Rock The Bike

UMDJ Crew at Maker Faire Austin

It’s been sweet getting involved with Make Magazine. I can’t think of another $15 magazine that I’d actually want to buy. We appeared at the Maker Faire in the Bay Area, and DJ Manny and Big Face represented at Maker Faire Austin.

Anyway, I wanted to post this shot because it’s good side view of the UMDJ rig. Manny recently installed the white skirt underneath the DJ booth. He wanted a place for sponsor logos.

It’s cool to see how he’s been getting local businesses involved in his project, including a sushi restaurant, a night club, and a fitness club. Cruiser Rides should be thinking along these lines more often. we have the potential to bring dozens or even hundreds of people to local businesses each week, whether it be cafes, restaurants, or bike shops. Many of these businesses are in real need of local outreach strategies that actually work.

Mobile go go dancing party bike on the streets of New York

I heard from Andrew about his dancing bike months ago, but he didn’t have, ahem, a clean photo. Well, here’s the New York Post’s take on it. Click the photo for more.


New York Post's article on the PoleRider.: I really wish Andrew had emailed me this one when he told me about the rig two months ago. Nice shot, and a pretty phat party bike. You went there.

New York Post’s article on the PoleRider.:
I really wish Andrew had emailed me this one when he told me about the rig two months ago. Nice shot, and a pretty phat party bike. You went there.

Tandem Action

Last nights configuration.

A little green under the deck to make the spinning rear wheel stand out. It doesn’t show so great in pics, but it was pretty cool. I’m ditching the serfas taillights for a dual red tube of dlg. Talk about a killer taillight – check that swath of light

I have the blue lights angled a little more toward the garage here(which would be the car side of the bike).

2-trike tandem with blue and red DLG lights

We’ve been riding a two-trike tandem with DLG lighting on both units. It’s fairly flashy going across Minneapolis on the Midtown Greenway. Here’s another view: just the one trike, on the new bike bridge on the Midtown Greenway trail:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Passenger eye level, a little known subtlety of social biking

After helping Myles install the Xtracycle FreeRadical on his Cruz Bike recumbent, it got me thinking once again about the passenger experience. On most long bikes such as the Xtracycle and the Mundo, the passenger’s eyes line up roughly with the middle of the back of the rider. This limits the front visibility of the passenger and leaves them to simply trust that the rider knows what they’re doing.

By serendipity, Myles’ Xtracycle build offered a much different passenger experience. As you can see in the picture, my eyes as a passenger lined up with the top of Myles’ head, allowing me a nearly complete view of the road as we cruised. Another subtlety of the passenger experience on the Cruz Bike / Xtracycle combo is how close the rider’s and passenger’s heads are to eachother. This makes conversation so much more easy going. You don’t lose nearly as many words to the wind, and you can talk to each other the same voice you’d use in a room.

The Cruz Bike isn’t for everyone, so before you run out and buy one, you should know that, like other recumbents, it’s going to make it more difficult for you to climb hills. There’s no way to climb ‘out of the saddle’ like you do when you need a burst of power on an upright bicycle.

When I designed the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper, my goal was to provide both the powerful leg extension of an upright bicycle with the attitude, comfort, and passenger experience of a chopper / semi-recumbent bike.

Passenger and rider on the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper
Above: Lisa can see over my shoulders while cruising on the Choprical Fish, based on the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper frameset. Photo: Paul McKensie

Riding the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper in the upright position.
Above: When it’s time to climb a hill on the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper, the seat comes into upright position, allowing full leg extension for maximum power. Photo: Fast Boy.

Welcome to Austin! Working with DJ Manny this weekend on Ultimate Mobile DJ

DJ Manny and I are collaborating on the Ultimate Mobile DJ rig, a rickshaw-based 1000-watt DJ system with a typically ‘foolish’ combination of elegant wiring, neon regalia, and multi-person capacity.

Manny is a well-known DJ who has recently opened for Prince, Bob Dylan, Matisyahu, Thievery Corporation, and Sofa Surfers. He’s ready to take is act to the streets!

Now we’ve got 4 days to turn a pedicab into a party bike. It’ll be my fastest Soul Cycle effort to date. Fortunately, Manny’s welder Francisco is quite enthusiastic and capable.

I’ll leave from here on Tuesday morning to rejoin the Clif Bar 2-Mile challenge. It’s a bit Fossil Foolish to fly here. But I really wanted to take this gig. I loved Manny’s vision and I think he’s going to take the street party culture to new levels.

I brought my Choprical Fish with me to Austin. Last night in Vegas I had to hustle to pack into two boxes. (The airline only charged me for one.) I’ll be doing the Moonlight Ride tomorrow with Austin bike people.

I Love the Buddy Bike


So I’ve been thinking about the elements of a great cruiser ride. I won’t go into the obvious ones right now, but I want to share one of the ones that’s not so obvious.

Getting a lot of people into a small area.

If you’re throwing a party, you want to fill the room. That’s when the energy rises to that special point, and people start to dance.

On a bike ride, it’s the same. It won’t have that party ride feeling unless you’ve got a lot of people in a small space. But how do you do that on bikes without causing accidents? Well, you get tandems and rickshaws and fill them with people. Then you pick a relatively flat, easy route, and keep the speeds mellow.

The element of conversation is so much nicer when people are close together. And the music doesn’t have to be turned up as loud when everyone is close enough to hear it.

As long as you’re going to involve tandems in your cruiser ride, you might as well seek out a “Buddy Bike” or Side-by-Side tandem. I should be careful using the term “Buddy Bike” because it’s now a company making special-needs tandems (bikes that a ‘normal’ adult and a special needs kid can ride together.) “Buddy Bike” used to be a small company making side by side tandems. It’s an idea that has never ‘caught on’ but will, once there is a healthy bike cruising scene in every city and town in this country.

Thao and I rode a Side By Side tandem at the Oregon Country Fair and the experience was so much nicer than any other tandem I’ve been on. Yes, front-back tandems are fast and sleek, but they don’t give you that “Slide over baby” feeling. The people in the picture above seem like they have a death grip on the handlebars. But it wasn’t hard to ride with my arm around Thao as we cruised the outer grounds of the Oregon Country Fair. The tandem has two wheels, i.e. it is lots of fun to take turns and coast down hills. Some side-by-side tandems have three or four wheels. This may seem obvious to you, but bikes with more than two wheels aren’t bikes at all. So they may have great characteristics and they may be lots of fun, but they won’t feel like a bike. They won’t take turns like a bike. The side by side tandem may catch a lot of wind resistance, but it’s fun to ride. And when you’re cruising, fun trumps speed.

I am hoping to build up a side-by-side tandem in the next year and put a sweet little sound system on it for the SF Cruiser Ride.