How many people will it take to power my laptop and projector, pedalboard, (or any device)?

Sep 4, 2013Posted by in FAQ, Featured News, Fender Blender Pro, Mundo 500, Mundo 500 Electric Cargo Bike and Pedal Power Generator, Pedal Power Utility Box, Pedal Powered Stage Gear | Comments Off

How many people will it take to power my laptop and projector, pedalboard, (or any device)?

Pamela Parker's guitar pedals
Pamela Parker’s pedal board at the Peace Day SF rally. Photo: Nio.

OK, so you have a device or set of devices in mind (like a laptop and projector) and you want to know whether it’s possible to power them with people on bike generators. Here are the steps to figure it out:

First you need to measure the power consumption of the device you want to power. There are two ways to do this. You can read the writing on the product OR you can actually measure it using a device like the Kill A Watt. The second way is better for two reasons: It’s more educational and fun, and some product ratings are approximate.Some products use different amounts of power at different settings. For example, a loudspeaker will use way less power than its rating if you’re listening to music at moderate levels. So get yourself a Kill A Watt and get scientific!

Above: A Kill A Watt in use. Connect it to the wall, then connect your device(s) to it, and read the Wattage number. Careful to switch to Watt mode. The device may default to showing Volts. If the reading is very close to 110, then you are probably reading Volts (USA AC power voltage is 110). Look carefully and the Watt mode will have the units “Watt” next to the reading.

Next: Visualize what types of pedalers you are expecting at your event.  The Wattage you can expect per person will change depending on what types of people are pedaling! This is common sense: a competitive cyclist can generate more power than a 3rd grader.

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When a bike gets stolen, activate your networks to get lots of eyes looking for you. And then get that bike back.

May 28, 2013Posted by in Blog, Featured News, Pedal Power Utility Box, Pedal Powered Stage Gear | Comments Off

When a bike gets stolen, activate your networks to get lots of eyes looking for you. And then get that bike back.


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.

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Generators available from Rock The Bike

Mar 23, 2013Posted by in Featured Products, Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Gear Available Products, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels, Products | Comments Off

Generators available from Rock The  Bike

 Bicycle Generator
Above: The Generator Pro

We sell three types of complete Generator Bikes, and also generator wheels to install on your bike,  in three sizes: 24″, 26″, and 700c. We sell two ratings of wheels: Cargo Strength, or Normal. You can put our generator wheels on any bike. We recommend a bike with a wide size range, low stepover height, and gears.

Electric Fender Blender Pro:

human powered bicycle blender

It has all the features of the Generator Pro, plus you can blend smoothies. For more info, please go here.

Cargo Bike Generators: 

cargo bike generator
Examples include the Mundo 500 (above) and Xtracycle Generator. Each of these is capable of riding to your events with a load, then converting to generator use. Cargo bike generators can also become electric cargo bikes; though we no longer offer this conversion, we’ll point you in the right direction.

Generator wheels to turn any bike into a generator:

frictionless pedal powered generator

The most affordable way to access our frictionless generator technology. You simply swap the rear wheel of your current bike and throw it on one of our stable trainer stands. Great for custom bikes like El Arbol above, or for low-cost generators. Still extremely quiet and powerful.

bicycle generator

Above: Your bike can now be a generator, every bit as powerful and quiet as the ones we use at Rock The Bike events.

Special lightweight or higher/lower voltage generators:
We’ll consult with you to find lighter weight options for bike touring or specific application.

Want your bike to generate power? Now you can, with a hand-built generator wheel from Rock The Bike.  You can also use it to upgrade your Mundo into an electric bike.

These generators have gearing that is optimized for 24V systems but will function on 12V system. In order to use the power you generate, you’ll also need a Pedal Power Utility Box.

Requires 2-3 weeks to build from time of payment. Please specify desired output connector.

What kind of bike makes a good generator for our generator wheels?

  • Bikes with a wide size range
  • Bikes with good standover height
  • Bikes without rear suspension. Suspension (or “shocks”) makes a bike less stable when it’s mounted on a Stationary Stand.
  • Bikes with a front derailleur and 2-3 chainrings. These have a wider gear ratio, making it easier to find the right gear ratio.

700 c – $450 (not suitable for cargo use) or $425 as add-on to Fender Blender Pro purchase.
26″ – $525 (suitable for cargo use)
24″, 20″ – $525 (not suitable for cargo use.

Rentable: Yes

In the Box:

  • Wheel with Generator Hub (in selected size)
  • Rectifier cable with 2′ lead to wheel and 20′ cable for the DC output.
  • 7-speed freewheel with 11-tooth cog for highest voltage range, or 1 speed on Electric Fender Blender Pro
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Festival Grade Pedal Powered Stage

Mar 9, 2013Posted by in Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels | Comments Off

Festival Grade Pedal Powered Stage

2 Bamboo Tripods for elevating precisely arrayed speaker clusters / 16 bikes / Stage lighting / AC power.  

The Festival-grade package is both sonically and visually rich and serves as a prominent landmark at your event. Designed for the largest audiences, with large tripods angling the loudspeakers at distant rows. Beautiful at night.

Crowd Size: 500-2500
Setup Time: 3-4 hours
Crew size: 8
Getting it there: The entire sound system can fit on 6-8 cargo bikes and cargo trailers. Terrain will affect exact choice of roadie gear. Please consult with us!
Generators: We recommend 5 Mundo 500, 1 Boda Boda, 4 RTBGen, 2 Electric Fender Blender Pro, 4 generator wheel and stands.
Event space: We recommend a 12 x 24  stage. Additional space for Pedal Power generators, approx. 8×20.
Storage space: All gear will fit into a 10×15 storage space. Please see our storage recommendations for more info.
Lighting: Includes Stage Lighting panels for night events. Tripods have integrated lighting.
AC Power rating: 1000 W, Pure Sine Wave.

Audio Gear: 2 * Modified JBL PRX 635 mains, 2 * Modified JBL PRX 612 monitors, 2 * Modified JBL PRX 618XLF Subwoofers.

Budget: $49000 +-
Options / Upgrades:
You supply:


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Pedal Powered Stage packages from Rock The Bike

Mar 1, 2013Posted by in Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels | Comments Off

Pedal Powered Stage packages from Rock The Bike

After producing over 150 Pedal Powered music events, Rock The Bike has designed and created a dependable, reproducible system for you. Rock The Bike offers four packages of Pedal Powered Stage gear as follows:

One Bike One Speaker Bike Pedal Powered Stage

One Bike / One Speaker

Specifically catered to the Live PA performance artist. Cello Joe lives by the words, “Make the world your stage.” Our most popular, simplest, lightest and most affordable Pedal Powered Stage package.

1-Minute Setup, 1 Bike, 1 Speaker, Audiences up to 300
$3,100.00   |   More Info



Band Ready

Power up a live band. A robust system designed for a live band, complete with AC power, for instruments such as amps, keyboards, and effect pedals.

30-Minute Setup, 4 bikes, 2 speakers, Audiences up to 500
$13,950.00   |   More Info



Live Concert

Power up a live band. A robust system designed for a live band, complete with AC power, for instruments such as amps, keyboards, and effect pedals.

2-Hour Setup, 10 bikes, 2 speakers, Audiences up to 500
$27,200.00  |   More Info



Festival Grade

Make history.

4-Hour Setup, 16 bikes, 7 speakers, Crew of 8, Audiences up to 2,500

$54,000.00  |   More Info

Please answer the questions in the following survey to clarify your event needs e.g. target audience size, crew size, etc:

We also recommend you read and see the following posts and videos before diving in to the packages above.

What: Here’s a post that explains the components of a Pedal Powered Stage. Here we describe the basic building blocks of Pedal Power: Generators, Loudspeakers, circuits, etc.

Why: Check out Paul Freedman’s “Fossil Fool TED talk“ to get the motivation for Pedal Powering music events. It’s about teamwork, community building, fun, and replacing gas generators.

Where: You can do it anywhere, but outdoor music events are the best settings. Our system uses cargo bikes to carry all the gear to events. Then we convert the cargo bikes into generators. See photos of past events:

Who: Your crew should include strong cyclists, outgoing ‘coaches’, techs, and performers. See pictures of the Rock The Bike crew in action. 

How: Call us to get an estimate going for your gear package. We ship almost anywhere and specialize in building gear you can learn quickly and use dependably. You can also come to a Rock The Bike event and learn from us directly. Typical lead time for a Pedal Powered Stage is 6-8 weeks.



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Band Ready Pedal Powered Stage

Feb 26, 2013Posted by in Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels | Comments Off

An awesome demonstration, great boom for your buck.

4 Bikes / 2 Speakers / AC Power

Audience: 250-500 people

Cost: ~ $13950

Also known as the SHAKE YOUR PEACE! rig (named for the band for whom we develop it). This is the smallest system we sell that allows you to truly power up a band. This option provides AC power; most bands have at least one performer who needs AC power for their instruments (amps, keyboards, effect pedals).

Setup Time: 1 hour.
Crew size: 4
Getting it there: 2 of the bikes are cargo bikes. 1 tows another.
Event space: Generators will take up about 12 x 8. Recommended stage size 10 x 14 including loudspeakers.
Storage space: All will fit in 5 x 10.
Lighting: Stage lighting panels can be connected directly to a bike or the included Utility Box.
AC Power rating: Comes with a 600 Watt pure sine inverter capable of delivering 1200 Watt surges in power. However, for practical purposes, AC power will have to be less than 200 Watts (continuous) for a successful event.

Optimized for what types of performances? Bands without many AC Power instruments.
Other notes: With a Medium sized Pedal Powered Stage, you need to be conscientious about what types of bands you work with. Specifically, instrumentation.

We recommend:
2 Electric Fender Blender Pro
2 Mundo generators (upgradeable to Electric Cargo Bike):
3 Generator wheel + stand (upgrade any bike)

Circuitry: Split-Rail Utility Box with integrated 600 Watt AC inverter.
Pedalometer: 4′ tube, visible across a wide area.

Barebones downgrade:
No Pedalometer tube.

Bass upgrade:
Get a subwoofer.

Required additional gear purchase / sourcing:
2 speaker stands.
Modified JBL PRX 635 Loudspeaker with built-in Dubla and single Ultracapacitor brick.
All cabling included.

Substitution: Pedal Powered DJ Booth. Add 1-2 subwoofers. Keep only 1 monitor. Now you’ve got a righteous rig for dance music. If you’re working with a great DJ, your audio needs will be different than if you’re planning to Pedal Power bands.

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