Rock The Bike

Yuba’s factory team takes first in the two-wheeled division at food-hauling cargo race “Supermarket Street Sweep”

Team Yuba’s Ben Sarrazin hauled 330 pounds of food, mostly rice, to a food bank to win the two-wheeled division of the “Supermarket Street Sweep. Rock The Bike ran support for the race.


The overall race winner, Jeremiah Ducate, hauled 900 pounds on a Reuben Margolin cargo trike. Together the riders in the load-carrying race brought in over 8500 pounds of food to the San Francisco food bank.

The required cargo on the manifest weighed only 30lbs, which is nowhere close to the Mundo’s 440-pound payload. So we stopped in Chinatown to load up 300 pounds of rice. The price went up $4 during our visit. Thanks to Geoff for pitching in.

Yet another good chance to “ride long distances, carry heavy loads.”

We had a crew of eight supporting one rider. A bit overkill, perhaps, but a nice way to spend a Saturday.

As you can see in the video, carrying the rice on the Mundo was, for the most part, quite stable. I was able to surf on top of five sacks of rice, which was a bit more scary than other forms of bike surfing.


The view from the Choprical Fish on 3rd St.

After the race we picked up Adam’s girls and went on a dusky sunset cruise.

Thanks SF Marathon runners and pedalers

Viv crew hamming it up between awards categories by you.
Rock The Bike brought our Pedal Powered Stage to the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon, where fans, runners, volunteers, and the crew pedal powered the awards ceremony. Above, Viv team volunteers helped us get a groove going between the different award classes.

Medaler Pedaler (with son). by you.

Even marathoners who’d podiumed — note the ribbon around this pedaler’s neck — summoned the energy to power the sound system for the award ceremony. One described it as “Good Recovery”. The two Electric Mundos shown above offer amazing stability, with their Lunar Lander kickstands, and an excellent size range for pedalers of all ages. The runner above was able to get his son pedaling along side him.

Biker Bar loaded after the SF Marathon. by you.


Above, arriving at the venue with our gear strapped to the Biker Bar. The wooden cover that protects the pedal power equipment mounted to the aluminum chassis also stiffens the overall structure, making it predictable and safe to ride with hundreds of pounds of gear. Depending on the distances and terrain where you’ll be riding, we recommend using the Mundo 1000, our electric cargo bike. The Mundo 1000 has plenty of pickup to get you up the hills, and its long wheelbase helps you get a stable ride when towing the Biker Bar.

First time dropping a tandem on the Biker Bar by you.

Although few people biked to the event, we were able to get the Biker Bar involved in the Pedal Power effort. This was the first time we had dropped a tandem on the Biker Bar, which couples the output of three bikes mechanically in a cromoly tube. It’s cool to think that the biker bar could actually harness six pedalers’ power!


Checking out the Pedalometer by you.

Our six-foot Pedalometer shows fans and pedalers the health of the pedal power system as measured by voltage.

A steady stream of marathoners, including the first place women's finisher, wanted to pedal their own smoothies. by you.

Better than mystery powders, what could be better than a fruit smoothie after a hard run? Luckily the Fender Blender Pro was in effect.

Rolling to the marathon as runners grab water. by you.

Above, our early morning gear run to the event brought us unexpectedly onto the route itself.

Towing FB Pro no handed in FreeLoader bag. by you.

Rolling back from the Marathon. Leif cruising no-handed on the Xtracycle with unclaimed flowers, pulling the Fender Blender Pro in trailer mode.


Weird coincidence

This afternoon in the workshop I got a call from Joel, the drummer from Afrolicious and Pleasure Maker (Thursdays at the Elbo Room). I met Joel when we were on the 2-Mile Challenge tour together. He said,

“Sorry I couldn’t make it to your gig last week, I was working.”

“Doing what?”


“Moving? Like for cash?


“How much they paying you?”

“18 an hour.”

“Dang, I’d offer you work at Rock the Bike, because we need help with assembly and packing and shipping right now, but we normally pay only $12.”

“That’s OK man, I’d totally work for you, because I believe in what you’re doing.”

“Really? Thanks Joel.”

“No problem. And you should come by the Elbo tonight.”

“Thanks, I’ll try to make it around 11. Can you put me on the guest list?”

Then I got home, had dinner and got a text from Julia about an event at Cellspace.

“OK I’ll swing by, but I’m going to Elbo later.”

The exhibit at Cell Space was an incredible cardboard city about 20 feet by ten feet, with a miniature helicopter floating around. There was a miniature remote control helicopter flying through the skyscrapers of the cardboard city. It’s up until April 17. Gotta go see it!

Anyway, after checking out the city, I suggested a cruise so we left. It was me, Julia, and Tyson, whose chain sounded like a chorus of crickets. We had a great ride up to Billy Goat hill, and watched the city. It was late so I had to coax them to come with me to the Elbo Room. But it was a downhill cruise awaiting us so it wasn’t that hard. Three abreast on Cesar Chavez was really nice. Julia was saying we felt like a bike gang. The Plush Red Down Glow on my my mom’s Electra was sweet. Sometimes it’s good to ride a totally simple bike. I can see the appeal of fixed gear bikes. I just love me knees. Anyway, we roll up to the Elbo Room. The woman at the door let all three of us in. Sure enough, Joel was in his element playing along on traps with Afrolicious. During a set break I got to introduce him to my friends and catch up a little. We danced until 1 or so and then cruised. I sprayed Boeshield on Tyson’s chain and said goodbye.

I headed upstairs and parked in front of the computer like I normally do when I should be sleeping. I checked the What’s Hot page on Rock the Bike. I noticed a comment on my post about JoyRider clothing, entitled bicycle fashion:

“Bravo! A clothing line that is not centered around spandex! At Velo Vogue, we also applaud cycling in normal fashionable clothing. Clothing lines such as Joyrider will help de-marginalize cycling for transportation! Looking good!”

So I clicked the link and sure enough it’s a hip little blog about San Francisco bicycle fashion, with lots of fun photos. And there at the bottom of the page, ladies and gentlemen, was Joel Elrod, riding with a companion in Golden Gate park, wearing a black hat and a cool T-shirt:


Sheldon Brown Memorial Ride in Austin

Southwest Cycling News’ Bob Farr, a.k.a. RudeBoyRobbo, shot some beautiful images of a ride in Austin in memory of Sheldon Brown.

I think San Francisco needs to host one. I’ll send out an invite to the SF Cruisers, and put it out there on Craigslist for Friday at Sunset. Meeting point: The Rev: a cafe at 22nd & Bartlett.

Murray Neil’s combined passions: Bikes, Kites, Community

bikes and kites

One of our Flickr friends, Murray Neil, a New Zealand bike culture head and Xtracycle rider, combines his love of photography, kites, and biking in his crystal clear aerial shots. He fabricated his own kite-based aerial photography rig and uses the photographs to document, among other things, which bike lanes he finds effective and which intersections still need work. In the photo above, Neil can be seen as a tiny dark blue figure in the sand to the left of the bridge on the far side of the river. You can even see the faint line of the kite’s string. Even cooler, the red and white object halfway across the bridge is his friend Ted, who had seen his kite line and biked over to say “hi.”

Unlike airplane based aerial photography, Neil’s is quiet, cheap, beautiful, and non-polluting. Now that’s community.


Our nation’s newspaper of record devotes serious column inches to bicycle music systems

My dad caught this one early this morning.

“The bikes roar, but the booming sound has nothing to do with engines — because there are no engines. They are ordinary bicycles, not motorcycles, although these contraptions look and sound more like rolling D.J. booths. They are outfitted with elaborate stereo systems installed by the youths.” Read More »

Innovate or Die, Dante!

Dante is on the cutting edge of research into human powered amplification. We set him up with a bench in our workshop, and he’s putting the finishing touches on the Ginger Ninja’s touring rig as I write these words. Dante helped Rock The Bike develop an offering for an Xtracycle-based DC motor mount for human powered music systems. Now he’s working day and night on a 4-bike human power setup for the Ninjas. No one’s had a chance to hear it in action yet, but it’ll probably be 5 times louder than the setup we used for the Bicycle Music Festival.

It’s amazing how the project just totally flows through our community. First Blender man Nate got the bug, then me, then Kipchoge and Dante. With each handoff, we get more experience. Dante is now the most knowledgable guy in our community when it comes to human power. It’s a rad collaborative atmosphere, knowing that we’re producing powerful tools for sending out the bike vibe, the peace vibe, and the party vibe, through bikes and music.

The title of this posting refers to a video competition from Specialized on Human Power.

We bid adieu to Mike Cobb: welder, seamster, bike mechanic, bicycle customizer.

Mike’s been a member of our West Berkeley workshop community since 2001. His devotion to bicycle advocacy and mechanics, and high quality worksmanship has been a great example to the rest of us.

I don’t always agree with Mike on every subject. For example, he refuses to make eye contact with drivers at a 4-way stop, because he doesn’t want them to get in the habit of always letting cyclists go first. It’s not that he doesn’t want to give them the satisfaction of letting the bike through. It’s that he doesn’t want fellow cyclists to get accustomed to cars letting them through — the cyclist might get hit if the car driver doesn’t feel like waiting.

Like I said, Mike’s got some strong opinions, but you got to admire a guy who lives by his principles. He walks the walk and he bikes the bike. The picture you see above is Mike riding a little commuter he built up for an ex-girlfriend who is recovering from Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Hence the upright stem, and the basket mount welded to the head tube instead of attached to the handlebars (less load on the hands).

Within the Rock the Bike world, you might know Mike as the guy who invented and makes our ‘Second Wind Bicycle Cog Wind Chimes‘, which by the way, make a fabulous bike gift around Christmas time.

He’s also helped me build up bikes for custom jobs like the Soul Cycle Slim. I’m proud to be riding wheels Mike built on my Choprical Fish.

We wish Mike the best of luck as he brings his sewing machines, metalworking tools, and tremendous talent and spirit to Portland, to fulfill his long term wish of returning to the Pacific Northwest. If you’re in need of a caring, creative, affordable, and resourceful bicycle customizer in the Portland area, give Mike a shout.