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.
It was a big weekend.
We hit the road Saturday to Pedal Power the 350.org rally at Justin Herman Plaza.
Lauren from Greenpeace on the mic.
The Biker Bar’s swingarms were recently gusseted (the triangles). They’re much stiffer and the bar is functioning well these days, though our electric bikes have the edge in efficiency.
After the rally, we got an afterparty going.
photos: Steve Rhodes
Adam and Tara clowning around after the gig.
We packed up and cruised the Embarcadero. Above, Leif following a tight path through the crowd.
The Mundo 1000 was short a battery all weekend. so we developed ways to get it around the city.
Sunday morning in the park with Scott McDowell of Hyde Street Studios, Rock The Bike’s most experienced sound guy.
Soul Medic getting the Pedal Powered Stage jumping at West Fest.
Kai and Pam powering Oona. Kai went big, powering the show for about 50 minutes.
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.
As lead singer Rushad Eggleston sings and plays his wireless electric cello, 5 pedalers supply the pedal power on the Biker Bar and two electric Mundos, while checking the status of the pedal power system with our 6′ pedalometer.
Morning ride: Crew pumping up the District for Sunday Streets.
First we loaded the Biker Bar with hundreds of pounds of audio gear.
The custom V1 Mundo trailer hitch flexed a bit under this extreme load, but basically it was a very controllable ride.
Adam entertained in Golden Gate Park on the way to the beach.
We set up a 5-bike Pedal Powered Stage on the Great Highway — two electric Mundos and the Biker Bar.
Cousin Ken pitching in on the Biker Bar, with Arie along for the ride.
Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper, with guests Mafiosa Felice, Terry, and Jared May.
The scene from a nearby dune. Photo: Steve Rhodes
Cops threatened to shut down Tornado Rider.
So we moved.
And they shredded the venue.
Hoop Jam with Movement Maker Mei.
All photo montages: Steve Rhodes
This is the 36V 18Ah Sealed Lead Acid rechargeable battery that helps us get up and over the hill from the Mission to the beach.
Rolling the ‘Long Things’ bundle.
Fully loaded Biker Bar, probably 275 pounds of gear, including bass drum, two JBL PRX535’s, and the Fossil Fool tent.
We made $52 in tips. Thanks to all the fans who pitched in for Tornado Rider and the Rock The Bike crew. This is what we did with the money.
Late night gear return mission.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Our six-foot Pedalometer shows fans and pedalers the health of the pedal power system as measured by voltage.
Better than mystery powders, what could be better than a fruit smoothie after a hard run? Luckily the Fender Blender Pro was in effect.
Above, our early morning gear run to the event brought us unexpectedly onto the route itself.