Since 2004, the SF Cruisers ride for pleasure, at a cruising pace, in a non-confrontational style with ample musical accompaniment. We often pick a cultural destination (art opening, Stern Grove concert, dance club) and make a musical journey to get there.
Above: Rock The Bike’s Live On Bike Stage hoists Opera singers Bill O’Neil and Brooke Munoz during the Bicycle Music Festival‘s move from Golden Gate Park to the Mission District.
Here are some of the key features of our mobile sound set up:
We use Shure wireless stage monitors to transmit a music signal to multiple receivers. This avoids having one loud source that can hurt the ears of marchers / riders. Multiple sound sources can distribute the message through the crowd
We carry our large, efficient loudspeakers on our cargo bikes. Our Mundo cargo bikes are stable at low speeds
This Sunday we’ll be Pedal Powering hours of live local music at San Francisco’s groundbreaking cyclovia program, Sunday Streets. Headliners Rupa and the April Fishes are an internationally touring band that calls San Francisco home. Be there as we Pedal Power this amazing quintet, as well as up and coming local ‘Klezmenco’ hoppers “Cradle Duende” (listen at http://www.reverbnation.com/cradledduende ) , the digitally enhanced Cumbia sounds of Bernal Heights’ Izzy Wise, and the hilarious singalongs of the world’s only beatboxing cellist, Cello Joe. After we’ve done all that, we’ll reconfigure our gear for a LiveOnBike performance by Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper!
Our latest Pedal Powered Stage uses artful ‘Soul Cycle’ music bikes including the imaginative El Arbol and the stout Blue Whale. These custom fiberglass rigs are built on our exclusive Modified JBL PRX loudspeakers, so they sound great and make the most of every watt of available Pedal Power. You can see them in action in the video from Earth Day at USF below.
Location: 24th and Florida St. Many thanks to the Sunday Streets crew for this awesome spot in the heart of the Mission District.
12PM — Izzy Wise
1PM — Rupa
2PM — Cradle Duende
2:45PM — Cello Joe
3:30PM — Fossil Fool, LiveOnBike!
Sunday Streets is a revolutionary way to experience San Francisco car free. It’s one of the first american ‘Cyclovia’ events, in which large swaths of a city are closed off to cars and people can experience a human scale community, if only for a day. Rock The Bike has been participating in Sunday Streets since 2009.
We’re stoked to kick off our 2011 Pedal Powered Stage season with a performance by two Balkan-influenced San Francisco bands, formidable danceable groups with musical flavors from French, Spanish, and Balkan traditions. Check out the video above to see an example of this style of music. Come Pedal Power them at the March 20 season opener of Sunday Streets!
Live music will start around 12PM with a performance of Fanfare Zambaleta. The performance will be at East Park, a beautiful plaza along the Sunday Streets route with a view of the Bay, shown near the top of the map image at the bottom of this post. Assuming we all get out of bed on time, we plan to arrive and warm up the spot with Pedal Powered DJ music a little as early as 11 AM. Look for Rock The Bike cruising the Sunday Streets route towards East Park on our amazing Soul Cycle party bikes, including the newly completed El Arbol, around 11! After the show, ride back to the Mission District with Rock The Bike after the event ends at 3PM.
Last year at East Park, Rock The Bike was ensconced in Pedal Powered hot-wire foam sculpting of an in progress El Arbol (below). Now that El Arbol is complete and twice as tall, we’re stoked to return to the same spot and Pedal Power amazing Live Music for the assembled rollerbladers, tourists, bicyclists, families, and pigeons.
The performance is FREE, but we will be be busking for the band AND cranking out delicious Bike Blended Smoothies (with farmer’s market fruit) to benefit the Bicycle Music Festival, coming June 18 this year. So please, bring a reusable cup and some bills for the band!
This year we’re planning to host the 3rd Annual Dolores Park -> Maker Faire Social Ride, put on the Pedal Powered Stage at Maker Faire, and do a debut of an Aerial dance performance from El Arbol (above).
Meet at Dolores Park’s 19th St. steps at 9:00AM. There will be Bike Blended Smoothies at the start. Bring a cup!
Ride 21 miles to Maker Faire. Mellow route, social pace.
This year at Maker Faire we’re psyched to be featuring the evolution of El Arbol, our flagship music bike, and inviting Maker Faire goers to help complete it by adding leaves to its Canopy. Over the course of the 2-day Maker Faire, the Canopy will fill up with drawings of projects and inventions, Pedal Powered Spin Art, scrap paper decorations, and other lightweight scraps from around the Faire.
In the works since 2008, El Arbol is a 15′ tall rolling tree with several unique features including the first-ever deployable ‘roots’, shown deployed above. These 6′ wide stabilizers (please don’t call them training wheels) swing out on command, allowing the tree to remain upright at low speeds and stop signs, and to be used as a Pedal Power generator.
El Arbol also features a state of the art 2-person Pedal Powered Stage with amazing audio clarity, thanks to the vertically stacked speakers in its trunk. Two people pedaling can provide plenty of energy to amplify a band’s performance to an audience of hundreds.
We’ll display a series of poster-sized photos from the making of El Arbol on the sides of our 10×10 tent, engaging Faire goers in the creative process that goes into a multi-year project like El Arbol. We hope to inspire Faire goers to think big and get inspired for their own projects in the coming year.
Over the last four years, Faire goers have seen Rock The Bike progress from making party bikes like the Choprical Fish to creating a 6-bike Pedal Powered Stage. Now we are setting our sights on creating a Pedal Powered circus using El Arbol as the equivalent of the circus tent.
Above, testing out the rear branch of El Arbol as an aerial rig. We plan to feature some of the aerial artists in our crew at this year’s Maker Faire.
Help us send a wake up call to Shimano, the largest maker of bicycle components. Their other main business arm is fishing, and they consistently fund anti-conservation efforts to block marine parks and sanctuaries. Replacing reefs and fish stocks is about as hard as replacing the innards of a Rapidfire shifter. Our conservation choices now make a difference.
We’ll be bringing out the Pedal Powered Stage and featuring music from DJ Toph One and a performance by the bike dance troupe The Derailleurs. Check out their performance at this year’s San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival:
After the dancing, music, and speeches, join us for an unforgettable LiveOnBike performance up Market St. to Triple Crown for the afterparty.
Please RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=132003886840808&ref=ts
We’re stoked to be working with the Nightlife crew and DJ Stallings again at the Thursday, May 13th edition of this event. Imagine a science museum with groovy lighting, set up for dancing, talking, and learning.
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.
On Earth Hour, hundreds of millions of people around the world come together to call for action on climate change by turning off their lights for one hour. The movement symbolizes that, by working together, each of us can make a positive impact in this fight.
Here in San Francisco, we’re celebrating by having a community celebration at Market Bar (1 Ferry Building # 36), 6-11pm. This will be a great night with lots of awesome people and a fun party vibe.
What’s going on?? Read on…
The event starts with a gear haul cruiser ride from 21st and York St. at 6pm.
We’ll also have:-
A Pedal-Powered Stage
Bike blended cocktails
Mundo Surfing demonstration
El Arbol Root Deployment demonstration
This was a fantastic event last year. Set up outside in the patio of Market Bar, with the backdrop of the Ferry Building clock tower, we drew a huge crowd of tourists, passersby, press, friends, politicians, nonprofit tablers, and bands. It was a fun mix and the Mayor even stopped by and made a speech. Hopefully we’ll have a warm night and a good turnout again this year.
Maker Faire is one of our favorite events of the year, especially now that we’ve discovered we can bike there. Our plan this year, in a nutshell, is to make the Pedal Powered Stage an even more fun, musical, energizing, hands-and-feet-on, creative space for Faire goers.
Our busy calendar of events has allowed us to meet some great musicians and bands. Last year, 4 different bands biked with us to the Faire, including Antioquia, shown performing above.
Other musical highlights at last year’s Faire included Cello Joe and Oona.
Above: Musical highlights from the 2008 Maker Faire stage.
Amplifying youth voices from the community.
Rock The Bike has been fortunate to get involved with several youth groups that encourage students to use their voices and develop their talents, including Environmental Service Learning Initiative, YouthSpeaks, Silence The Violence, and ISA Academy’s songwriting class. At this year’s Pedal Powered Stage we’ll be inviting students from these groups to share their poetry, song, and spoken word performances.
Hundreds gathered before the start of last year’s ride. This year we’ll invite our favorite street chefs and cafes to set up coffee and breakfast at the start. Photo: Dustin Jensen.
…or hang back with Rock The Bike crew enjoy the music. Please bring a load-carrying bike and help haul gear with us! The more people who show up with trailers and cargo bikes, the more we can distribute the heavy loads, and the sooner we can get to the Faire.
19 miles, mostly flat. Fun ride!
Host your own ride to Maker Faire!
If Dolores Park isn’t convenient for you, host your own ride to Maker Faire! The Faire is trying to replace as many car trips with bike trips this year, expanding the program that gave bike people discounted entry last year. If you want to organize a ride, please contact us with the details, to get it listed on this page and the Maker Faire site.
Over the past year, we’ve cranked out thousands of smoothies at our events. This year, we’ll be gathering up our favorite recipes and running an actual smoothie booth, using only Human Power to blend smoothies and Hummus. Tangy, nutricious goodness! Discounts for bringing your own cup and pedaling your own smoothie. Proceeds to benefit the Bicycle Music Festival.
Last year at Maker Faire, we did the West Coast debut of the Biker Bar, our multi-person Pedal Power rig, LiveOnBike stage, and heavy duty hauler. Much like the East Coast debut at Central Park a month earlier, the Biker Bar performed brilliantly as a cargo trailer but poorly as a Pedal Power system.
The side chain link between the bar and the rear wheel of the Mundo 1000 caused multiple breakdowns. We have since redesigned the Biker Bar, cutting out the side chain and replacing it with a quiet generator. Now that we’ve worked out most of the bugs, the Biker Bar has helped us amplify bands and speakers at a handful of major events and rallies. It’s one of our most popular pieces of gear.
This year at Maker Faire, help us build another Biker Bar. In a 10-foot patch of grass, we’ll install the swingarms, screw down the float bearings and the generator, and build the wooden stage of the Biker Bar. By the end of Sunday, this new Biker Bar will go into service, and we’ll be able to get three more pedalers contributing, helping us pump up the volume for our musical headliner / closer.
The second Biker Bar won’t be a copy of our current model, but a step forward. We plan to implement several improvements to improve the efficiency of the design, based on our observations from the past year. By participating in the build, you’ll learn how engineers and inventors take an idea like the Biker Bar, iterate and improve on it.
Video shot at this Biker Bar build will go into a DIT (Do It Together) manual for the Biker Bar, helping more bike culture groups build it.
Over an eight-year span, Fossil Fool has crafted a number of one-off Soul Cycles, combining his love for bikes and music. His current Soul Cycle, El Arbol, is a tandem tall bike in the form of a tree. Last year, Fossil Fool brought an in-progress El Arbol frame to the Faire. It looked like this:
But 9 months later, El Arbol is out on the streets of San Francisco, a functioning tandem tall bike:
The lattice structure of aluminum wire, seen here illuminated by pedal powered flexible LED strips, is the form over which Fossil Fool will lay up a fiberglass tree, complete with a trunk, roots and branches. The enclosed volume of the tree will become the resonating enclosure for the lightweight 15″ woofer from a highly efficient, digitally powered JBL PRX speaker, the same type Rock The Bike uses in our Pedal Powered Stage. The mid range and tweeter from the JBL will also integrate with the lines of the tree. If all goes well, El Arbol will sound just as good as one of our main speakers, but the sound will be coming out of a beautifully scuplted and illuminated tree.
From drawing to reality, Fossil Fool has shared the process of making his most phenomenal Soul Cycle to datethrough Flickr. Here’s your chance to see it in person. The back seat of El Arbol is where Fossil Fool’s musical guests can sit and perform, facing the audience, social rides. If all goes as planned, we’ll be able to do some of this LiveOnBike performing at the Maker Faire.
But how do you move safely through a crowd on such a big, heavy, and tall bike? One unique feature of El Arbol is the roots, which swing out to 6 feet wide! for stability at low speeds, and to transform the bike into a Pedal Powered Stage. Deploying the roots involves stomping on a lever mounted to the head tube, which pulls a cable through a pulley and a length of Porsche transmission housing, to yank the roots into service from their nesting points against the rear swingarm. Throughout the Maker Faire, Fossil Fool and friends will ride through the fairgrounds, playing music, spreading cheer, and showcasing the complex and sturdy root mechanism of El Arbol.
The welder of El Arbol, Jay Broemmel, will be in attendance at the Faire, and loves to answer questions about welding up unusual bikes. Jay has also fabricated many of the Pedal Powered amusement park rides for Cyclecide, seen at Maker Faire in previous years. Bring drawings and sketches to share your off-the-wall ideas to these experienced art bike makers. And if your art bike is already rideable, bring out on the social ride!
Pedal Powered Spin Art station:
Kids loved our Spin Art station last year. This year, we’ll be brining it back, and hopefully encorpating some natural pigments such as beet juice.
Bike Culture exhibit:
We’ll cover the walls of our 10×10 booth wth dozens of photographs that show the evolving story of Rock The Bike, including our R&D efforts, the process of building El Arbol, and highlights from our events and rides.
The Genie will grace our mobile performance stage right before the “Road To BMF” event at Cell Space. All volunteers and fans invited.
The Genie is an exciting performer who developed a style called the scratch guitar. It involves looping an electric guitar that sits on his lap, combining sounds from a Velcroed-on iPod, and doing heavy filter sweeps with his big toes on devices like the Kaoss pad.
By the time Bicycle Music Festival hits this year, we want the community with us: bands, fans, roadies, pedal power coaches, cops, neighbors, squirrels, and more. Our goal is to produce the best music festival we possibly can, with no use of fossil fuel-burning generators and vehicles. A lot of things have to go right between now and then. Permits, publicity, amazing bands signing on. So this is our chance to kick the season off right.
We’re hosting a series of events that help us get there.
We had a blast last night at the Urban School, pedal powering their first dance of 2010. Thanks to Lucy, Lucas, Catherine and all the students and teachers.
As with any Rock The Bike event, we invite people at the event to pedal. The kid in the foreground is pedaling the Choprical Fish, which is powering the lighting at the dance.
Justin’s pedaling the Mundo 1000 during the sound check, one of our two bikes equipped with our Grasshopper generator system.
Despite their abundance of energy for gogo dancing and freaking, the Urban School students were a bit hesitant about joining in the pedal power effort. I felt good that we had shown up with a 6 person crew, including Adam, Masha, Hugh, Justin, and Ally. But we were doing 90% of the pedaling. Normally, the GP (general public) does more like 40-50% of the pedaling. I tried pulling students in and there were a few cool students who kept pitching. But honestly the freaking on the dance floor was so prolific, that it was obvious that’s where their minds were. So after a while, I stopped walking out into the crowd using a Down Low Glow like an airport landing guide, and just pedaled. I thought back to David Butcher and how he holds it down at festivals, pedaling away on the Prime Mover. I found new time trial position I liked on the Fender Blender Pro, and entered a crank, sprint, lactic acid! cycle. Out of saddle sprint! Lactic acid. Two students get on, both girls. I adjust the seat for one of them and the indicator on our inverter already drops into the red.
“Pedal hard! Go for it. ”
I look around for crew and don’t see any one. The LED is floating in the red, occasionally hitting blinking red. I know I’m going to need to save this party. I hate having to be intense with the pedal power coaching, but I was yelling, “Pedal, Pedal, Pedal!” every time I saw that blinking light. I was trying to get in a hamstring stretch, but I kept having to coach the girls on the bikes. And my communication with the DJ wasn’t to the point where I could make eye contact with him. He was killing it anyway, and I liked the fact that we were driving the PRX hard. Screw the stretch. I tap out with one of the girl and go into another sprint on the FB Pro.
Justin’s back! The other girl taps out and we bring the LED back to orange, and green. It was kind of like that all night. Three electrics would have helped, but really we just needed more from the students. I think some type of introduction would have helped. The students probably didn’t know what the function of the pedal power bikes was, other than to climb all over them and have a blast. No, they knew, but the hormones were too strong. Freaking trumped!
Rock The Bike has left the building.
We only brought one of our PRX speakers this time. The other is in the shop on a pedal power integration project.
Last year’s Dolores Park to Maker Faire Social Ride. Photo: dustinj
Maker Faire is back May 22 and 23 at San Mateo Fairground. Rock The Bike is aiming to make the Pedal Powered Stage event more fun this year and once again host the Dolores Park to Maker Faire Social Ride starting at 9AM on Saturday May 22.
Sunday Streets going huge in 2010.
Above: Sunday Streets’ founder Susan King taking us through the route maps for the 2010 season.
This year, all Sunday Streets days will go 10-3 instead of 10-2. The extra hour is key as it will help the Rock The Bike crew sleep in a bit and still bring out the Pedal Powered Stage. Many thanks for this compassionate update to one of our favorite events.
March 14: Embarcadero, starting at Fisherman’s Wharf and PIER 39, south to China Basin and Terry Francois Blvd.
April 11: Along the Great Highway, coinciding with World Health Day’s “1,000 Cities, 1,000 Lives” international event, as one of thousands of cities hosting simultaneous car-free events worldwide.
April 18: Bayview, along 3rd Street from King and 4th (Caltrain Station) to Bayview Playground.
May 23: Bayview, in conjunction with the 3rd Street Corridor Project and Bayview Merchant’s Association’s “3rd Street Festival.”
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.