our daily announcements. Next up, the Open Mic…”
The photos show that this One Bike system was able to amplify music and speech for the entire conference.