Rock The Bike: BLOG

Many thanks San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival: World’s largest Human Powered Music Fest.

Jul 6, 2012Posted by in Blog, Featured News, Ice Cream Bike, Ice Cream Bike Pedal Powered Ice Cream Maker, LED Panels, Modified JBL Loudspeakers, Pedal Power Utility Box, Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels, Pedalometer | Comments Off


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.

Rupa & The April Fishes perform at Golden Gate Park’s Log Cabin Meadow. Photo: Volker Neumann.

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.

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The suite next to the metalshop in our Berkeley workshop community is available!

Jun 9, 2012Posted by in Blog | Comments Off




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.

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Bike Blenders, Pedal Powered Concerts and Activities, for Events and Education

Mar 21, 2012Posted by in Blog, Featured Post | Comments Off

smoothie bikeBringing Pedal Power to your event increases the fun and participation while decreasing the use of diesel generators, extension cords, and batteries. This instantly gets your group moving, breathing, and active. People are more likely to loosen up, enjoy themselves, and learn something new when their body is engaged. Our most popular activity — and the most accessible starting point for anyone interested in Pedal Power — is Bike Blending.

We’ve spent the last 8 years developing Pedal Powered activities that help everyday people experience their power to make change. From 1-bike stations like Bike Blenders to 20-bike concert systems where groups have to work together to enjoy a shared result, Pedal Power rocks! We do the hard work of engineering products and systems that are safe, dependable, educational, and fun. You bring in your local community and group and share the gift of human power with people for the first time.

Please read on to see the different Bike Blenders and our full array of Pedal Powered activities!


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Vow for 2012: No More Foofy gigs!

Dec 7, 2011Posted by in Blog | Comments Off

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!

  1. Would we be proud to announce it in our newsletter?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. Do we respect the planners / organizers and their work in the community?
  5. 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
  6. Do we get to work with kids? Major trump card! Working with kids makes almost everything else passable.
  7. 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.


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Recent Highlights: Fall 2011

Dec 1, 2011Posted by in Blog | Comments Off

We give many thanks to all of our Fall event partners. Here are some highlights from the season:

Occupy Music Festival

On 11-11-11, Rock the Bike came out to help power the Occupy Music Festival. We brought speakers, bike generators, and our new LED lights for an awesome day-and-night show. We’d like to shout out our gratefulness to videographer, Arthur Woo, and all the great bands that made it what it was!

Morgan roadying to Occupy Music Festival.


We pulled out all the stops and brought along our entire pedal powered fleet: Fender Blenders, the Ice Cream Bike, Pedal Powered Stage, Pedal Powered Spin Art, and even an aerial performance by Tara Quinn.

Local Bites

This summer we released our new Ice Cream Bike. We think it’s our sleekest design and most innovative product yet, and it’s a great example of the progress we’ve made at Rock the Bike. We also got an amazing opportunity to pedal power our first foodie event with it at The California Academy of Science’s LocalBites.

Life is Living

This year was Rock the Bike’s first Bay Area doubleheader! While many crew members stayed at Cow Palace, a few went to Oakland to pedal power our first cooking demo.

Ramping Up Our Performances

We started off with one acrobatic artist (Tara Quinn), and now we have worked with four! We’re enjoying all the functionality of El Arbol, allowing hoops and even silks!

We’ve also added Pedal Power Stage Lighting with LED Panels (seen above & below in Red and Blue) to our Pedal Power Stage!

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What are the elements of a Pedal Powered Stage?

Nov 8, 2011Posted by in Electric Fender Blender Pro, Electric Fender Blender Pro Related Posts, Featured News, LED Panels, Modified JBL Loudspeakers, Mundo 500, Pedal Power Utility Box, Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels, Pedalometer | Comments Off

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
1 200-500 (with One Bike / One Speaker)
4 500
8 500-1000
12 1000-2000
20 2000+ We haven’t had enough chances to test at these power levels.

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El Arbol: The Bike Tree

Jul 25, 2011Posted by in Featured News, Featured Products | Comments Off

This custom art bike, made and based in San Francisco, rides through the city at 12 feet tall, then sprouts roots, branches, and leaves at events, where it becomes a 2500-Watt double-stack main speaker at our Pedal Powered Stage. Integrated LEDs look stunning at night. The Tree has two seats and creates all of its own power using an integrated One Bike / One Speaker circuit.

el arbol bike powered tree


Above, El Arbol in action as a Aerial Dance rig at Gaia Fest in 2012.

Shredder performs on hoop from El Arbol
Aerialist Shredder performs on hoop from El Arbol’s trusty rear branch. 
Tara performs on El Arbol at the start of the SF Marathon
Tara performs on El Arbol at the start of the SF Marathon
El Arbol without its Canopy of Leaves.
El Arbol without its Canopy of Leaves.

The sound quality is incredible. By using the audio elements from 2 Modified JBL PRX loudspeakers, it has the ability to get music out at festival levels with very low distortion. We use El Arbol as half of our Pedal Powered Stage at the San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival. The height of the upper loudspeaker (9′ up!)  helps the sound spread out easily out above a crowd, without requiring deafening volume levels for those in the front.

bike powered performance on el arbol

It’s fun and expands the notion of ‘Stage’ to include the pedalers.


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We’re Pedal Power people.

Jul 19, 2011Posted by in Blog, Featured Post, Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels | Comments Off

A mom and her son Pedal Powering a music performance on a Mundo 500 generator at the Oregon Country Fair. Rock The Bike built the Pedal Powered Stage used at the Fair.

We help our event partners engage their communities to provide the greenest source of power possible. Read on to see how we do it!


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Ride to Maker Faire with Rock the Bike

May 12, 2011Posted by in Blog | Comments Off

Posted by fossilfool
05/21/2011 - 09:00 - 11:00

Ride 21 miles from Dolores Park to Maker Faire with the Rock The Bike crew!

Please RSVP on Facebook:


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