Rock The Bike: BLOG

It’s official, the Dual sLEDgehammer is a thing.

Jul 22, 2015Posted by

P2730304

Now you can host a competitive pedaling challenge at your event with this side-by-side competitive sLEDgehammer. It converts 100% of the riders’ muscle power to light and feels harder as more light stages turn on. The rider who sustains the highest Wattage level for 3 seconds and reaches the victory sequence first is the winner.  We took it out to a party for the semiconductor industry last week and got dozens of people pedaling and competing, breathing and gritting their teeth in an evening-long series of heats to determine the strongest rider in the company.

Here’s a good view of the gear. The only thing out of view is the power-analyzing circuit that typically sits on a nearby table. The key elements shown are:  2 Generator Pros (bikes), 2 11′-tall sLEDgehammer light towers, cabling.

 

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New video shows why we switched to BlendTec pitchers: better ease of use, better pricing.

Jun 26, 2015Posted by

The BlendTec Wildside + XR pitcher now comes standard with our High Performance Upgrade for Fender Blenders. You can still buy Vitamix brand equivalent pitchers at the time of purchase or after, but they’re more expensive. Plus, we like the BlendTec pitcher better. Great news all around. Thanks BlendTec!

Kids provided 75% of the energy for our 3-day festival stage at Maker Faire. How? Lots of bikes.

Jun 3, 2015Posted by

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.

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What can I power with Rock The Bike Generators?

Mar 31, 2015Posted by

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.

More on Pedal-Powering LEDs:

The Svelte or Sledgehammer generator wheel or DC Roll up stand produce variable DC voltage. The faster you pedal the higher the voltage. We try to optimise the gear ratio and electrical activity to be around 24volts when pedaling at a comfortable speed.  The Load or wattage of your activity (LEDs) will determine the difficulty.

The variable DC voltage of these generators is a good match for custom interactive LED activities and is fun and beautiful when done artfully.

Strips of 12V LEDs can be put in 24V series, 36V series, or 48V series or a combination of these. When used in combination, the lower voltage lights turn on first, and then the higher voltage LEDs.  Brightness of the LEDs will increase with voltage. To prevent overvoltage from damaging the lights, you have to use enough that pedalers are sufficiently tired out by trying to keep them on.  Keep in mind the age and ability of your pedalers. Rolls of flexible LEDs often consume about 1W per foot. 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 by pairing them with a capacitor.

The “Off The Wall” generator wheel and Roll Up stand produce a higher variable voltage, closer to that of wall power. LEDs will need a switching power supply, usually with an input of 100 to 240volts, an output that matches the voltage of the LEDs (12v), and sufficient current for the number of LEDs. The interactivity of the LEDs is slightly less because they simply turn on and will not change in brightness, but will stay on over a wide range of pedal speed. Incandescent bulbs can be directly plugged into the Off The Wall and used as a comparison to the LEDs. They require much more energy and are usually less bright, but will glow brighter the faster you pedal. Make sure to match the wattage of the bulbs to your pedalers ability… bulbs can burn out!

Warning:  Power supplies and other equipment can be over-voltaged and damaged when load / resistance is not enough and a pedaler is able to pedal really fast, producing a high voltage for an extended amount of time. We are developing a safety circuit that reduces the voltage if it gets over 240volts which may help in some situations.

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

Mar 5, 2015Posted by

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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Can you put ingredients in your bike blender and process them while riding down mountains? Yes you can.

Jan 9, 2015Posted by

Props to RTB customer Mark Harris for this fun video demonstrating one fun way to enjoy bike blending.

In his blog, the “Transcendental Art of Bicycle Blender Touring”, Mark documents his travels with the Fender Blender Xtracycle, in which he pulls edible food from the side of the road, adds an ingredient or two (sometimes just water) and blends on the go. (more…)

Introducing the High Performance Upgrade for Fender Blenders

Nov 11, 2014Posted by

Blue FBP Blendtech 72dpi (1)

Same frame, same base. New Blendtec-made pitcher.

 

We’re changing the name of our high-end Bike Blenders from “Vitamix Upgrade” to “High Performance Upgrade” and including a Blendtec pitcher rather than a Vitamix pitcher. We’re also now offering new package pricing that will make it easier for customers to get 2 or 3 pitchers per bike. Having more pitchers is key to meeting the needs of a crowd. We will continue to sell both our value-priced Oster-compatible pitchers and our Vitamix brand pitchers. (more…)

Pedal Powered homecoming at USC

Oct 24, 2014Posted by

A growing number of students are considering how their values meet up with the production style of campus events. At USC the Environmental Student Assembly wanted to showcase that big events can be green events. Rock The Bike was up to the challenge. One of the cool things that the student organizers contributed was the ‘sponsorship’ of individual bikes by campus organizations. Note the signs on handlebars… Campus orgs got exposure in exchange for providing volunteer pedalers. No power outages all night (except when we tried to plug in a fog blaster 😉 ).