What is a concert without stage lighting? With our new LED panels you can run lights directly off Pedal Power with no circuitry. Allow your audience to control the feel of the show by controlling the lights. The harder they pedal, the brighter the lights will be. Get kids excited to see their power work!
Our 12volt LED panels are made of over 1,000 LEDs. They can also be wired together to make 24volt lights! The panels are flat, which makes for a wide viewing angle of light, as well as being easy to store. They are mounted on a polycarbonate sheet, and covered with a bar-top finish to protect from damage. These lights are designed to easily carry on your bike for the ultimate Pedal Powered event.
These lights work well with hub generator rigs, like the Electric Fender Blender Pro and Mundo 500. You can also hook them up into a drop-in generator, which is compatible with all our Fender Blender models. They run off a battery, and can also be a great way to drain your pedal power system after an event. Or, use them while you’re packing up to keep some light on the gear!
Colors: Red, Blue or Green (Red & Blue make a great combo!)
Weight: 2-3 lbs
Made to order, 2 week turn around on orders. Have an event deadline? Please tell us when placing your order!
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.
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:
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:
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.
Gosh, I wish this one had a better name. It’s an awesome demonstration, great bang for your buck.
4 Bikes / 2 Speakers / AC Power
Cost: ~ $13950
Also known as the SHAKE YOUR PEACE! rig. 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).
Crowd Size: 150-300 Setup Time: 30 minutes 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.
The gear / What you get: Budget: Options / Upgrades: You supply:
Crowd Size: 100 to 250 Setup Time: 1 hour. Crew size: 4 Budget: 12K 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.
The gear: We recommend: Generators 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. $5000
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.
Be at the forefront of the Pedal Power movement. Make history. The large Pedal Powered Stage includes enough loudspeakers, generators, circuitry, and interconnects for you to entertain a 1000-person audience, or larger. ‘No compromise’ sound for performers, thanks to ample monitors and AC power. The experience of playing on a Large Pedal Powered Stage is about the same as playing on a conventionally powered stage. To the audience it also feels and sounds like a medium-sized festival stage from a major festival.
Crowd Size: 300-1000 Setup Time: 2-4 hours Crew size: 6 Getting it there: The entire sound system can fit on 4-6 cargo bikes. Use of cargo trailers will help reduce the number of roadies needed! Also, terrain will affect how much each roadie can haul. Generators: We recommend 3 Mundo 500, 1 Boda Boda, 2 RTBGen, 1 Electric Fender Blender Pro, 3 generator wheel and stand. Event space: We recommend a 10 x 20 stage. Additional space for Pedal Power generators, approx. 8×20. Storage space: All gear will fit into a 8×10 storage space. Please see our storage recommendations for more info. Lighting: For nighttime events, we recommend 3 stage lighting panels, plus additional decorative elements like speaker grill lighting. AC Power rating: 1000 W, Pure Sine Wave.
The technical needs of a Pedal Powered event vary greatly depending on audience size, venue, and power needs of musician’s devices. The questions in this post will help you to know what features are most important for you, and how much power you’ll really need. Please answer these questions and email us using the contact form. Also, please check out some of our recommended packages to see systems intended for different crowd sizes: http://rockthebike.com/pedal-powered-stage-packages
In your mind’s eye, how many people are taking in the music at your ideal event? Audience size is the most important factor in knowing how many loudspeakers, generators, and circuitry to get. Are you aiming for school assemblies? Street performing? A festival stage?
Who is pedaling to generate power at your events? Is it competitive cyclists? fit adults? the general public? teenagers? kids? How family friendly are your events? Doing events with kids means you’ll need more bikes! The reason: Kids love to pedal but can’t generate much power. Also, they need to use bikes that are sized accordingly. If you want to do these events, you need to plan ahead so kids can participate.
What style of music do you want to amplify? Or do you have a specific band your are planning to work with? Are you a bandleader? If so, what is the instrumentation in your band?
Indoor vs. Outdoor? In your mind’s eye, where are your Pedal Powered events taking place?
Do you want or need to be completely off the grid? Off The Grid means that you are completely independent and not relying on power from any other source. Some people just want to demonstrate Pedal Power, but are doing so in places where there ready access to wall power. Perhaps they don’t mind using some wall power and some bike power. This can be a way to decrease the number of bikes in your system, but still offer people the chance to create power with their bodies. For example, if you want to a Bike Powered Cinema, you could power the loudspeakers with bikes and the projector with wall power. Other people want to make a statement by using NO power from the grid, or they are trying to bring a concert to a natural setting or park where there is no built-in power at all. They’ll need to be completely off the grid. What is right for you?
Related. What is your main motivation for doing Pedal Powered events in your community? Examples: Have fun, get involved in music events, raise environmental consciousness/bike excitement, encourage healthy lifestyles, publicize a commercial offering. It helps us to know why our customers interested in Pedal Power, and it may affect our gear recommendations.
Do you already have a crew? Are you interested in leading a crew? Doing larger events with the general public requires a crew, including specific roles like Sound Guy, Roadie, Coach, Tech, MC and more.
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.
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.
Earlier that week… Load testing the Mobile Stage outside our workshop in Berkeley.
We had stunning lighting at our night venue, Showplace Triangle. Three of our LED Stage Lighting panels, a renegade LED project hanging from the billboard over the stage, and the Bike Tree, El Arbol, all powered by 3 different pedalers. One pedaler did the greens, another did the blues, and a third did the reds. The tube on the left with red and green lights is the Pedalometer, which shows pedalers how hard to pedal.
SHAKE YOUR PEACE! rocked their return to Bicycle Music Festival perfoming. Bandleader Gabe Dominguez is also the co-founder of San Francisco BMF.
The large “880″ in the photo is the instantaneous wattage total. A single electric kettle or hair dryer uses up to 1500 watts, yet we were able to entertain hundreds of people with a total wattage of under 1000. Actually early in the day, an electric kettle did bring down our festival. A member of our volunteer squad plugged it in to our Pedal Powered Stage to have water to sterilize his cookware for our lunch. A fuse in our Pedal Power Utility Box blew. Another fuse blew before we started using our eyes to solve the problem. We saw a bright orange extension cord going all the way to our crew area. Aha!
This rig required no electricity, and produced delicious Pedal Powered Ice Cream. Each batch on the Ice Cream Bike takes about 20 minutes to churn.
In keeping with Bicycle Music Festival tradition, our roadies transport all of of the loudspeakers, Pedal Power gear, food, banners, and festival gear to our venues by bike.
Even our 18′ tall bamboo tripod, affectionately known as the Tarzan Tower, can be broken down to a 10′ bamboo bundle and hauled behind one bike.
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
200-500 (with One Bike / One Speaker)
2000+ We haven’t had enough chances to test at these power levels.
What kind of generator? The most effective generators are hub generators. They are efficient, quiet, and can convert a huge flow of power if the pedaler is cranking hard. The less effective ones are friction generators (tire rubbers). We recommend only hub generators, though for people on a long-distance bike tour, the extra weight is a drawback. Using efficient, quiet generators is better because it makes Pedal Power feel more impressive, which makes people want to pedal more, which in turn makes them want to ride bikes well after your event. Check out this page to see all of our generator options: the Mundo 500 (electric version of our favorite cargo bike), the Electric Fender Blender Pro (towable bike blender and generator), and generator wheels to turn any bike into a generator.
Do not bother with Hi-Fi equipment (including home theater, bookshelf speakers, and computer speakers) or car audio gear. Neither of these were designed for large spaces and large crowds. If your goal is to produce an outdoor music event, you need to use “Pro Sound” equipment that was designed to reach larch crowds at events.
We sell Modified JBL PRX Loudspeakers. We modify and sell the full line of JBL PRX speakers, from the smallest wedge monitor (the PRX 612) to the 1000-watt subwoofer, the PRX 618. The ‘modified’ part means that we hack the circuit boards to allow them to run on DC power, bypassing the need for AC power (wall power). Since the conversion of Pedal Power from DC to AC and then back to DC inside the amplifier is wasteful, our Modified JBL PRX loudspeakers run 43% more efficiently than in AC mode. PRX loudspeakers are already some of the most efficient powered speakers commercially available, thanks to their Crown digital amplifier, so the additional power savings in DC mode makes them (quite possibly) the most efficient Pro Sound loudspeakers in the world! They make Pedal Power feel truly impressive. Pedalers have a big smile on their face when they hear how much powerful, crisp sound results from their good clean Pedal Power. This is a Rock The Bike exclusive offering.
PRX speakers are made of high quality plywood and have a durable coating. Although they’re heavier than some plastic speakers, they are relatively lightweight for Pro Audio gear, making them manageable to get to and from events by bike.
What ever loudspeakers you use, don’t forget the importance of proper elevation and positioning of the loudspeakers. Pro-sound speakers like the ones we sell at Rock The Bike have scientifically calculated dispersion cones that help the sound spread out to the sides. In order for these dispersion cones to do their work, your speakers have to be up in the air on a speaker stand.
Generally you need at least two mains to do an event. But we know from experience that with 1 speaker, good music, and Pedal Power, people will dance. Generally speaking, divide the anticipated size of the audience by 100 to get the correct number of mains. This is only applicable for events up to 500 people. Beyond 500 people, using speakers on stands is not going to cut it. You need to start thinking about elevating the speakers even further, using subwoofers, and considering a Line Array configuration.
Above: The Pedal Powered Line Array in action at “Slaughter By The Water,” a heavy metal festival.
What about monitor speakers? Monitor speakers are how the bands hears themselves during performances. Very few musicians can perform at their best without monitors. Generally you need 1 monitor for every 2 bandmembers of a full band. At least 2 for most bands. For public speaking events like a press conference, you can do without them. We sell the Modified JBL PRX 612 wedge monitor.
What about the speakers you already have? You may already own certain Pro-sound gear or have musician friends who have gear. Can you just plug that in and roll with it? Basically, the answer is yes, but you may pay a significant penalty in both weight and efficiency with older PA gear. Many newer powered speakers have digital amplifiers. These generate less heat and therefore require less power/fewer pedalers. How can you tell if your speaker has a digital amplifier? Look up the model number online, or measure the wattage of your speaker using a Kill-A-Watt.
Can bands still use their own amplifiers? Musicians are used to playing their guitar, bass, and sometimes keyboard through a specific amplifier. The amp is part of their instrument, part of their sound. Unfortunately, their amp increases your overhead. Ideally you will have enough bicycle generators that the extra wattage of their amplifier doesn’t matter. Asking a musician not to use their own amp is an unusual request. However in our experience, we get great results asking bass players to ‘go direct’ or play through the PA. This means that the bass player leaves her amp at home, and plugs the bass into a channel on our mixer, just like the lead singer. There’s still plenty of bass but there are fewer devices ON and therefore lower overhead. If you have a small Pedal Powered Stage with, say, 3-5 pedalers, you may not have enough raw power to keep additional devices on besides the bare essentials (the mains, a monitor, and the mixer). Fortunately, the bass players we’ve worked with are very happy with the sound they get at our events.
Pedal Power Utility Box, i.e. the Circuit
This Utility Box contains a AC Power Inverter and DC power outputs for our Modified JBL PRX Loudspeakers.
The Pedal Power Utility Box contains the AC Power inverter, a capacitor that holds a few minutes worth of power, the protection circuitry that keeps the system safe from overvoltage conditions, and outputs for your DC-powered devices (like the loudspeakers mentioned above). Our Utility Boxes now include a 4-line Pedalometer in the lid that shows pedalers how hard to pedal. Even if you buy our Modified JBL PRX Loudspeakers, which run on DC power, you will still need AC power for devices like guitar pedals, amps, mixer, etc. All this functionality is protected inside a durable red plastic toolbox with a sturdy handle and latches. Your circuit takes Pedal Power in and kicks out a steady stream of regulated, usable power to the audio equipment and devices. The simplest type of output power is traditional AC power; this means you will be using a DC-AC inverter. But in our Split-Rail Utility Boxes, there are special outputs for Split Rail Power required by our Modified JBL PRX speakers.
Can you store the energy created? The circuit also includes whatever storage method you are planning to use. We use 30V Ultracapacitor ‘bricks’, which hold just enough power for a few minutes of music.
Why do I need protection circuitry and what type do I need? The microprocessor brain in our Pedal Power Utility Boxes monitors the key system voltages and triggers relays that disconnect the pedalers from the system to prevent overheating and damaging the devices you’re running, or the Ultracapacitors. In addition to overvoltage protection, you also need fuses in case of short circuits. The input cables that connect the bikes to the system are long and are often subject to harsh conditions: people walking on them, tripping over them. Of course, you should tie these down as well as you can with reuasable Velcro ties. But you should also install fuses that prevent a bad yank from causing a meltdown. The circuit itself needs to be protected. We use Tupperware inside the box to prevent our microprocessor brain touching anything else and accidentally shorting. Your circuitry can’t be out in the open where it can be damaged in transit or where a metal wrench can be set down on it, causing a short circuit.
In a bicycle based system, any wire can be tugged or rub against a tire and degrade from wear. They need to be ‘strain reliefed’ and insulated. Connections from bikes to the circuit need to be both quick-connect for ease of setup and robust. We use Neutrik connectors, the industry standard for Live Sound.
Our current pricing structure is that most of your wiring is built in to the price of the other components. For example, if you buy a generator, you get an input cable. If you buy a speaker, you get a speaker power cable. We use only 14AWG gauge wiring for power cables that will see the outside world.
All the wiring needs to be safe and robust for multiple setups / tear downs. It has to be long enough to allow you to place the bikes where pedalers have a good view, and where they don’t get in the way of the event or of dancing.
You will need a way to show Pedalers how hard to pedal. Otherwise they may drift off in their thoughts (and power output) or overpedal your system.
Our latest LED Pedalometer, shown above, is visible across a wide area, day or night. It’s controlled by a microprocessor that continuously monitors system voltage.
Our original Pedalometer (2oo7) involved a fan blowing air into a tube perforated with holes. The higher the system voltage, the harder the fan would blow and the higher the beer can would rise in the tube. It was quite motivating.
The ideal Pedalometer is the classic thermometer style, because it’s intuitive, making it possible for pedalers to get lost in the music while still providing the exact amount of Pedal Power needed. The pedalometer uses color-coding to show the pedalers when they need to pedal harder and when they need to slow down. Just keep it in the green.
The voltage information shown on the Pedalometer is also important to the sound guy/girl, who can raise and lower the overall listening levels and the bass levels according to the available system power. The Pedalometer also engages the audience in the Pedal Power experience. Even the bands get involved. When they see power levels dipping, they may make a funny comment about it between songs to help pedalers boost it back up.
Pedalers need to be coached. There are two essential aspects to doing this: the human touch, and accurate, up-to-the-second information about the system voltage.
Don’t forget the importance of human communication, like “Pedal!” signs and direct coaching. It’s also important to check in your pedalers and see who needs water or a break, or to just tell them to keep up the good work. Pedal Power coaches get maximum power from each pedaler by raising or lowering the seat as needed. They help pedalers get on and off the bikes. They pull new pedalers from the crowd. They provide the human touch and show appreciation for the good clean pedal power.
Additional load-carrying gear to get to events by bike. This can include Bikes At Work trailers, Xtracycles, Mundos.
For night time events, you will need to light the performers. Rock The Bike’s stage lighting panels throw a considerable amount of light.
Food is the fuel for a Pedal Powered event. Offer pedalers a free bike blended smoothie and they’ll have the juice to keep providing their good clean Pedal Power.
Check out all the options for Bike Blenders in the Fender Blender section of our store. Bike Blenders also make a good fundraiser for your cause. Keep plenty of water on hand too!
We help our event partners engage their communities to provide the greenest source of power possible. Read on to see how we do it!
We say a huge thanks to our amazing event partners from the first half of 2011. Sorry it’s taken so long! Here are some of the highlights. We look forward to Pedal Powering many more great events this year.
At the University of San Francisco’s Earth Day event, we pedal powered a Spin Arttable, cranked out tasty bike blended smoothies, and got some good grooves going for the lunchtime event. Below, Anastasia and Nicco jamming, with 4 pedalers providing the amplification.
We helped get the groove going with a Pedal Powered DJ Booth at a charity fitness event in Malibu. Two Mundo 500‘s supported an 8′ wide DJ surface, and powered the two Modified JBL loudspeakers shown.
A month earlier — the sketch we scanned for the client.
We got better at getting to gigs by bike. Above, roadie Jeff shuttles a Mona Lisa-esque Giulia and a conga drum with a Mundo cargo bike, on a day we had more people than bikes.
We got a lot better at surfing. Above: Ariel delivering a Fender Blender Pro rental to the San Francisco Parks Trust for an event in Golden Gate Park.
We’ve had a perfect safety record, including on our amazing Bike Tree, El Arbol, shown above carrying two crewmembers and a conga.
We hosted the 3rd annual Maker Faire -> Dolores Park Social Ride. 200 people showed up and we rode 21 miles to Maker Faire with awesome music and great spirits.
Maker Faire was the first event where people made leaves for El Arbol:
We had a blast at the 5th Annual Bicycle Music Festival, the world’s largest 100% Pedal Powered event, sponsored and co-founded by Rock The Bike.
Hundreds joined on the LiveOnBike parade from Golden Gate Park to Showplace Triangle. Two mobile acts performed on our new Mobile Stage, including 2 opera singers from the SF Conservatory of Opera, who performed aria duets, an act of street theater that prompted drivers to lean out of their windows and call “Stay beautiful!”.
We sell two 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 NeverGonnaHitThePavement. If you’re only going to use these as generator wheels, you can get away with a lower-quality spec on the [...]