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Rock The Bike

Pedal Power on Campus

Pedal Powered concerts are a treat for Earth Days on college campuses. Students work together to power student bands and local bands.

 

 

 

 

Pedal power for outage preparation

A quality bike generator from Rock The Bike can be a serious — and seriously fun — component in your preparedness plan for upcoming Public Safety Power Shutoffs during this year’s fire season in Northern California, or any type of outage. While battery banks last for a while, and solar panels can refresh them during the sunny hours, only a quality bike generator allows you to contribute a targeted burst of energy whenever you need to. For years we promoted our pedal power gear for event activities, not for emergency preparedness, because the latter felt like a downer. Then we tried it. It’s fun, relatively quiet (compared to a gas generator), plus you get exercise and it’s a great learning lab!

In this post we’ll break down what to expect when designing a system, and how Pedal Power can fit into your existing system.

Backup systems can get expensive, so we’ll start off with some good news.

If you already have an existing off-grid solar system or you own a battery backup system, (commonly sold as “solar generators”or “power banks”), there’s a good chance you can connect Rock The Bike’s Roll Up DC generator stand to the 12V or 24V solar panel input. This is great news for anyone wants to improve the performance and flexibility of their existing system and have some fun in the process. If you want the stability and looks of our Generator Pro, you can also use it, however, only with a 24V compatible input.

More good news. If you don’t have a battery system, you can now have a complete preparedness solution for well under $1000 with Off The Wall. Pedaling the Off The Wall will directly charge & power many devices including your communications without an additionaly battery backup.  For under $2000, you can upgrade and go with Off The Wall Pro. How can a single bike generator power a house? It can’t. But neither can most of the battery or small solar systems on the market. In fact, having the right expectations and knowledge of what you’re going to be able to do is the key to emergency preparedness.  It’s all about knowing what your goal is. If you set a modest but achievable preparedness goal, like keeping your communications gear powered up so you can coordinate with others, then a single quality bike generator can be a complete system. 

Sandra uses the Roll Up Generator Stand to charge a battery bank, allowing lights and devices to be powered now and later.

Now the nitty gritty. What are some of goals you may have as you consider the possibility of an upcoming outage, and how can you hit them?

Said another way, if an outage happens and it threatens to be a long one, what devices would you want to stay on? Everyone’s situation is different, but we’ve identified 2 approachable preparedness goals that may resonate with you:

Cost
Goal
Approach
Features / Benefits
$ Never lose communications – charge phones, radios and laptops. (During the ‘public safety power outages’ of 2019, cell service continued while homes lost power) Off The Wall Generator Stand Extremely compact and doesn’t take much closet / garage space. About the size of a carry-on bag.
Simple! Directly connects to phone chargers with no intermediate circuits.
No battery to maintain.
Fun. You pedal, the phones light up and devices charge.
Portable. You can ride somewhere and help others by setting up a temporary power hub.
Educational. Feel the load as you pedal. Simultaneously charging more phones, laptops & devices gets harder to pedal. Upgrade to the Comparator Display to see the exact amount of power in Watts.
$$ Never lose communications Off The Wall Pro Same benefits as Off The Wall stand but you don’t have to supply a bike. Comes with everything. Frame fits kids and adults. Easily switches to bike blending. * Requires more space than Off The Wall stand.
$$ Never lose communications. Use low power devices when you’re not pedaling, like LED lights Roll Up DC Generator Stand + Small “power bank”. The leading brands are Goal Zero and Jackery Fairly compact & bike mobile. Your system now has 2 components and uses fairly little garage / closet space. With the battery storage you can pedal now, use energy later. Or you can keep your system charged from the wall, use up the energy, then pedal to recharge it.
$$$ Never lose communications. Use low power devices when you’re not pedaling, like LED lights Generator Pro + Small backup power box Same benefits as above but with our Pro frame that fits kids and adults. Easily expands to bike blending. * Requires more space than the Roll Up generator stand. Can still be moved around fairly easily if you purchase the trailer wheels.
$$$$ Keep your food fresh and maintain communications and have efficient lights on at night. 1 or more Roll Up Generator Stands or Generator Pros +
Large backup system* such as Titan or Humless
Depending on the system you purchase, this could still be relatively compact in terms of garage space, however it’s now going to be so heavy that you won’t want to carry it. Get exercise as you help charge your system. Use solar panels if you can. Once you start running a fridge, it will be less likely you’ll be able to keep up with your energy usage through pedal power alone. But you can prolong your battery. Even if all 4 people pedaled for an hour a day you wouldn’t keep up with the energy usage of a fridge.

* Notes about keeping food fresh (bottom option in the table and biggest electrical load):

Your fridge probably uses 50W 24hrs a day on average, and this is within reach with a larger system. Larger backup systems have integrated inverters strong enough to run a fridge, and larger batteries that are measured in KiloWatt-hours or kWh. For each day of anticipated outage you’ll need roughly 1 kWh (1000Wh) of batteries.

Having a few small lamps with LED bulbs won’t change this, as you’ll only need them for a couple hours a day and they use little power.

A note on DIY. The larger you plan to build your system, the more you’ll save by going DIY. Here are some of the steps you’d go through.

To purchase:

  • Large 48V lithium battery with integrated Battery Management System (BMS)
  • Large 48V inverter rated at least 1500 Watts Pure Sine
  • Wall charger with 100-240V input power rating
  • Wiring
  • Solar panels + charge controller
  • Off The Wall or Off The Wall Pro

What’s the difference between this approach and an Off Grid Power system? The difference is that an Off Grid power system powers everything and a backup power system powers only a portion of your devices.

Can I do more than power just my fridge and a few lights? Yes. You can. The 2 goals identified above are the ones we think are relevant to most Rock The Bike readers. To set your own preparedness goals, you’ll want to start with a Kill A Watt and do your own energy audit. The Kill A Watt tells you the Wattage used by any device. Multiply by the number of hours per day that device will get used to find the energy required per day. If it’s something like a fridge that goes on/off/on/off all the time, use the Kill A Watt’s energy tracking mode to give you the info you need. Add all your daily device subtotals and multiply by the length of outage you want to be prepared for and that’s your big number. Then when you buy your battery, multiply again by 1.5 as batteries almost always under perform their ratings.

Confused? Want help? We do this stuff! Contact us for a free 20 minute consultation, which could lead to us designing or building a system for you or could just give you a greater handle on the most confusing parts of DIY.

Preparing for a major power outage will force you to understand which of your devices are using the most energy, a highly educational process. Adding a quality bike generator into your system makes it way more fun. It’s the difference between taking in numbers and understanding it in your body as you sweat and get a workout. An off-grid system is a learning lab for appreciating energy, and of course, if well-designed, it will help you get through outages. But during most of the year, when power is flowing bountifully from the power company to you, your system will still help you! For one thing you can reduce your bill and usage of dirty power by running some devices off your solar/Pedal Power system. Whenever you want one, you can get a workout in which your effort isn’t wasted in heat but collected in useful energy. And there’s another important way to save. You’ll be so much more connected to your energy usage, you’ll remember to turn devices off. So, even if power outages are only in effect for days each year, the awareness you’ll gain will result in real savings the rest of the year. Learnings from participating in your energy production can give you the knowledge you need to reduce your electricity bills, which will help pay back the equipment and make you a better steward of the environment.

Whatever strategy you choose for outage preparedness, devoting some freezer space to large frozen bottles of water will create a thermal battery that can slow down the thaw of your fridge. You can move the bottles from the freezer to fridge and keep your food fresh. 

Here's how some protesters at Standing Rock are generating electricity The latest on the pipeline protests: http://cnn.it/2g2eCOE

Posted by CNN on Friday, December 2, 2016

Your Name in Lights!

LightBox in use at the 2018 New York State Fair. We calibrated it to be a fun challenge and attraction for kids. 3 kids working together can do it.

 

Fun, challenge and teamwork in action are the main benefits of our newest Pedal Powered Activity, the LightBox, an 8 x 8 Pedal Powered custom illuminated light sign that could be a hit for your org or company.

Having a multi-person activity like the Light Box leads to genuine teamwork moments at your events. We’ve seen this so many times in our concerts that it got us excited to create a team light challenge. It’s visible from hundreds of feet, making it an attraction. As people get closer they’ll see the bikes and get excited to take a turn. Coaching it is easy. Just help the riders on and use your hands, voice or a PEDAL! sign to start each challenge. You’ll see people high fiving as they bring your name to light.

Each logo requires its own individual creative approach to get the most from the available pedal power. For the NY State Fair we divided the classic I heart NY logo into its four letters/symbols, then wired each to one of the outputs of a sLEDgehammer circuit. When people pedal, more of the symbols turn on until they all enter a ‘party mode’ for a few moments. Then the game resets for the next group.
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1000 smoothies in 6 hours?!

Occasionally we attempt a really big smoothie operation, in which we show up with hundreds of pounds of fruit, ice, juices, etc., and get lots of people bike blending.

If this is what you’re going for too, here are the factors you’ll need to consider:

– Time (prep, setup, and the event itself)
– Ingredients
– # of Bike Blenders and enough space to position them
– # of pitchers
– Other kitchen gear: tent, tables, washing system, banners, waste system.
– size of your crew
– will you be sampling (giving away the rest of the pitcher)? Or will each person blend their own smoothie?

Last Wednesday we did a big gig at the Cal Campus in Berkeley. The client / partner was Under Armour and their event firm Engine Shop. The goal was 1000 smoothies in 6 hours with 10 Fender Blender Pros. We nearly hit the goal. We got a lot of things right and learned a lot too, and here’s a report of all that.

Set up time.
We showed up with a fully packed van at 8:30AM for an 11 O’Clock start time. Unloading with 4 people took 30 minutes, including positioning the bikes. By 9AM we were up to 5 people. With this size group we were able to set up the entire smoothie booth operation in 2 hours with time for coffee!

Crew size:

I planned on having a crew of 5 at the peak, but this wasn’t enough. We really needed a crew of 7. The event provided us 1 coach and our crewmember Caleb came on as a floater midday, to bring some things we forgot from the shop, and to help with the lunchtime rush. He stayed till the end. We had an experienced crew. Only their staffer was a newbie.
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Coming to a Spin Class Near You

Rock the Bike has rocked events around the Bay Area with our message of pedal-powered revolution. We’re ramping it up – for the first time, people who take their daily spin class will wire back the energy generated by their workout into their electrical grid, helping to power their work place as they get inspired to bike towards a lower carbon footprint.

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Update on advocacy and giving

We’re stepping up our giving and pro bono work more than ever before. Below is a rundown of what we’ve been up to lately. Thank you to all our customers; your purchases stabilize our operation and make this kind of direct social impact possible.

Paul and the BooLander recently rode the Climate Ride Death Valley, and used his network of friends, fans, and RTB fans to raise over $3600 for Climate orgs. Paul pitched in $1400 of that, covering the ride costs. Fundraising is still open!

boolander_climate rally_orange sweater-min

 

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BooLander, new custom tall tandem, hits the streets and the National Parks

Coverage update! The BooLander gets a sweet write up in Bicycle Times Magazine

and a beautiful video from KQED Arts:


What’s up bicycle customizers, feast your eyes on the BooLander, the latest custom bike to hit the streets at Rock The Bike. 

The BooLander is a vertical tandem (riders are top / bottom versus the more common front / back arrangement) with optional swing-out ‘landers’ or ‘roots’, that stabilize the rig when mounting, dismounting, starting, and stopping. Read More

Interview: RTB’s support of the 2016 Pleasant Revolution tour

In summer 2016 we supported and rode with the Pleasant Revolution bike music tour of the West Coast. Here’s an interview in which Kipchoge Spencer, the founder of the Pleasant Revolution, asks RTB’s founder Paul Freedman ( a.k.a. Fossil Fool) about the experience. The photos are Paul’s.

KS: What made you want to join the tour?

PF: I’ve been taking myself on increasingly long summer bike tours for years and have always found it to be a high point of the summer. I knew I wanted to join for week or more when I heard about it. Just to be on bike tour was my main motivation. I also wanted to back up their purchase of our pedal powered gear.
KS: How long did you ride, days/miles? From where to where?

PF: I joined the crew on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia—they were already on tour. I met them at the Farmers Market when they were setting up for a Biketopia Music Festival. I stayed with them for two weeks, until Seattle, and then joined them again on the Sonoma coast of California for another stint. I think our biggest day of riding was 50-55 miles approaching Seattle. I felt it on the train ride home, I could barely walk!

I always like combining public transportation with bike touring. To meet up with them the first time, I took Amtrak to Seattle, a ferry to Victoria, B.C. and then biked from there to the Salt Spring ferry. The second time I was able to take a bus from San Francisco to the coast to meet up with them.

KS: You’ve toured with the Pleasant Revolution before, in 2010 in Spain. Except for Heather Normandale, one of the artists, this was a completely different crew this year. How did this one compare to the Pleasant Revolution that the Ginger Ninjas led?
PF: Two of the main differences were the consensus decision making process and the stated goal of it being a women led tour.  (Although that seemed a little contradictory—being consensus on the one hand but “women led” on the other). In Spain I had seen you leading the tour and everyone else playing their supporting roles.
The level of difficulty seemed lower this time to me on the parts I was on. But that’s not a fair comparison because when I joined in Spain you were in the heart of the Pyrenees and had been riding for months.
There were a lot of first time riders, folks who’d never been on a bike tour before, who began as musicians much more than bike riders. A really strong value was that the tour be a group uplifting process. It was more nurturing and focused on empowerment of every rider.

Daily meditation practice in Port Angeles. Note the huge logging truck!

I felt that in the participation at the shows, where there was a strong value that everyone should have a voice and a purpose. Like, for instance, there was a dedicated MC (Nate) and there were circus elements and clowning for non-musicians (Nicky and Mega).
When I joined in Europe there were some particular days when I felt like it was a really athletic endeavor. Like the day we went probably 60 miles, mostly on dirt, through twelve pitch black old railroad tunnels and over a small mountain and I had lots of flats, too. That time I had a fully loaded cargo bike with sound equipment and group gear, and this time I had a pretty easy experience with a titanium road bike and very little group gear, since I knew the the tour had the load carrying bases covered without my help.
Playing shows in North America was really different than Europe. More organizing and pre-planning was needed here, whereas we did more impromptu gigs in Europe where we’d just show up in a city square, set up and play. I think that was both because of the personalities on this tour and the laws. This crew didn’t want to get hassled or forced to stop playing and they did the pre-work to get permission and make sure it didn’t happen.
KS: Favorite day of riding?
PF: I had a couple. The favorite moment was moving towards Port Townsend, Washington in the evening, on the 20.

Dusk ride toward Port Townsend.

I volunteered to go in back because I had a strong taillight and we’d been warned about truck traffic on that road. The group was staying very tight, moving steadily up a 4 mile hill together. There were some big logging trucks that passed us; they were all pretty respectful but it was a big deal when we got passed as it took them a couple minutes to pass us all. During that time you’d hear them rumbling and you’d hear the group calling out to each other to stay safe. I was feeling the teamwork and the human powered nature of what we were doing, and the comparison to the fossil fuel and car culture directly to our left. Then the truck would drop out of site and we’d be riding through a quiet forest at dusk again.

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What are the different models for a pedal powered concert?

The specific technical approach we take at each Pedal Powered Stage event now depends on the size and nature of the audience, the purpose of the event, the nature of the music. Ultimately we strive to provide an eye-opening and inspiring experience to both the audience and musicians. New compromise approaches have allowed us to connect with more and different types of audiences.

Some audiences are physically fit college students. Others are primarily kids. We’ve developed a few different ways to use our own equipment to adapt to different event conditions. If you have an upcoming event please take a look and consider these models.

Purist: All energy used is generated by the pedalers. This approach is simple, electrifying and athletic. Outages are allowed to occur when pedalers don’t respond to low voltage signals from the Pedalometer. To prevent outages, our coaches actively recruit new pedalers and stoke pedalers to pay maximum attention to the Pedalometer and boost their output when it’s low. Even small improvements like raising and lowering the seat for a few riders can make a real difference in total power outputted by a group. If outages happen repeatedly even though the bikes are fully occupied and well adjusted, this is because the system is using more energy than people can reasonably pedal. The tech crew must find ways to add more generator bikes or turn off energy-hogging equipment.  Advantages: fun, entertaining, educational, simple. Disadvantages: bands can be interrupted by outages, may require more bikes.

Primed Purist: Like the above, but accepting of the fact that people don’t usually like pedaling before an event begins. What happens before an event? Sound checking of bands, testing our gear. Using batteries to power the sound check we get through it as quickly as possible.

Grid backup: All or some equipment is powered by the grid. Pedalers put energy back into the grid. An “Ahead / Behind” meter shows pedalers whether they are keeping up with the energy use of the system.

Fitness of the audience.

Message v. Music

What is a coach?

You’ve gone to great lengths to have an interactive Pedal Power activity at your event, and you want the best results. We’ve found that having a “coach” is essential to having a hit. Once you read all the different things a coach does, you’ll want one too. The person who greets your group as they come up to the bike, who answers their questions, who reassures them that they’ll do fine even if they haven’t been on a bike in a long time, who helps them get on and off, who leads the cheering for them — that’s the coach.

Coaches function as the host, making sure the bike works optimally for each rider and that everyone has a fun and uplifting experience with Pedal Power. You can provide your own coach — it’s not difficult to be a good one. Our trained staff is also available if you want to hire the pros (look under Services to see which activities we can provide a crew for). In the end, it doesn’t matter who supplies the coaches, only that you have one for every rider.

The Benefits of Having a Coach

Having a coach instantly makes your Pedal Power activity a warm and lively attraction. It means you have someone stationed at the activity whose only job is to think about the pedalers — their safety, fun, and learning. That kind of undivided attention means that everyone gets the bike adjusted to fit them well — if the seat is too high, the rider will strain to reach the pedals; if it’s too low, the rider does not get a strong experience of their own muscle power. Read More

Rentable Pedal Powered Activities

You can green your event by renting our Pedal Power gear, reducing your carbon footprint and inspiring people at your event. Pedal Power gives your event attendees a unique experience that they will never forget. Check out all our great Pedal Powered activities for rent, and let’s start talking about your upcoming event. Read More

Bike Blender Rentals

Bike-Blending-Vegas-Health-Convention

We rent our best bike blender, the Fender Blender Pro (High Performance), for $300 per event day. Each comes with a commercial-grade, NSF-rated 48 oz blender pitcher, the same kind in use at smoothie shops. Extra pitchers can be rented for $20, and we recommend extras so you can increase the throughput of the activity. Please see our helpful guide on estimating how many bike blenders and pitchers you’ll need for your event.

You will receive the bike a day before your event, and return it the day after your event. If your event falls on a weekend your rental will arrive the Friday before and ship back the Monday after. If you’d like to receive your bike earlier, or need time to re-pack and ship after  — rather than the standard 1 day we provide — an Extra Day can be added for an additional $50 / day per bike.

The Fender Blender Pro will need a 10′ x 10′ space minimum, as well as a table to prepare ingredients. This space will fit one bike, 1 – 2 crew, a table, and some extra space for spectators.

Our bikes are sure to leave an imprint on your event. In August 2017 one past rental customer emailed, “People have not stopped talking about how fun that bike was since we used it in March of 2015. I’d say you all made quite the impression!”

Bay Area Rentals: Pickup v Delivery.

For rentals in the Bay Area, the client is responsible for pickup and return of gear, unless they are paying for delivery/pick-up. There is no charge to pick up a day before your event and return the day after. Our main pickup location is our workshop in Oakland (6323 San Pablo Avenue), but we can also arrange pickup in San Francisco at one of our homes (Mission District or Bernal Heights) for a $75 fee, assuming our staff are in town for your required dates/times. When you pick up your bike we will give you a quick lesson on the bike and help you load your vehicle. For information on what kind of bike rack you’ll need, please see What kind of bike rack should I use?

We encourage you to try bike towing with your rental bike. It’s fun, safe, practical and great for the carbon footprint of your event. Any bicycle with a rear rack can tow the Fender Blender Pro. There is no extra rental charge for the trailer wheels and hitch.

Our delivery fee starts at $150. Delivery includes a overview of the bike and tips for a successful event. For deliveries in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland, we are likely to get it there by bike as shown above, no trucks or loading docks needed! The bike easily fits through most doorways and elevators at your location. Delivery also possible in the greater Bay Area by vehicle. Our delivery radius is about 40 miles before we will only be willing to serve you with a crewed smoothie booth, or offer shipping (see below). Delivery is a special service that requires coordination among our team, and is harder to arrange last minute. Please give us as much advance notice as possible. Availability of delivery services is not guaranteed, but we have also not said no many times!

Out of Town Rentals: Shipping

For out of town rentals, we package and ship the Fender Blender to you, so it arrives the day before your event, then you ship them back the day after your event. Your rental cost will be:

The rental rate of $300 per event day * the number of bikes * the number of event days * any multi-day discount that applies (see below)

+ cost of shipping both ways (usually $150 – $300 per bike in the continental US)

+ a packaging fee of $85/bike (higher if you use a pallet).

+ a distance fee to account for time this rental unit will be away from our shop. Up to $200 per bike for an East Coast address.

If this cost is too great for your budget, we recommend purchasing a FB Universale, which starts at $249 + shipping. Unfortunately, we do not rent the Fender Blender Universale.

Pallet Shipping Option
Ship your rental on a pallet anywhere in the Continental US and receive your Fender Blender Pro ready to blend, no assembly necessary! Contact us today to get an estimate (please provide a destination address). Pallet packaging is $120 for up to 2 bike blenders, or $150 for 2 pallets 3+ bike blenders.

Multi-Day Discounts
Our tier system allows you to save money on an event that lasts 2+ days. Multi-Day Discounts only apply to the cost of rented gear. Discounts are not applicable for packing fees or shipping costs.

To calculate eligibility:

Event Days Discount
2 – 3 10%
4 – 6 18%
7+ 25%

 

Hire Us to Crew Your Smoothie Booth
Rock the Bike can supply experienced crew members who can cover all aspects of this activity. We’ll bring the bike, coach the activity, and ensure higher volumes at your event. The crew fee is $900 / day* for the first crew member and $600 / day* for each additional crew member. We’re fun-loving and outgoing event people. We’ll make sure the smoothies are sweet and tangy, and that everyone gets a chance to pedal.

*Note: Crew fees assume that the time on-site will be 8 hours or less and they do not include the cost of ingredients or cups. We can bring smoothie supplies and serveware for a fee, or you can provide them by using our sample shopping lists for guidance, whether you plan to hand out 100 smoothies in two hours or 500+ smoothies over two days.

Here’s what past clients have to say about Rock the Bike crewing their events:

The smoothie bike was a huge hit and a lot of employees said that they loved you as the facilitator, that you were fun and friendly. Thanks for making our event successful!
Cost Plus World Market (Health Fair)

I just wanted to say thank you so very much for taking the time to have Rock the Bike come out and support Wente Vineyards this week. We really enjoyed working with you all and look forward to future events.
– Wente Vineyards (Health Fair)

Please go here for more information on hiring Rock the Bike to crew your event.

 Custom wheel branding on your rental

We offer full vinyl custom wheel wraps for rentals, and they are quite eye catching. The fee for printing graphics, installation and post-event removal is $450 per bike. Artwork must be received in print ready format. For an additional fee, Rock the Bike can assist with graphic layout, design and include a rendering proof. Costs of graphic design depend on what the client can provide, and what the desired outcome entails; it can range from $300 – 600 accordingly.

 


FBPro Fuel Up to Play 60 Red Blendtec Perspective

Making your own wheel branding art? Art must be received print ready – 300dpi in PDF or TIFF file format — 3 weeks prior to your ship deadline . Download the wheel branding template and see examples here

What comes with my rental?

Rock The Bike sends you the bikes and blenders you ordered, but we do not supply any cups or ingredients for making smoothies. Be prepared to acquire these items before your event! Check our sample shopping lists for guidance on what to get, whether you plan to hand out 100 smoothies in two hours or 500+ smoothies over two days.

Need ideas for bike blending? Check out our recipes here.

How many ingredients should you buy? Check out our helpful guide here. We also have a 100 Smoothies Shopping Lists, as well as a 500+ Smoothies Shopping List.

Rent-To-Own Program

If you fall in love with your Bike Blender, and we think you will, you may purchase it from us! You must let us know immediately (within 1 day of your event’s end date) that you intend to purchase the bike, and the full cost of your rental will go toward the purchase. The remainder must be received within 5 business days. Failure to pay within that time frame will result in late fees ($100/day).

Example Rental Estimate for a one-day event in New York City

Item Cost
1 Bike Blender $300
1 Additional Pitcher (total of 2) $20
Packaging Fee $85
FedEX Ground Round Trip Shipping to NYC $159
Distance fee $200
TOTAL $764

How does the rental process work?

Email us using the below form to see if we can accommodate your event. If so, we’ll get you a Rental Agreement and request payment in full. Bikes are rented on a first come, first served basis. We recommend contacting us as soon as possible to lock in your rental and frame color preferences. Have a credit card handy; we require a card kept one on file to process and ship your rental.

NOTE: You may be subject to shipping and/or processing fees if you change your shipping location after you have already made full payment on your rental.

[contact-form-7 id=”10232″ title=”Request a Rental Quote_version2.0″]

Compare our Fender Blender prices, and see what other pedal power equipment is available to rent from us.

Crewed Recharge Bar

A Recharge Bar is a combination of a Recharge Station and a DJ Rig. It’s more than just a place to recharge phones; it’s downright groovy! It’s a place to relax, pedal, get your heart going, meet others, and send great music out to a larger space.

Conferences are all about the sharing of knowledge and connections between people. Lately, both of those things involve mobile technology. People share knowledge and connect to each other with the devices they hold in their hands, and those devices require power. At the Pedal Powered Recharge Bar, each bike has its 8 USB ports capable of charging up to 8 or more phones at once.
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New audience sizes at Maker Faire, recent rallies mark transition for Pedal Powered Stage

Maker Faire is very family oriented. The largest audience of the weekend was for Magician Bryan Patrick, whose sound needs were ironically minimal.

Since our earliest moments of Pedal Powered experimentation, I’ve been fascinated by how much sound comes from one pedaler’s efforts. I remember a 12-year-old powering my street performance at a charity bike event for an audience of 30-50 people in the early goings. He was into it! Not too hard, not too easy. Great sound out to about 20 feet from the speaker. The ratio of 1 pedaler for every 50-100 people at our events has roughly held as we’ve scaled up Rock The Bike’s full system to do larger events. At the Maker Faire in San Mateo this year, we brought an 18-bike system capable of entertaining over 1000 people, and at most times it was primarily powered by kids. The kids were not always able or interested in bringing our Pedalometer to the top of its range, but all things considered we had a breakthrough, so I wanted to bring you all up to date on it.

Some notable firsts from this year’s Maker Faire included (captions below photos):

First ever Kiddo Biker Bar featuring the largest number of kid-friendly Generator Pros we’ve ever brought out: 14. (4 on opposite side of the stage).

First use of Russian Dolls Sound System (shown hanging from bamboo tripods) in conjunction with a center fill main. The Russian Dolls system is an elevated system which stands about 10 feet to the left and right of the stage. A center fill is used to get great sound to the front rows without blasting the main audience.

Our mixer has a L, R, and M (mono) outputs. The M output is typically unused, but this time we used it for the center fill speaker (shown above with blue Rock The Bike stencil). Big improvement in listening quality in the main audience area.

Russian Dolls Sound System includes integrated smart LEDs capable of responding to the music.

These same speakers are also ready for night time use with beautiful integrated smart LEDs capable of responding to changes in the music on stage. Shown above in use at UCLA’s Ecochella earlier this year.

– First time passing the 10000 barrier on our Energy ‘Flip-0-meter’. Sadly it malfunctioned by reseting to 1000 after the big ‘9999’ moment, but I kept track and found that for the weekend-long Faire, we pedaled over 15000 Watt-Hours of energy.

– First time crafting a lineup with 0 down time. We used ‘tweener’ performances to keep the audiences entertained while setting up for larger band performances.

Now that Rock The Bike is focusing on larger events, who’s available for small and medium events?

Meanwhile performers and musicians from our music community who have been training on our system since we began doing Pedal Powered shows in 2007 are now offering medium sized stages using their own gear or borrowing gear from Rock The Bike.

Examples include:

– SHAKE YOUR PEACE! (Gabe Dominguez). Gabe purchased gear from Rock The Bike and continues to do Pedal Powered, battery powered, and traditionally powered sound for rallies, events, and weddings. He recently brought a Pedal Powered Stage to an anti-GMO rally.

– Justin Ancheta. Bandleader and crewmember now has the know-how to coordinate a 8-bike Pedal Powered Stage. Justin has been the stage-manager, booker, and crew coordinator at recent Rock The Bike events including Maker Faire.

– Cello Joe. Joey owns a 1 Bike / 1 Speaker system from Rock The Bike and can coordinate larger systems by borrowing additional gear. He can hold down long sets of his own original music and brings in special guests.

– Thomas Spellman. Thomas has served as the engineer of the Pleasant Revolution and has a Pedal Powered system of his own that’s capable of medium sized audiences, with a focus on events near Nevada City / Grass Valley. He’s also involved with up and coming performers in the Transformational Festival scene including Polish Ambassador.

What can I power with Rock The Bike Generators?

What can I power with a Generator Pro or Electric Fender Blender Pro?

Most common uses:

AC Power — Use our Pedal Power Utility Box or create your own 24V Pedal Power system with a battery and inverter. Our Pedal Power Utility Box is a complete system that features:

  • Ultracapacitor (absorbs every last Watt of effort)
  • Smart LED pedalometer (shows up to 5 people how hard to pedal. Bigger groups can plug in our Tube Pedalometer).
  • 1000W Pure Sine Inverter.
  • Protected wiring

USB Only: Our Cell Recharge Circuit and Cell Phone Recharge Desk both are capable of charging up to 8 devices at once.

LEDs (dumb): This low-cost activity is also fun and beautiful when done artfully. Wire 12V flexible LEDs in 24V series, 36V series, or 48V series or any combination of the above. When used in combination, the lower voltage lights turn on first, and the higher voltage LEDs will light only when you pedal fast enough. To prevent overvoltage conditions from damaging the lights, you have to use enough of them that the pedalers are sufficiently tired out trying to keep them on. The rule of thumb is that these lights consume about 1W per foot. Depending on the age group of your event / school / setting, your pedalers may be able to create up to 200-400W of power. If you want to challenge them and keep your LEDs cool, you may have to use that many feet of LED. If you choose 36 or 48V series wiring, this is less of a concern. Measure with a voltmeter and try to keep the LEDs under 150% of their rated voltage, especially for extended periods of time (more than a few seconds). You can also reduce the voltage spikes that the LEDs see by pairing them with a capacitor.

Ask about our LED kits!

LEDs (smart) : sLEDgehammer

Sound :   1 Bike / 1 Speaker

In terms of the above list, what’s the difference between a Roll Up, Generator Wheel, Electric Fender Blender Pro and Generator Pro?

The main difference is the Roll Up and Generator Wheel are capable of working well with 12v systems. The Electric Fender Blender Pro and the Generator Pro can technically be used with 12v systems, but the gearing will likely feel too hard. The Electric Fender Blender Pro and the Generator Pro are best suited to 24V systems.

Take a listen to our new music album: “Live and Pedal Powered from Maker Faire”

We collaborated with Maker Faire to record and produce an album of Pedal Powered performances from the 2014 Maker Faire. These and some studio tracks laid down at our upstairs music studio Soul Graffiti make up a new full-length compilation. Click play below. To listen while browsing the rest of this site, right click here and select “Open in new tab”.

The musicians featured on this CD are all available for local events, so please take a listen and get inspired to put together a bill with Rock The Bike at your next event!
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Roll Up Generator Stand

Roll up logo

Rock The Bike's low cost, high-performance, smooth rolling generator.

Rock The Bike’s low cost, high-performance, smooth rolling generator.

The Roll Up offers similar performance to our Generator Wheels, but weighs and costs less, and doesn’t require you to change out your rear wheel. It uses the same power generating elements found in our Generator Wheels but in an external roller, not inside the hub. It boasts a very large roller with a gritty composite surface that simulates riding on the road better than small rollers found in competing products, which waste energy as heat and cause more tire wear. The large contact patch formed between the 6” roller and your tire means less force is required (roller pressure). You won’t see any deformation of the tire. More of your good clean Pedal Power goes into the device you’re powering. Plus, the large roller functions as a flywheel to  smooth out your pedal stroke and make pedal power feel pleasant. And it’s quiet! Read More