Coming to a Spin Class Near You

Aug 20, 2017Posted by in Featured News, Roll Up Generator Stand | Comments Off on Coming to a Spin Class Near You

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

Feb 12, 2017Posted by in Blog, Featured News | Comments Off on Update on advocacy and giving

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

Jan 23, 2017Posted by in Blog, Featured News | Comments Off on BooLander, new custom tall tandem, hits the streets and the National Parks

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

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.

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

Nov 30, 2016Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Interview: RTB’s support of the 2016 Pleasant Revolution tour

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?

Nov 27, 2016Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 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

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