The Biker Bar

UPDATE! We no longer sell the Biker Bar. We now recommend using our Generator Wheels instead of the Biker Bar. These Generator Wheels are included if you go with a Electric Fender Blender Pro or the Mundo 500.  Generator Wheels can be installed on regular bikes. They can be stored and installed for events only. They are a more efficient and lighter weight solution than the Biker Bar.  We have posted many photos on how to build the Biker Bar; if you are up for a very engaging Pedal Power project, you can learn the steps by studying the photoset. We don’t provide support or plans. 
 
To meet your cargo hauling needs, we now suggest buying a Bikes At Work trailer, getting multiple cargo bikes, or purchasing a Rock The Bike Table Trailer, which are made to order.  Read on to learn about The Biker Bar, which we sold between 2007 and 2012. 
 
The spirit of the Biker Bar is still alive at our Pedal Powered concerts. Whenever 3 or more bike generators are lined up (hopefully with a view of the music), we call it a Biker Bar. It’s still the social Power Plant for events. Check out this video of our 2012 Bicycle Music Festival to see a 17-person Biker Bar in action! 
 
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The Social Power Plant for events.

Bring the element of Social Biking to your next event with the Biker Bar, now available for rental in both New York and San Francisco, and for sale or DIT (Do It Together) kit purchase in other places.  Better than solar panels and biodiesel generators, the Biker Bar gets people talking and pedaling together as they power a concert, a rally, or whatever your creative mind envisions.

Three regular people on a Biker Bar can deliver a steady 200 watts of clean AC power, and up to 600 Watts at peak moments. That may not sound like much when you compare it to an incandescent lightbulb, but that’s the point. We should be celebrating things that can use less power. And music, fortunately, is one of those things.

The wattage ratings of audio equipment such as amps and speakers will always be higher than their average power consumption. This is because music is spiky in nature. When  the beat hits or the bass is heavy, instantaneous power consumption is high, but between the beats, the power use is low. So three pedalers on the Biker Bar do have the power to get people dancing.

 

 

The Biker Bar becomes a functioning trailer

The Biker Bar converts to a heavy duty 8′ cargo trailer that helps you transport speakers and Pedal Power gear to an event.

 

Towing the Biker Bar

You can tow the Biker Bar with any bicycle, but if you live in a hilly area and intend to use the Biker Bar to carry equipment to and from events, we recommend an Electric Mundo, as shown above.

The Biker Bar can also be used as a mobile stage for LiveOnBike rides. Above, SHAKE YOUR PEACE! perform at the 2009 Bicycle Music Festival in San Francisco.

 

Pulling walkways off the Biker Bar.

Here’s how it all works. After you arrive at an event with the Biker Bar and unload it of your gear, you pull the floor sections off it and set it on the ground as walkways people will use to get on and off the bicycles. [note these photos show an early prototype, but the basic idea is still the same.]

Doing so reveals three rear swingarms and the bar itself. Lift up the swingarms. Remove the trailer wheels with a simple cotter pin, and set the Biker Bar on the ground, on its vibration-isolating rubber blocks.

Now take three bikes — almost any geared bicycles in good working order will do — and imoblize them on the bar using the sturdy swingarms. Pumping up the tires is essential to acheiving an efficient transfer of power to the bar itself.

The most democratic, grassroots way to power your event.

Up until now, the model we and others have used for pedal powered stage events is that special people bring special bikes to an event, each having its own generator. The public then takes turns powering the concert on the special bikes. The bikes’ outputs are coupled electrically, using wires. This model gets ordinary people pedaling, reminding them of their long lost bike love.

The Biker Bar allows you to use ordinary bikes, which takes it to the next level. Everyday people not only power the concert, they save the concert, by supplying the last, critical piece of gear, their bicycle.  And the power, rather than being coupled electrically, is now coupled mechanically by the bar itself, making the Biker Bar an extremely intuitive system to understand. This makes the Biker Bar the most grassroots way to power your event’s stage.
bicycle music festival by xtracycleinc.
Photo: XtracycleInc

Three rear wheels transfer power to a 2″ aircraft-grade steel tube, perfectly round and straight, that floats on precisely aligned bearings (skateboard trucks).

The large permanent magnet generator shown above quietly converts pedalers physical effort to electrical power. With 150-250 Watts of average power and the headroom to reach 1000-Watt peaks, you can run a respectable Pedal Powered Stage that gets hundreds dancing at a music festival, including mains, monitors, mixer and lighting. And you can easily haul it all there with the Biker Bar.

studio photos: RockTheBikeNYC

  • Spinning Wheels Power Tunes

    This article features our 2 Modified JBL PRX speakers, 3 Mundo 500‘s, a pedal power Utility Box and the Biker Bar. Shaun O’Dell published this article in the Register-Guard on May 6, 2010.

    Look for a bunch of music lovers on Saturday who plan to pedal — not peddle — on behalf of live musical acts.

    Thanks to $10,000 in tourism grants, the University of Oregon Bike Program has been able to purchase equipment for this year’s Bike Music Fest that will help support live music acts by pedal power. The Bike Music Fest, which is incorporated into the Willamette Valley Music Fest, happens Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The larger music festival will continue until midnight.

    (more…)

  • Biker Bar, DIT Kit Form

    Comes with almost* everything you need to build a 3-person Biker Bar. 30-40 hours assembly, depending on your skill level. DIT stands for “Do It Together”.  This is a great way to build up your Biker Bar, because you’ll know it inside and out.

    You must purchase wood locally. We estimate the amount to be less than $75.

     

     

    Status: build to order
    Rentable: no
    In The Box:
    In multiple boxes, actually:

    – 8′ Cargo Trailer

    – 500-watt permanent magnet generator

    – 3 reinforced swingarms to isolate rear wheels of bikes on Biker Bar

    – All pillow-block bearings, custom shaft couplers, float bearings, clamps

    – Hardware for mounting above to plywood

    – Footers for Biker Bar

    Not included:

    – Plywood, 2×4’s

    – Glue and screws for assembling stage.

     

    Price: $3,600.00

  • Fully assembled Biker Bar

    The Biker Bar is a 3-person generator that accepts three regular bikes in good working order.

    The Biker Bar is also functional 8′ Cargo Trailer that can carry music equipment, Bike Blenders, food, supplies, etc.

    The Biker Bar is towable by any bicycle. If you live in a hilly area or plan to carry heavy equipment, we recommend the Electric Mundo 1000.

    Price does not include shipping. Shipping to be arranged separately.

    Status: build to order
    Rentable: no
    Price: $4,950.00

  • RTB City Splatter t-shirt

    FINALLY!  You too can have a Rock the Bike T-shirt!  Silver graphic on a navy blue American Apparel t-shirt.  Super cozy, super soft.  Crew neck or “Chica” v-neck.

    Status: in stock

    Rentable: no

    Price: $20.00

  • sLEDgehammer

    sLED logo small
    The sLEDgehammer is an interactive light challenge that harkens back to the classic carnival Sledgehammer game. But here, the aim is to convert your peak power output to a beautiful light display. The sLEDgehammer is accurate, motivating, and visible from anywhere in the venue. It’s a fun way to get your event participants thinking, cheering, and breathing.
    The 11′ Tower and Stand are a great way to show pedalers their power.

    sLEDgehammer_01_2crop ANNOTATED


    The sLEDgehammer can be purchased as a single-player challenge or a dual:
    P2730304

     

    Above: Get multiple sLEDgehammers to add a competitive element and a larger presence at your event.

    Rules of the game:
    Pedalers must overcome the challenge phase in order to see the reward sequence. The faster they pedal, the more lights turn on, making it harder and harder to keep increasing the system voltage. If they push the lights all the way to the top of the tower, and keep them on for 3 seconds, they beat the challenge and win the game. Their stored energy is then used up in a dazzling display of light.  A difficulty knob makes the game easier or harder. The peak effort required to win is about 200W for the Easiest setting and 600W for the Hardest. In the Dual sLEDgehammer, everything is the same. To decide the winner, you start the two riders at the same time and give the win to the one who pushes the lights higher in the tower or gets the victory sequence to display first.
    Watch this video to see pedalers compete for sLEDgehammer victory at the 2016 Democratic National Convention!
    sLEDgehammer_02_brightened_rearranged_annotated
    The elements of a sLEDgehammer:
    • An efficient bicycle generator, such as the Electric Fender Blender Pro.
    • The sLEDgehammer circuit, which comes complete in a strain-reliefed enclosure with an Ultra Capacitor and all power cables.
    • 5 colored LED panels standing to a height of 11 feet tall.
    • Halogen lights at the top to win the game.
    • A wide base untippable tripod stand.
    The Bike: Any of our hub generators will do. But more than our other activities, pedalers on a sLEDgehammer tend to use their whole body to try to beat the game. You may benefit from additional stabilization of your generator. The Electric Fender Blender Pro, with its 3′ wide stance, is particularly well-suited to this application.

    The Circuit: The sLEDgehammer circuit is the brains of the operation, calculating watts as you pedal. The sLEDgehammer comes in an enclosed, strain-relieved circuit capable of handling 1500-Watt surges in power. Depending on how many LEDs you connect, you may need all that power handling. People will try to break this machine. The sLEDgehammer circuit runs cool, calm and collected even when your participants pedal their hardest.

    The sLEDgehammer runs on an Arbduino Pedal Power microcomputer, using the open-source Arduino platform. What this means is that you can optimize or change certain parameters to improve the activity.

    ***

    Custom Installations:

    The sLEDgehammer can be installed in several ways. Our favorite method is doing large custom installs like the ones shown on this page. They can either be done for a single event or on a semi-permanent basis. Custom installations use the same components: bike, lights, and circuit; and can be tailored to your event, activity, or facility. We work with you to deign and implement the sLEDgehammer. We then provide either full installation and crew at your location, or help and guidance for your crew prior to the event.

    Recommendations for output devices, i.e. Light:

    Please see above about “rules of the game”. There are two lighting segments of a sLEDgehammer — the Challenge Phase and the Reward Sequence. To make the Challenge Phase truly challenging, you need to connect at least 200 Watts of lighting, perhaps as much as 500 for the fittest riders.  The most impressive way to achieve this, and the best option for a large space is to use LEDs both the challenge phase and the Reward Sequence. This makes the Challenge Phase visible to much larger groups of people, which increases the crowd interaction. A lower-cost substitution is to use incandescent bulbs for the Challenge Phase, which has the benefit of highlighting the comparative energy efficiency of newer lighting technologies. With incandescents you can make the Challenge Phase truly challenging. Incandescents will cost less* because you need far fewer of them to achieve the Wattage goals of the Challenge Phase. (* That’s also the reason they are worse for the environment.)

     

    Costs:

    11 Foot Tall Tower, Tripod Stand, and Circuit: $360

    Assembled dimensions:  

    The Tower is 53″ long x 132″ tall, 43″ wide.

    The Generator Pro is 56″ long, 39″ tall, 31″ wide.

    Rentable: Yes! Find out more.

    Custom Installation: Contact us for options and pricing.

    Status: Made to order. Please give us 6 – 8 weeks to build custom circuitry.

  • The Biker Bar uses regular bikes, requiring no customization

    Previous designs of pedal power systems have relied upon special bikes customized with individual generators. The Biker Bar allows you to use ordinary bikes, which takes it to the next level. Everyday people not only power the concert, they save the concert, by supplying the last, critical piece of gear, their own bicycle. And the power, rather than being coupled electrically, is now coupled mechanically by the bar itself, making the Biker Bar an extremely intuitive system to understand. This makes the Biker Bar the most grassroots way to power your event’s stage.

    You don’t have to wait until the general public arrives to get the Biker Bar set up with bikes. Organizers, volunteers, and staff can supply the bikes also.

    • Fewer wires means fewer headaches

      When pedal power is coupled mechanically in the bar itself, there are fewer wires to tape down, trip over, and trouble shoot. It’s also a more intuitive and cool way to join pedalers’ efforts.

      In practical use of bicycle music systems, we’ve found that the majority of system failures are due to wiring and strain relief issues, not actual component failures.

    • Biker Bar doubles as a cargo trailer rated for hundreds of pounds of gear

      If you’re interested in offering a Pedal Powered Stage in your community, the ability to haul it there without a Pickup truck is a major plus. The Biker Bar can carry the speakers and gear you’ll need to get to and from gigs.

      The wooden top platform stiffens the overall spine of the trailer, making it more predictable to ride with heavy loads.

    Related Products

    • sLEDgehammer

      sledgehammer-courtyard

      The sLEDgehammer is an interactive light challenge that harkens back to the classic carnival Sledgehammer game. But here, the aim is to convert your peak power output to a beautiful light display. The sLEDgehammer is accurate, motivating, and visible from anywhere in the venue. It’s a fun way to get your event participants thinking, cheering, […]