Watch as a Brazilian reporter covers a German electronic music event a park, pedal powered by Rock The Bike gear and the Green Music Initiative. The Portugese is a bit hard to follow in the beginning (though she interviews people in English later), but the Pedal Power dynamic is great throughout. The gear shown in the video is: Rock The Bike’s Biker Bar, Mundo 500, and 6′ Pedalometer.
Thanks to the Outdoor Program Crew and Willamette Valley Music Festival for an amazing week in Eugene!
Huge thanks to the crew from the University of Oregon Outdoor Program, where Rock The Bike built a Biker Bar and related Pedal Powered Stage gear last week. Our work culminated in the all-day Willamette Valley Music Festival.
In many ways this was an ideal project for us, working hand in hand with local bike people, transferring knowledge of producing bike music events, and enjoying many fun rides throughout the week.
To get our gear to Oregon, we rented a full-size truck. Rolling past the refinery in Richmond on our way out of the Bay was a sober reminder of the carbon footprint of out-of-town gigs.
Pedal Power intern Jeff Hansen (hereforth “Hansen”) met us in Eugene, ready to work! Looks like he’s been taking care of himself since last summer.
Here is the project space we used, the Outdoor Program’s huge ‘barn.’ It’s under renovation right now and the crew will be pedal powering the opening party, June 4.
There was a very open community vibe throughout the week with many supporters and bike people coming through to pitch in here and there.
A reporter from the Eugene Register-Guard snapped this rad photo of Pastana, Hansen, OP’s Dave Villalobos, and yours truly, on El Arbol.
El Arbol served as a pedal powered shop radio at various points in the week.
Our daily commute to the Barn was 3 miles from our vacation rental house.
Alex truing up El Arbol’s rebuild wheel — 10 gauge spokes!
Jared May joined on Thursday night, adding his bass stylings to several short ‘tweener’ sets
El Arbol served as a two person generator and a functioning speaker that helped the pedalers feel ‘in the music.’
Northwest Community Credit Union turned out hundreds of smoothies with their first generation Fender Blender Pro.
At 4PM the festival audience got on their bikes and joined for a LiveOnBike performance by yours truly, Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper, with Jared May on bass.
Jared picked a few effects pedals to strap to the footrest area, and we cruised without incident on my new rear wheel — Thanks Alex! The ride the night before had taught us an important lesson about how the weight of the passenger affects the deployment of El Arbol’s roots. Through trial and error the night before Jared found out that the rear facing passenger needs to stand on the footrest, taking weight off the roots at the moment of deployment and retraction.
Just two months ago, I was copying a tractor seat from IKEA to create the rear facing seat in a block of pink foam.
At the end of the ride, we set up in a plaza near the festival for El Arbol’s first street party!
For the headliners, CunninLynguists, we powered DJ Flip Flop’s turntables and monitors. It was a fairly easy load, only 80 watts, and we never let him down.
What follows are dimly lit photos that show the scale of the event, one of Rock The Bike’s largest in terms of crowd size.
In the shot below, the two dancers above the crowd are on the backs of OP’s Mundo 500’s. The bikes themselves are completely hidden.
Here are the two Mundo 500’s earlier in the evening when the crowd was much smaller.
Alex returning event promo the day after the festival.
Building a Pedal Powered Stage and pedal powering the Willamette Valley Music Festival all this week in Eugene.
Starting this Tuesday the 4th, Rock The Bike will be in Eugene, Oregon building a Pedal Powered Stage with the U of O Outdoor Program.
We’ll be building a Biker Bar, the 3-person pedal power system and LiveOnBike stage we debuted last year. It will be the key component of Eugene’s Pedal Powered Stage. We’re also delivering two Mundo 500‘s — powerful electric cargo bikes that double as efficient pedal power generators when isolated with our Lunar Lander kickstand. The five pedalers’ efforts will flow into a Pedal Power Utility Box, and the state of the pedal power will display in a 6′ tall Pedalometer.
Our crew will include Pastana, Pedal Power intern Jeff Hansen, bassist and experienced bike rocker Jared May, Cara, and yours truly, Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper.
Pastana has been one of Rock The Bike’s most loyal crewmembers, and he’s one of the reasons we create magic at our events. At our Earth Day event at USF he was the one who cornered a loose goat, roped it with a cam strap, and proudly marched it back into the quad:
Jeff the Pedal Power intern is back! Last summer he helped us build our Biker Bar and learned how to crew Rock The Bike events. He lives to build pedal power gear.
Jared May on bass:
Cara is an experienced bike tourer and will be holding down our crew table and merch station. Come say hi and get on the email list.
Moving the technology forward.
We are excited to improve the Biker Bar and to test our new Pedal Power Direct Circuit.
In the photo above you can see how the orange rear supports of the swingarms will relieve the bar. This is also the first time we will be building our own trailer chassis out of raw aluminum stock materials. Earlier this week I borrowed a truck and shopped for metal in Oakland.
The Direct Circuit accepts incoming power from the pedalers and feeds it directly into the JBL powered speakers without a AC/DC inverter. This cutting edge circuit comes out of a collaboration with our electronics genius Jake in our Berkeley workshop. It has the potential to improve the efficiency of a pedal powered music experience by up to 30%.
Four years in development.
The work in Eugene follows four years of active research into Pedal Powered music. Check out this early video of R&D on the Pedal Powered P/A:
More recently our collaborative work has taken us to Brooklyn, NY, and Austin, Texas, where we have built Pedal Powered gear collaboratively with Band Of Bicycles and Pure Austin Fitness. The Outdoor Program heard about Rock The Bike through the Pleasant Revolution, who also use our Pedal Power gear.
Pedal powering the Willamette Valley Music Festival, Saturday May 8
Check out the complete lineup: http://musicfest.uoregon.edu/music.htm
And on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fossilfool?v=info#!/event.php?eid=112432352116882&ref=ts
Yours truly, Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper, will be performing LiveOnBike at 4PM on Saturday! Live on which bike? El Arbol of course:
El Arbol has the same enclosed volumen and audio componentry of a JBL PRX535, our favorite pro-sound speaker, and is a powerful two-person generator:
At most of our events we try to pedal power the entire music experience, including the monitors, mixer, mains, and any instruments that plug in. Depending on what instruments a band uses, we have been able to get the entire music experience down to 200 watts!
However at the WVMF, the organizers wanted a bigger sound than we can provide, and will be bringing in a hanging line-array system like the photo below:
The power consumption of the audio equipment at WVMF will be closer to 2000-5000 watts! What can we do with Pedal Power in the context of a festival that’s bringing in such heavy equipment? We can help the musicians hear.
7-8 pedalers will power 4 on-stage monitors (3 JBL PRX 535’s and one Mackie SRM 450). The pedalers will be positioned right next to the stage where they can make eye contact with the musicians. Powering the stage monitors should make for a intimate connection between the pedalers and performers, though perhaps less so with the audience.
A key stop on a rapidly developing West Coast Bike Culture route.
Now that Eugene will have a Pedal Powered Stage, the West Coast is quickly becoming a destination for bike touring musicians. In theory these bike touring musicians can carry just their instruments, play acoustic shows in the small towns, and pedal powered shows in the larger cities, like San Francisco, Eugene, Portland, Chico, Seattle, and LA.
Last year the Pleasant Revolution World Bicycle Tour passed through Eugene, inspiring them to raise funds and build the pedal powered stage. Who will be next?
Thanks to the fans, roadies, bands, Market Bar, and the city’s Neighborhood Empowerment Network.
El Arbol had its Pedal Powered Stage debut. My cousins were crawling all over it. Here my 220 pound cousin Jonah and a girl pedal power stereo right while two other girls play on other parts of the tree.
Five of us handled the late afternoon gear haul mission. Jeff and Geoff high fiving on 3rd. It was a pretty easy haul. No real hills.
Hauled the pedalometer on a newly fiberglassed El Arbol.
Roadie and bandleader Justin Ancheta’s helped me with the flberglassing alot over the past week so that the Arbol would be in shape for the gig.
Loading up Guella’s gear at Audio Box studio.
Rock The Bike roadies Kai, Geoff and Jeff, and Guella’s lead singer Dave on the way to the gig.
Setting up the gig at Market Bar. Photo: Kai.
Guella rocking out under pedal power. Two of our best generators, the Electric Mundo and the Electric Fender Blender Pro (at stage left) powered all of the band’s instruments, the mixer, one JBL PRX, and lighting.
Big ToDo puppeteers treated us to a bike rap!
Late night gear return mission. Aufdencamp surfs in the distance as Leif tows two Fender Blender Pros behind a Mundo.
After the usual morning rustiness and coffee, we rolled to the Ferry Building to catch the Alameda-Oakland Ferry and biked to Defremery Park.
We set up a 4-bike Pedal Powered Stage.
The Biker Bar and the Mundo 1000 powered our JBL PRX-535 mains and Mackie SRM150 Monitor. We had 3-5 power cuts over the course the day, but they were all positively received, in the sense of being a welcome reminder that the sound was, indeed, pedal powered. The listening levels were loud but still on human scale; the crowd was able clap along and shout, and their cheers could cut through the mix.
We ran the DJ booth (two turntables, DJ mixer, laptop, audio interface, external hard drive) off an extension cord from a park facility shed 100 yards away.
The spirit of the BBoy battle was strong and positive. Above, two breakdancers share a quick shoulder bump after a bout.
At one point I dispatched Tara to tell the organizer we were ready to blend smoothies. She came back with a box of pears and reported “you were supposed to bring smoothie supplies for 50 people.” Check that, text Leif: “We have pears. Need ice, juice, cups for 50.”
Leif rogered that, and showed up a half hour later with the juice, soy, walnuts, a lemon, ginger, bananas, frozen blueberries, and 12″ long chef’s knife and cutting board, and we proceeded to go to town on the smoothies, dropping refreshment on the pedalers all afternoon.
Both Tara and I entered the breakdance competition. And both of us were gonged within about 20 seconds, despite busting our best moves. The music was up loud enough that neither of us could hear the gong. So the MC had to get on the mic and say “You just got gonged!” Pretty fun though.
Unlike at our live music events, the beat never stopped at the BBoy battle. There were a few power cuts, but the beat would be back within 20-30 seconds. Between bouts in the battle, the emcee would call for freestyle dance, great stuff.
A proper battle ensued.
The MC called for crowd to sit so the pedalers could see.
The Pedalometer was in effect, helping the group of pedalers keep system voltage in the sweet spot. (The green).
Rolling back to the city on the 5:30 ferry. Captain gave us shit. Sea gull shat on me. Had to unload and reload Biker Bar. Otherwise no sweat.