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, or 3PPCSFB for short.
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. It’s inspired by the America’s Cup sailing race, Fukishima & Global Warming, Bike Party, and Rube Goldberg.
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.
When an event is scheduled to take place in another city, the problem of moving air gets more pronounced, because we have to ship our gear using the trucking system.Read More
We co-produce and Pedal Power this annual community-powered music festival which always falls on the Saturday closest to the Solstice. This year, our 7th, is going to be our best ever. Please say you’ll join us
Check out this amazing video from last year’s event:Read More
After a recent Bicycle Music Festival volunteer meeting one of our best cargo bikes, a Mundo 500, was stolen. It was locked to itself. This electric cargo bike was heavy, immobilized and impossible to push. The thieves must have had to lift it into a truck. I realized it the next morning and felt dejected and ashamed.
I gathered some resolve to ask around for my bike. I remembered my friend Kipchoge’s story of recovering his stolen laptop by spending 3 days lurking in the underworld of San Francisco’s seediest Tenderloin and Mission neighborhoods. When he finally found himself face to face with the man who’d stolen it, in the hallway of a dingy hotel, the man admitted he hadn’t yet wiped the hard drive or sold it yet because he liked a video on the desktop. The video showed Kipchoge and his friends riding into the woods on Xtracycles carrying chainsaws, in order to do trail maintenance.
I printed out the photo below and headed out to talk to people in the nooks and crannies under highway overpasses and in the Plaza at Civic Center.
I also reached out to crewmembers and friends on facebook for help. I posted it everywhere, in all the group pages for which I was a member. RTB’s Nio connected me with Jenny Oh, who has built a bike theft recovery network that is remarkably effective at getting stolen bikes back to their owners. She reposted my photo and shared her tips for getting bikes back. Following the advice I filed an online Police Report.
I found that friends and even the people on the street were overwhelmingly sympathetic with my cause. Alas, they weren’t giving me any leads.Read More
When I heard Bill McKibben was going to be in San Francisco to announce a recent success in Supervisor Avalos’s initiative for San Francisco to divest from Oil giants, I jumped at the chance to Pedal Power the speech. Avalos’ office put me in touch with the organizers who were excited to make it happen.
On the day of the rally, Nio and I transported two of our Modified JBL Loudspeakers and towed one electric Fender Blender Pro to use as the generator. We used our newest Pedal Powered Stage system for small events, called One Bike / One Speaker, in which the ultracapacitor (storage tank) and protection circuitry are inside one of the speakers. There’s no red customized toolbox as there usually has been in Rock The Bike’s Pedal Power setups. This makes it fast to set up, and easier to transport.
The first thing Bill did when taking the stage was fist-bump the pedaler. His message on the mic is very inclusive and echoes previous giants of social movements: “We may not beat this challenge, but I so look forward to fighting alongside all of you.
I love that in the AP’s entire article about divestment, the only mention of bicycling is in the lead photo. Rock The Bike!Read More
This morning on Bike To Work Day I was racing to drop off a Bike Blender to UCSF for their Health Fair. In classic fashion I’d double-booked the drop off with a really important meeting, the ISCOTT commission meeting where Bicycle Music Festival was to present our Nighttime street closure plan. I didn’t check the bike routes and ended up climbing this WALL of a hill. Switchbacking too tight I flipped the blender and pushed it up the second half. Happy Bike To Work Day!
Drop complete, ready to sprint to ISCOTT. Only problem is I have no lock, and they’re NOT going to let me bring it in.Read More
Here’s a copy of a recent receipt from Trader Joe’s for a Bike Blending event that served 100 people.
To serve the most people in the least time, here are the factors to consider:
- Ingredients. This is the easiest. Ingredients cost $0.60 per 8 oz smoothie. Scale this to meet your crowd needs.
- Crewmembers. This helps you prepare the pitchers of ingredients faster. 1 person per bike for a relaxed event. 3 crewmembers per bike if you think you’ll be slammed.
- Number of Fender Blender bikes. Increase the number of bikes to maximize your participation levels when maximum crowd flow is expected. Each bike can do 100- 250 8 oz smoothies per hour, depending on the number of crewmembers.
- Type of pitcher: See the Osterizer v. Vitamix comparison. It’s easier to serve large crowds with a vitamix.
- Number of pitchers. Two pitchers are incredibly useful. Make double the same amount of time by prepping a second batch while blending the first. If you foresee having vegan/dairy-free smoothies you might want a pitcher just for those.