Sitting on the stool on the right side of this photo is an unassuming white form, but push the lever on it and you have a beast of a challenge — match the energy needs of an electric toaster by pedaling your hardest on an efficient bicycle generator. (more…)
Photos by Marlon Aldana
As the weather turns nippy in Oakland and the Rock The Bike takes a breather from work to get in the holiday spirit, we wanted to take a moment to share this note of gratitude.
We are thankful to all our customers who have helped us grow our business and find a stable location in Oakland. You have given us the foundation and stability to make a difference in our local community, to say yes when a local Climate Rally needs a sound system and doesn’t want to rent it from ye’ olde diesel powered sound co. (more…)
At the Bicycle Music Festival at Lake Merritt Amphitheater on Sunday September 20th, the audience will generate all the electricity needed for the sound system. Coming to Oakland for the 1st time, the festival has partnered with leading Climate Justice group 350 Bay Area and is the centerpiece of the 3rd annual Love Our Lake Day, which closes down streets around Lake Merritt for walking, biking, and community activities. The festival organizers wanted to create a Climate Concert where education on our global environmental issues can occur in a beautiful community setting that supports face-to-face interpersonal connection. Weaving art and music together with climate awareness, the event creates a space where participants can begin to take personal action within the movement.
San Francisco sprouted the very first Bicycle Music Festival in 2007, which has since inspired over a dozen small and large-scale festivals of its kind internationally. From Uruguay to Vancouver, Barcelona to Berlin, the idea of using human-powered technology to empower social change is a contagious one. And what better time than now? (more…)
Now you can host a competitive pedaling challenge at your event with this side-by-side competitive sLEDgehammer. It converts 100% of the riders’ muscle power to light and feels harder as more light stages turn on. The rider who sustains the highest Wattage level for 3 seconds and reaches the victory sequence first is the winner. We took it out to a party for the semiconductor industry last week and got dozens of people pedaling and competing, breathing and gritting their teeth in an evening-long series of heats to determine the strongest rider in the company.
Here’s a good view of the gear. The only thing out of view is the power-analyzing circuit that typically sits on a nearby table. The key elements shown are: 2 Generator Pros (bikes), 2 11′-tall sLEDgehammer light towers, cabling.
The BlendTec Wildside + XR pitcher now comes standard with our High Performance Upgrade for Fender Blenders. You can still buy Vitamix brand equivalent pitchers at the time of purchase or after, but they’re more expensive. Plus, we like the BlendTec pitcher better. Great news all around. Thanks BlendTec!
Since our earliest moments of Pedal Powered experimentation, I’ve been fascinated by how much sound comes from one pedaler’s efforts. I remember a 12-year-old powering my street performance at a charity bike event for an audience of 30-50 people in the early goings. He was into it! Not too hard, not too easy. Great sound out to about 20 feet from the speaker. The ratio of 1 pedaler for every 50-100 people at our events has roughly held as we’ve scaled up Rock The Bike’s full system to do larger events. At the Maker Faire in San Mateo this year, we brought an 18-bike system capable of entertaining over 1000 people, and at most times it was primarily powered by kids.
(click the image to enlarge)
What can I power with a Generator Pro or Electric Fender Blender Pro?
Most common uses:
AC Power — Use our Pedal Power Utility Box or create your own 24V Pedal Power system with a battery and inverter. Our Pedal Power Utility Box is a complete system that features:
USB Only: Our Cell Recharge Circuit and Cell Phone Recharge Desk both are capable of charging up to 8 devices at once.
LEDs (dumb): This low-cost activity is also fun and beautiful when done artfully. Wire 12V flexible LEDs in 24V series, 36V series, or 48V series or any combination of the above. When used in combination, the lower voltage lights turn on first, and the higher voltage LEDs will light only when you pedal fast enough. To prevent overvoltage conditions from damaging the lights, you have to use enough of them that the pedalers are sufficiently tired out trying to keep them on. The rule of thumb is that these lights consume about 1W per foot. Depending on the age group of your event / school / setting, your pedalers may be able to create up to 200-400W of power. If you want to challenge them and keep your LEDs cool, you may have to use that many feet of LED. If you choose 36 or 48V series wiring, this is less of a concern. Measure with a voltmeter and try to keep the LEDs under 150% of their rated voltage, especially for extended periods of time (more than a few seconds). You can also reduce the voltage spikes that the LEDs see by pairing them with a capacitor.
Ask about our LED kits!
LEDs (smart) : sLEDgehammer
Sound : 1 Bike / 1 Speaker
In terms of the above list, what’s the difference between a Roll Up, Generator Wheel, Electric Fender Blender Pro and Generator Pro?
The main difference is the Roll Up and Generator Wheel are capable of working well with 12v systems. The Electric Fender Blender Pro and the Generator Pro can technically be used with 12v systems, but the gearing will likely feel too hard. The Electric Fender Blender Pro and the Generator Pro are best suited to 24V systems.
We collaborated with Maker Faire to record and produce an album of Pedal Powered performances from the 2014 Maker Faire. These and some studio tracks laid down at our upstairs music studio Soul Graffiti make up a new full-length compilation. Click play below. To listen while browsing the rest of this site, right click here and select “Open in new tab”.
The musicians featured on this CD are all available for local events, so please take a listen and get inspired to put together a bill with Rock The Bike at your next event!
Props to RTB customer Mark Harris for this fun video demonstrating one fun way to enjoy bike blending.
In his blog, the “Transcendental Art of Bicycle Blender Touring”, Mark documents his travels with the Fender Blender Xtracycle, in which he pulls edible food from the side of the road, adds an ingredient or two (sometimes just water) and blends on the go. (more…)