Please RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=368410969711
On Earth Hour, hundreds of millions of people around the world come together to call for action on climate change by turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that, by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight.
Here in San Francisco, we’re celebrating by having a community celebration at Market Bar (1 Ferry Building # 36), 6-11pm. This will be a great night with lots of awesome people and a fun party vibe.
What’s going on?? Read on…
The event starts with a gear haul cruiser ride from 21st and York St. at 6pm.
This year, we’ll have performances by:-
Fossil Fool: http://www.fossilfool.com
A cargo bike challenge: pick up and return all of the gear used by the band Guella at their practice space 10 blocks away.
Rock The Bike will host a gear return mission back from the event. This was a highlight last year!
We’ll also have:-
A Pedal-Powered Stage
Bike blended cocktails
Mundo Surfing demonstration
El Arbol Root Deployment demonstration
This was a fantastic event last year. Set up outside in the patio of Market Bar, with the backdrop of the Ferry Building clock tower, we drew a huge crowd of tourists, passersby, press, friends, politicians, nonprofit tablers, and bands. It was a fun mix and the Mayor even stopped by and made a speech. Hopefully we’ll have a warm night and a good turnout again this year.
See you there!
We noticed that the majority of recent customer service issues with the Down Low Glow involved our Dual Tube systems. The most common issue is:
“One tube is bright and the other is dim, even with a full battery.” or
“They take a long time to warm up”
We have backordered this item until we can troubleshoot the problem.
We suggest substituting a single-tube system, which offers excellent Side Visibility, street glow, and battery life. Unfortunately there’s no easy way to turn a Single into a Dual later, but you can add a second Single tube system, which gives you the option of lending one out to a friend or using them both on one bike.
Here’s a post that further explains the benefits of the Single Tube System: http://rockthebike.com/lights/downlowglow/singletube
Some of our dealers are still offering dual-tube systems. We encourage you to make sure these dealers still have stock in their dual tube systems, as we will not be able to fill drop-ship orders during the backorder period.read more
Thanks to Big Top Coop for posting this video summary of The Genie’s LiveOnBike performance, and of the gallery space at The Road To BMF benefit. Enjoy.
Lots of great shots of Rock The Bike products in action also: The Down Low Glow, the Biker Bar, Mundo Cargo Bikes (also used here to carry the camerawoman).read more
What follows is a general description of our plans for Maker Faire. If you are looking for details for the 2nd Annual Dolores Park To Maker Faire Social Ride, please use our Facebook event page:
Many thanks! Please RSVP on facebook.
Maker Faire is one of our favorite events of the year, especially now that we’ve discovered we can bike there. Our plan this year, in a nutshell, is to make the Pedal Powered Stage an even more fun, musical, energizing, hands-and-feet-on, creative space for Faire goers.
Our busy calendar of events has allowed us to meet some great musicians and bands. Last year, 4 different bands biked with us to the Faire, including Antioquia, shown performing above.
Other musical highlights at last year’s Faire included Cello Joe and Oona.
Above: Musical highlights from the 2008 Maker Faire stage.
Rock The Bike has been fortunate to get involved with several youth groups that encourage students to use their voices and develop their talents, including Environmental Service Learning Initiative, YouthSpeaks, Silence The Violence, and ISA Academy’s songwriting class. At this year’s Pedal Powered Stage we’ll be inviting students from these groups to share their poetry, song, and spoken word performances.
Hundreds gathered before the start of last year’s ride. This year we’ll invite our favorite street chefs and cafes to set up coffee and breakfast at the start. Photo: Dustin Jensen.
You can cruise on ahead… photo: Dustin Jensen.
…or hang back with Rock The Bike crew enjoy the music. Please bring a load-carrying bike and help haul gear with us! The more people who show up with trailers and cargo bikes, the more we can distribute the heavy loads, and the sooner we can get to the Faire.
19 miles, mostly flat. Fun ride!
If Dolores Park isn’t convenient for you, host your own ride to Maker Faire! The Faire is trying to replace as many car trips with bike trips this year, expanding the program that gave bike people discounted entry last year. If you want to organize a ride, please contact us with the details, to get it listed on this page and the Maker Faire site.
Over the past year, we’ve cranked out thousands of smoothies at our events. This year, we’ll be gathering up our favorite recipes and running an actual smoothie booth, using only Human Power to blend smoothies and Hummus. Tangy, nutricious goodness! Discounts for bringing your own cup and pedaling your own smoothie. Proceeds to benefit the Bicycle Music Festival.
Last year at Maker Faire, we did the West Coast debut of the Biker Bar, our multi-person Pedal Power rig, LiveOnBike stage, and heavy duty hauler. Much like the East Coast debut at Central Park a month earlier, the Biker Bar performed brilliantly as a cargo trailer but poorly as a Pedal Power system.
The side chain link between the bar and the rear wheel of the Mundo 1000 caused multiple breakdowns. We have since redesigned the Biker Bar, cutting out the side chain and replacing it with a quiet generator. Now that we’ve worked out most of the bugs, the Biker Bar has helped us amplify bands and speakers at a handful of major events and rallies. It’s one of our most popular pieces of gear.
This year at Maker Faire, help us build another Biker Bar. In a 10-foot patch of grass, we’ll install the swingarms, screw down the float bearings and the generator, and build the wooden stage of the Biker Bar. By the end of Sunday, this new Biker Bar will go into service, and we’ll be able to get three more pedalers contributing, helping us pump up the volume for our musical headliner / closer.
The second Biker Bar won’t be a copy of our current model, but a step forward. We plan to implement several improvements to improve the efficiency of the design, based on our observations from the past year. By participating in the build, you’ll learn how engineers and inventors take an idea like the Biker Bar, iterate and improve on it.
Video shot at this Biker Bar build will go into a DIT (Do It Together) manual for the Biker Bar, helping more bike culture groups build it.
Over an eight-year span, Fossil Fool has crafted a number of one-off Soul Cycles, combining his love for bikes and music. His current Soul Cycle, El Arbol, is a tandem tall bike in the form of a tree. Last year, Fossil Fool brought an in-progress El Arbol frame to the Faire. It looked like this:
But 9 months later, El Arbol is out on the streets of San Francisco, a functioning tandem tall bike:
The lattice structure of aluminum wire, seen here illuminated by pedal powered flexible LED strips, is the form over which Fossil Fool will lay up a fiberglass tree, complete with a trunk, roots and branches. The enclosed volume of the tree will become the resonating enclosure for the lightweight 15″ woofer from a highly efficient, digitally powered JBL PRX speaker, the same type Rock The Bike uses in our Pedal Powered Stage. The mid range and tweeter from the JBL will also integrate with the lines of the tree. If all goes well, El Arbol will sound just as good as one of our main speakers, but the sound will be coming out of a beautifully scuplted and illuminated tree.
From drawing to reality, Fossil Fool has shared the process of making his most phenomenal Soul Cycle to datethrough Flickr. Here’s your chance to see it in person. The back seat of El Arbol is where Fossil Fool’s musical guests can sit and perform, facing the audience, social rides. If all goes as planned, we’ll be able to do some of this LiveOnBike performing at the Maker Faire.
But how do you move safely through a crowd on such a big, heavy, and tall bike? One unique feature of El Arbol is the roots, which swing out to 6 feet wide! for stability at low speeds, and to transform the bike into a Pedal Powered Stage. Deploying the roots involves stomping on a lever mounted to the head tube, which pulls a cable through a pulley and a length of Porsche transmission housing, to yank the roots into service from their nesting points against the rear swingarm. Throughout the Maker Faire, Fossil Fool and friends will ride through the fairgrounds, playing music, spreading cheer, and showcasing the complex and sturdy root mechanism of El Arbol.
The welder of El Arbol, Jay Broemmel, will be in attendance at the Faire, and loves to answer questions about welding up unusual bikes. Jay has also fabricated many of the Pedal Powered amusement park rides for Cyclecide, seen at Maker Faire in previous years. Bring drawings and sketches to share your off-the-wall ideas to these experienced art bike makers. And if your art bike is already rideable, bring out on the social ride!
Kids loved our Spin Art station last year. This year, we’ll be brining it back, and hopefully encorpating some natural pigments such as beet juice.
We’ll cover the walls of our 10×10 booth wth dozens of photographs that show the evolving story of Rock The Bike, including our R&D efforts, the process of building El Arbol, and highlights from our events and rides.
In the true spirit of the Bicycle Music Festival, we pedal powered five bands, went LiveOnBike with a scratch guitarist, fed and quenched sweaty pedalers with tea, kombucha, pies hauled in by bike and a local street chef, and featured a contortionist, a unicyclist, a bootleg beer garden, and a quartet of breakdancers, putting us squarely on the Road to this year’s SF Bicycle Music Festival.
Mark Wessels serving up a delightful unicycle performance.
The Shotgun Wedding Quintet rocking after midnight.
We rolled these platforms in Donkey Kong style for a captivating Tara Quinn performance on contortion and aerial hoop. Photo: Kai
The Genie’s LiveOnBike performance. Afterwards I heard lots of great feedback on The Genie’s music, but one repeated request was to create a raised stage for our LiveOnBike performances. People in the back couldn’t see him.
Above: School kids rushed to the fence as the Genie sound checked the day before The Road To BMF.
After the LiveOnBike ride, we hauled the speakers off the Biker Bar and converted it to Pedal Power mode, sound checked Justin Ancheta, and got the party started. Above: Shotgun Wedding Quintet
Our Pedal Powered Stage gear included two Electric Mundos and the Biker Bar. We also brought out the Fender Blender Pro, hooking up the pedalers with smoothies.
For my performance I wanted to show both my passions, bike rapping and bicycle customizing, so I debuted my new tall bike, El Arbol. It’s still in progress, but the frame, drivetrain, and roots are complete after a year of hard work in the Complete Fab workshop with welder Jay Broemmel. I rode it into the room, deployed the roots, made rock signs, climbed down, and then pedal powered the lighting, which outlines the shape of the tree.
The night after, a few of us went for a 10 mile ride to the Richmond and back, deploying the roots numerous times as we wiggled through the Haight, and enjoying ample 360 visibility from the pedal powered lighting.
I wasn’t the only bicycle customizer showing off two-wheelers at the Road To BMF. Above: Jay Broemmel tightening the Dragon Bike’s clutch.
Many thanks to those who came out to enjoy this night of music, food, circus, and bike culture. Although we weren’t able to secure a liquor license because BMF’s non-profit status is still in progress with the San Francisco Parks Trust, we were able to raise hundreds for BMF.
Many thanks to Honest Tea, Bike Basket Pies, Sol Cocina, 21st Amendment Brewery, Cell Space, Big Top Cooperative, and all the performers.
Got photos, and video from the Road To BMF? Send us a link!
Rock The Bike is helping Pure Austin Fitness pedal power their spin class. Pure already owns two of our Fender Blender Pros, and the goal of the current project is to convert these bike blenders to pedal power generators using our latest technology, then use them to pedal power the audio in their spin class. Here are some shots from the work I did in Austin over the past five days.
On Friday I met up with Pure Austin’s Beto Boggiano at his workshop. We chopped off the dropouts on the Fender Blender Pro frames, in order to respace them for the new generator hubs.
We used the generator hub itself to position the dropouts at the correct width, rather than, say, measuring the distance with a caliper and then holding the dropouts with a pair of vice grips. The gym mats and wood are to lift the hub and hold it at the correct position for tacking.
Here’s a shot of the inside of our generator hub. The copper coils move past rare earth magnets that are bonded to the inside of the aluminum hub shell, creating an electric charge that makes current flow through a cross-bridge rectifier. From the Wikipedia page on generators:
A generator forces electric charges to move through an external electrical circuit, but it does not create electricity or charge, which is already present in the wire of its windings. It is somewhat analogous to a water pump, which creates a flow of water but does not create the water inside. The source of mechanical energy may be a reciprocating or turbine steam engine, water falling through a turbine or waterwheel, an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, a handcrank, compressed air or any other source of mechanical energy.
Above: Beto tacking the dropouts back on in their new position.
After welding the dropouts back to the frame at the correct width, it was time to rebuild wheels around the new hubs. The rim and tire add mass that creates a flywheel, smoothing out the pedal power. Plus, with a tire back on, the tire-rubbing bike blender interface will still completely functional (though optional). Pure Austin will be able to rotate the blender’s roller away from the tire during the spin class (to minimize noise and power loss), and then move it back to crank out smoothies for the cyclists after the class.
Before the trip, Rock The Bike’s engineer Leif had encouraged me to build the wheels ahead of time so that I could devote my time to installing the system once in Austin. Unfortunately I ran out of time preparing for Austin and instead brought rims and spokes with me. I ran into a number of issues. In the photo above, note the spoke nipples poking way out of the rim. I’d built up the wheel as a one cross when the spokes were spec’ed for a two-cross pattern.
Fortunately, these missteps and delays gave me a chance to bike around Austin on a bright blue Mundo and meet several cool salesmen and mechanics at Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin Bikes, and Mellow Jonny’s. I was impressed how much people in Austin already knew about the Mundo and its development, considering there are only a few Mundo riders there. I got stopped in front of bars for test rides and one rider even flagged me down… “Is that a Mundo?” It’s amazing how well educated and networked bike people can be about the products they buy.
The Monday 6PM spin class came and went without Pedal Power. I did get to see Beto, the gym’s owner and most experienced spin coach in action, which was great. The big black box on the floor between the palm tree and the instructor’s podium is a digitally powered JBL PRX subwoofer. The main speakers are mounted to the ceiling. You can see one of them at the top of this image just right of center. The mains are powered by two rack-mounted amplifiers, out of view. Hopefully we’ll be able to Pedal Power both the amps and sub. But we won’t know until we try.
Above: Bob Farr, an old-school Austin Xtracycle rider, and pedicabber, showed up Monday for the Pedal Power Workshop at Pure Austin. The technical delays described above limited our ability to fill the sweaty gym air with solder fumes at the workshop, but I was able to show Bob lots of good data and parts on paper and on Pure’s public iMac. The next day Bob showed up to help me bust out the last few details of installing the generator wheels. Here Bob is pedal powering 80 watts of LED lighting, a successful test of the Electric FB Pro.
Above: tracing a round object to mark a cut in the wheel covers, making room for the larger hub.
We succeeded in electrifying both of Pure’s Fender Blender Pros. The next step on the project is to build them a Pedal Power Utility Box. I would have liked to have the triumph of a pedal powered spin class, but at least we finished the primary goal of converting the two FB Pros they had, and I won’t have to fly back to Austin to complete the project.
Pure will have time to thoroughly test the system before using it at their fitness expo, March 6.read more
The Genie will grace our mobile performance stage right before the “Road To BMF” event at Cell Space. All volunteers and fans invited.
The Genie is an exciting performer who developed a style called the scratch guitar. It involves looping an electric guitar that sits on his lap, combining sounds from a Velcroed-on iPod, and doing heavy filter sweeps with his big toes on devices like the Kaoss pad.
The event starts with a LiveOnBike performance by The Genie at 6:30, then awesome street food from Sol Cocina and Bike Basket Pies.
Then we’ll feature live performances by awesome local bands on Rock The Bike’s Pedal Powered Stage.
Shotgun Wedding Quintet
SHAKE YOUR PEACE!
Circus Arts performances by:
Tara Quinn (aerial hoop)
Beer from 21st Amendment Brewery.
Bike Blended Smoothies
Photo gallery, Art bikes by Jay Broemmel, Fossil Fool
This event on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=268770596666&ref=ts
By the time Bicycle Music Festival hits this year, we want the community with us: bands, fans, roadies, pedal power coaches, cops, neighbors, squirrels, and more. Our goal is to produce the best music festival we possibly can, with no use of fossil fuel-burning generators and vehicles. A lot of things have to go right between now and then. Permits, publicity, amazing bands signing on. So this is our chance to kick the season off right.
We’re hosting a series of events that help us get there.
Feb 5th at Cell Space
Pedal Powered Stage at Maker Faire in San Mateo
I love how the pedalers get grossed out as they see the father of the house preparing to take a shower. It’s always cool when you can let the pedalers get the best seat in the house at a music event or let them in on a secret. At Rock The Bike’s Pedal Powered Stage events, we serve up smoothies to the pedalers, bike blended of course. We’re thinking of putting the pedalers on a raised stage and lighting them at our Feb. 5th event.
The other moment that’s just classic about this video is when people continue running into the room to add more power and bring the system voltage back to the green. At first, they’re wearing the nice uniform: red jersey and cycling shorts. But as the system voltage continues to get clobbered by the energy hogging electric shower, the producers themselves run into the room wearing street clothes.
And you gotta love the cheering from the crowd when they successfully bring the voltage back from the brink.
A hot shower is, of course, one of the hardest things you can possibly pedal power. Apparently it takes 70 people to do so, (approximately 6000 watts!) Music is just the opposite. 1 person pedaling can get generate about 50-80 PDW (people dancing wildly), reminiscent of how an ant can carry 50 times its own weight in food.
Why is music so efficient? Is it just a coincidence that pedal powering music is easier than pedal powering lighting (even LED lighting), projecting a movie, or cranking out a smoothie, in terms of the number of people who can enjoy one person’s effort?
I think not. Think back to the ancient roots of music: drumming in the Savannah of Africa or the plains of North America that would bring people from a wide distance to gather at the fire. Music and dancing may be a cosmic gift of our evolution, a tool for humans to form communities, and therefore better band together, meet challenges, and fight external threats. This is the theory put forward by Barbara Ehrenreich in her book “Dancing In The Streets: A History of Collective Joy”read more
We had a blast last night at the Urban School, pedal powering their first dance of 2010. Thanks to Lucy, Lucas, Catherine and all the students and teachers.
As with any Rock The Bike event, we invite people at the event to pedal. The kid in the foreground is pedaling the Choprical Fish, which is powering the lighting at the dance.
Justin’s pedaling the Mundo 1000 during the sound check, one of our two bikes equipped with our Grasshopper generator system.
Despite their abundance of energy for gogo dancing and freaking, the Urban School students were a bit hesitant about joining in the pedal power effort. I felt good that we had shown up with a 6 person crew, including Adam, Masha, Hugh, Justin, and Ally. But we were doing 90% of the pedaling. Normally, the GP (general public) does more like 40-50% of the pedaling. I tried pulling students in and there were a few cool students who kept pitching. But honestly the freaking on the dance floor was so prolific, that it was obvious that’s where their minds were. So after a while, I stopped walking out into the crowd using a Down Low Glow like an airport landing guide, and just pedaled. I thought back to David Butcher and how he holds it down at festivals, pedaling away on the Prime Mover. I found new time trial position I liked on the Fender Blender Pro, and entered a crank, sprint, lactic acid! cycle. Out of saddle sprint! Lactic acid. Two students get on, both girls. I adjust the seat for one of them and the indicator on our inverter already drops into the red.
“Pedal hard! Go for it. ”
I look around for crew and don’t see any one. The LED is floating in the red, occasionally hitting blinking red. I know I’m going to need to save this party. I hate having to be intense with the pedal power coaching, but I was yelling, “Pedal, Pedal, Pedal!” every time I saw that blinking light. I was trying to get in a hamstring stretch, but I kept having to coach the girls on the bikes. And my communication with the DJ wasn’t to the point where I could make eye contact with him. He was killing it anyway, and I liked the fact that we were driving the PRX hard. Screw the stretch. I tap out with one of the girl and go into another sprint on the FB Pro.
Justin’s back! The other girl taps out and we bring the LED back to orange, and green. It was kind of like that all night. Three electrics would have helped, but really we just needed more from the students. I think some type of introduction would have helped. The students probably didn’t know what the function of the pedal power bikes was, other than to climb all over them and have a blast. No, they knew, but the hormones were too strong. Freaking trumped!
Rock The Bike has left the building.
We only brought one of our PRX speakers this time. The other is in the shop on a pedal power integration project.
See more photos from the night on Flickr.read more