Rock The Bike: BLOG

Update on advocacy and giving

Feb 12, 2017Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Update on advocacy and giving

2016 was a good year for us for giving — Rock The Bike was able to donate time, energy, and equipment to some awesome organizations and causes. Thank you to all our customers; your purchases make our operation stable and make this kind of direct social impact possible.

A perfect match between our products and a great movement appeared this year: Thanks to our longstanding relationships with devoted climate activists, including Mike Cobb, a bike-focused, direct-action-instigating, emergency-preparedness-loving, cargo-bike-modifying visionary, our engineer Jake Murray, and Adley Penner and Carolyn Herlehy of Bicicletas por la Paz (who we sponsored this year as part of the Pleasant Revolution tour), two of our bike generators made it to the main protest camp at Standing Rock in the fall.

Mike already had his Roll-Up Direct (a new RTB product, soon to be in the RTB online store), a gift for his Big Dummy from Paul coming out of a longtime friendship that predated Rock The Bike. “I knew he would do something cool with it,” says Paul, “and he told me he was going to Standing Rock with this thing — the next thing I knew, people were calling or emailing Rock The Bike saying they had seen it there, and then CNN did a piece on it.” Jake had friends going to Standing Rock, so we donated one through him as well. Both generators were set up in the main protest camp, Mike’s with a Recharge Station that could charge up to 20 cellphones at a time, and Jake’s made to connect directly to any 12V car battery so that pedalers could easily recharge these common sources of power at the camp. The Roll-Ups were meant to demonstrate that alternative energy is here and now — we need to transition to alternative energy now instead of protecting the moneyed interests of the fossil fuel empire.

“Thank you so much for getting those Roll-Ups out there – they were so positive! Especially on the colder days, people would gather around just to pedal and talk to each other.”

Steve Cook, audio engineer from Iowa City who saw the Roll-Ups in use at Standing Rock and got excited about using them in Iowa City

We donated a One Bike, One Speaker rental (with bike delivery, which we take pride in offering to local customers whether or not they pay) to Bicis del Pueblo, a community-based organization in San Francisco’s Excelsior District working to provide that district’s low-income youth and families with the knowledge, tools, and resources to incorporate bicycling into their everyday lives. They give people in the Excelsior access to quality used bikes and community riding events, and teach bike safety and repair. They used the OBOS to bring DJ music to their recent celebration of affordable housing victories. They’re interested in partnering with us to do some Pedal Power in San Francisco’s public schools.

Bike East Bay, which promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun, and accessible, also got a free rental. We donated a FB Pro rental with free local bike delivery to be auctioned off at their Biketopia annual fundraiser; it raised them $90.

We gave a Fender Blender Universale to our friends at the Pleasant Revolution, a group that leads self-supported bike music tours featuring live Pedal Powered music at tour stops (see interview recap of 2016 tour). They used it as a perk for their crowdfunding campaign.

We showed up with pro bono bikes and blenders and plenty of fruit at a STEAM fair put on by the Bayside STEM Academy at Bayside Middle School in San Mateo.

We said yes to giving away smoothies at an event at Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy, right across the street from Rock The Bike.

We did a discounted performance for Love Our Neighborhood Day here on San Pablo Avenue.

We brought our best Live on Bike rig up the hill to Nevada City in support of the Yuba River Bicycle Music Festival, where we got to roll with the Polish ambassador!

We always discount our event services for the climate justice movement, which in 2016 included several rallies with 350 Bay Area, part of the international 350 movement, and the Richmond event Our Power, put on by the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.

And to Rich City Rides, a Richmond bike advocacy group building community with at-risk kids, we donated a Yuba Mundo cargo bike and compatible bike blender.

If you are part of a nonprofit yourself, please note that we do a certain number of discounted and pro-bono appearances each year, and always like to hear about new initiatives that we’ve never encountered before. We also love to meet the people behind our old favorites, so don’t be shy if you’re looking for a fundraising partner, a conference activity, event services, or whatever. Just drop us a line and let us know the details.

BooLander, new custom tall tandem, hits the streets and the National Parks

Jan 23, 2017Posted by in Blog, Featured News | Comments Off on BooLander, new custom tall tandem, hits the streets and the National Parks

What’s up bicycle customizers, feast your eyes on the BooLander, the latest custom bike to hit the streets at Rock The Bike. 

The BooLander is a vertical tandem (riders are top / bottom versus the more common front / back arrangement) with optional swing-out ‘landers’ or ‘roots’, that stabilize the rig when mounting, dismounting, starting, and stopping. (more…)

1.7 Million Views! CNN Covers Rock The Bike’s Roll-Up Generator at Standing Rock

Dec 6, 2016Posted by in Blog, Featured News, Media, Roll Up Generator Stand | Comments Off on 1.7 Million Views! CNN Covers Rock The Bike’s Roll-Up Generator at Standing Rock

CNN sent journalist Sara Sidner to Standing Rock in North Dakota, though they don’t identify which camp they visited: Oceti Sakowin Camp, Rosebud Camp, or Sacred Stone Camp.

While walking around, Sara found a Roll-Up, our portable pedal-powered generator, brought to Standing Rock by friend/collaborator/co-conspirator Mike Cobb, and gave it a spin. Check out the video below:

 

Interview: RTB’s support of the 2016 Pleasant Revolution tour

Nov 30, 2016Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Interview: RTB’s support of the 2016 Pleasant Revolution tour

In summer 2016 we supported and rode with the Pleasant Revolution bike music tour of the West Coast. Here’s an interview in which Kipchoge Spencer, the founder of the Pleasant Revolution, asks RTB’s founder Paul Freedman ( a.k.a. Fossil Fool) about the experience. The photos are Paul’s.

KS: What made you want to join the tour?

PF: I’ve been taking myself on increasingly long summer bike tours for years and have always found it to be a high point of the summer. I knew I wanted to join for week or more when I heard about it. Just to be on bike tour was my main motivation. I also wanted to back up their purchase of our pedal powered gear.
KS: How long did you ride, days/miles? From where to where?

PF: I joined the crew on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia—they were already on tour. I met them at the Farmers Market when they were setting up for a Biketopia Music Festival. I stayed with them for two weeks, until Seattle, and then joined them again on the Sonoma coast of California for another stint. I think our biggest day of riding was 50-55 miles approaching Seattle. I felt it on the train ride home, I could barely walk!

I always like combining public transportation with bike touring. To meet up with them the first time, I took Amtrak to Seattle, a ferry to Victoria, B.C. and then biked from there to the Salt Spring ferry. The second time I was able to take a bus from San Francisco to the coast to meet up with them.

KS: You’ve toured with the Pleasant Revolution before, in 2010 in Spain. Except for Heather Normandale, one of the artists, this was a completely different crew this year. How did this one compare to the Pleasant Revolution that the Ginger Ninjas led?
PF: Two of the main differences were the consensus decision making process and the stated goal of it being a women led tour.  (Although that seemed a little contradictory—being consensus on the one hand but “women led” on the other). In Spain I had seen you leading the tour and everyone else playing their supporting roles.
The level of difficulty seemed lower this time to me on the parts I was on. But that’s not a fair comparison because when I joined in Spain you were in the heart of the Pyrenees and had been riding for months.
There were a lot of first time riders, folks who’d never been on a bike tour before, who began as musicians much more than bike riders. A really strong value was that the tour be a group uplifting process. It was more nurturing and focused on empowerment of every rider.

Daily meditation practice in Port Angeles. Note the huge logging truck!

I felt that in the participation at the shows, where there was a strong value that everyone should have a voice and a purpose. Like, for instance, there was a dedicated MC (Nate) and there were circus elements and clowning for non-musicians (Nicky and Mega).
When I joined in Europe there were some particular days when I felt like it was a really athletic endeavor. Like the day we went probably 60 miles, mostly on dirt, through twelve pitch black old railroad tunnels and over a small mountain and I had lots of flats, too. That time I had a fully loaded cargo bike with sound equipment and group gear, and this time I had a pretty easy experience with a titanium road bike and very little group gear, since I knew the the tour had the load carrying bases covered without my help.
Playing shows in North America was really different than Europe. More organizing and pre-planning was needed here, whereas we did more impromptu gigs in Europe where we’d just show up in a city square, set up and play. I think that was both because of the personalities on this tour and the laws. This crew didn’t want to get hassled or forced to stop playing and they did the pre-work to get permission and make sure it didn’t happen.
KS: Favorite day of riding?
PF: I had a couple. The favorite moment was moving towards Port Townsend, Washington in the evening, on the 20.

Dusk ride toward Port Townsend.

I volunteered to go in back because I had a strong taillight and we’d been warned about truck traffic on that road. The group was staying very tight, moving steadily up a 4 mile hill together. There were some big logging trucks that passed us; they were all pretty respectful but it was a big deal when we got passed as it took them a couple minutes to pass us all. During that time you’d hear them rumbling and you’d hear the group calling out to each other to stay safe. I was feeling the teamwork and the human powered nature of what we were doing, and the comparison to the fossil fuel and car culture directly to our left. Then the truck would drop out of site and we’d be riding through a quiet forest at dusk again.

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Combining RTB activities to engage crowds at conventions and other large events

Sep 22, 2016Posted by in Blog, Featured News, Generator Pro, Pedal Powered Stage Gear, sLEDgehammer | Comments Off on Combining RTB activities to engage crowds at conventions and other large events

This latest video, shot by our friend and partner, Natan Lawson of Wheely Good Smoothies in Baltimore, shows how eight of our rental activities created a large cohesive space with a large exhibit at the recent Democratic National Convention in Philly.

 

Producers of large events are used to working in large spaces. Spaces that are typically empty and in need of shape, definition and life when they arrive. Just as it is the job of the wedding producer to remember the flowers, it is the job of our customers and rental clients to plan for both the visual impact and the function of everything in their spaces. (more…)

Where Can I Buy Rock The Bike Products Outside of the United States?

Sep 2, 2016Posted by in Blog, FAQ, Fender Blender Bike Blenders from Rock the Bike, Fender Blender Pro | Comments Off on Where Can I Buy Rock The Bike Products Outside of the United States?

If you are located outside of the United States, you can still order a Fender Blender Pro from us! However, perhaps you might want to check for an official Rock The Bike dealer near to you! Use our interactive map to find a dealer in your home region!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Oakland recognizes RTB

Aug 18, 2016Posted by in Blog, Featured News | Comments Off on Hear ye! Hear ye! Oakland recognizes RTB

proclamation pic

“Whereas, Rock The Bike, located at 6323 San Pablo Avenue in North Oakland, and founded and owned by Paul Freedman, cares deeply about motivating others through fun activities to take action to help with the ongoing climate change crisis . . . . Whereas, everyone who pedals out a smoothie on a Fender Blender gets to feel the thrill of converting their muscle power to usable energy . . . . and Whereas the Oakland City Council wishes to recognize Rock The Bike, outstanding Oakland small business for the key role that they play in keeping our economy strong; now, therefore, be it . . . resolved that the Oakland City Council sincerely appreciates and extends a heartfelt thanks to Rock The Bike, and to all the small businesses located within the City limits for their investment in Oakland.”

Every year, as part of National Small Business Week, the Oakland City Council recognizes an exemplary business in each of the council districts, and this year Rock The Bike was one of them. (more…)

Maker Faire May 20th-22nd

May 17, 2016Posted by in Featured News, Features, Music, One Bike One Speaker, One Bike One Speaker Press, One Bike One Speaker Related Products, Pedal Power Education Kit Universale, Pedal Power Education Kit Xtracycle, Rides and Events, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Maker Faire May 20th-22nd

Maker Faire 2016 is happening May 20th – 22nd at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. Join us and spread the word with our Facebook invite HERE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1751337998445195/

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Maker Faire 2015

Rock The Bike is pleased to announce it’s umpteenth year involved in creating Pedal Powered Music offerings for multiple days at the Maker Faire of San Mateo. This event has grown to be one of the largest Maker Faires in the country, boasting ten’s of thousands of participants per day, and new technology and inspirations to make your mind bend. Rock The Bike has been a huge part of creating and inspiring innovation at the Maker’s Faire and Bay Area, through pedal powered concerts that make us think of where our power is coming from, and how we might want to use our time and energy more efficiently as an individual or community. So let’s get to it! Here is the line-up and details of the Bike ride down to Maker’s Faire 2016:
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Dominique Christina performs “The Praise Poem” at Bicycle Music Festival 2015

Feb 11, 2016Posted by in Blog, Featured News | Comments Off on Dominique Christina performs “The Praise Poem” at Bicycle Music Festival 2015

It was one of the first spoken word performances at a Bicycle Music Festival and the first we’ve featured in a highlight video. The performance of a poem about being a woman is poignantly set on the Climate Justice! banner, a reminder of how our movements are connected.

If you love the poem as much as we do, check out Dominique Christina’s other videos and web site.

The Pedal Powered Stage was loud and clear that day with 24 Generators in beautiful rainbow formation. The volunteer crew of Bicycle Music Festival transported all the gear you see (with the exception of the elevated stage) by bicycle. The video shows a few short snippets of this huge bicycle roadying effort.

Car Free Day in Dubai pulls in new levels of participation with Bike Blending

Feb 10, 2016Posted by in Blog, Featured News, Fender Blender Pro | Comments Off on Car Free Day in Dubai pulls in new levels of participation with Bike Blending

Bike Blenders in Dubai at Car Free Day

The Dubai Municipality’s Environmental Awareness Team took it to the people on Kite Beach as part of Car Free Day, an effort to pull over 30,000 private and government cars off the roads on February 21. Their custom branded Fender Blender Pros were the focus of their well-organized activation, drawing in people to experience the joy of pedaling, and then drink the tasty results of their efforts. The man on the left raising his hand is a ‘coach‘ — a crew member responsible for helping people on and off the bikes, pulling them in to the activity, raising or lowering the seat so they get maximum efficiency from their muscles, and cheering for them when they put their all into the pedals.

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