Comes with almost* everything you need to build a 3-person Biker Bar. 30-40 hours assembly, depending on your skill level. DIT stands for “Do It Together”. This is a great way to build up your Biker Bar, because you’ll know it inside and out.
You must purchase wood locally. We estimate the amount to be less than $75.
Status: build to order
In The Box:
In multiple boxes, actually:
– 8′ Cargo Trailer
– 500-watt permanent magnet generator
– 3 reinforced swingarms to isolate rear wheels of bikes on Biker Bar
– All pillow-block bearings, custom shaft couplers, float bearings, clamps
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.
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
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.
In the true spirit of the Bicycle Music Festival, we pedal powered five bands, went LiveOnBike with a scratch guitarist, fed and quenched sweaty pedalers with tea, kombucha, pies hauled in by bike and a local street chef, and featured a contortionist, a unicyclist, a bootleg beer garden, and a quartet of breakdancers, putting us squarely on the Road to this year’s SF Bicycle Music Festival.
Mark Wessels serving up a delightful unicycle performance.
The Shotgun Wedding Quintet rocking after midnight.
We rolled these platforms in Donkey Kong style for a captivating Tara Quinn performance on contortion and aerial hoop. Photo: Kai
The Genie’s LiveOnBike performance. Afterwards I heard lots of great feedback on The Genie’s music, but one repeated request was to create a raised stage for our LiveOnBike performances. People in the back couldn’t see him.
Above: School kids rushed to the fence as the Genie sound checked the day before The Road To BMF.
After the LiveOnBike ride, we hauled the speakers off the Biker Bar and converted it to Pedal Power mode, sound checked Justin Ancheta, and got the party started. Above: Shotgun Wedding Quintet
Our Pedal Powered Stage gear included two Electric Mundos and the Biker Bar. We also brought out the Fender Blender Pro, hooking up the pedalers with smoothies.
For my performance I wanted to show both my passions, bike rapping and bicycle customizing, so I debuted my new tall bike, El Arbol. It’s still in progress, but the frame, drivetrain, and roots are complete after a year of hard work in the Complete Fab workshop with welder Jay Broemmel. I rode it into the room, deployed the roots, made rock signs, climbed down, and then pedal powered the lighting, which outlines the shape of the tree.
The night after, a few of us went for a 10 mile ride to the Richmond and back, deploying the roots numerous times as we wiggled through the Haight, and enjoying ample 360 visibility from the pedal powered lighting.
I wasn’t the only bicycle customizer showing off two-wheelers at the Road To BMF. Above: Jay Broemmel tightening the Dragon Bike’s clutch.
Many thanks to those who came out to enjoy this night of music, food, circus, and bike culture. Although we weren’t able to secure a liquor license because BMF’s non-profit status is still in progress with the San Francisco Parks Trust, we were able to raise hundreds for BMF.
Many thanks to Honest Tea, Bike Basket Pies, Sol Cocina, 21st Amendment Brewery, Cell Space, Big Top Cooperative, and all the performers.
Got photos, and video from the Road To BMF? Send us a link!
Late night Haunted Hay Ride on the Biker Bar, cruising down 18th from the Castro to the District, with five European tourists along for the ride.
Rockin’ Halloween colors on our way to Fair Oaks St. with a Masked Masha rolling a Mundo with the Down Low Glow. At sunset, yeow!
Whoah. Amazing weekend. So much gratitude to the crew, the people of Fair Oaks St., and the Yes Men!
Kai and Pastana showed up Saturday afternoon to help mod the Biker Bar into a Haunted Hay Ride.
Tara had texted me earlier to “try 6th and Bryant as a source for $15 hay bales.” Then on the way there I realized she was sending me to the wholesale flower market. Thanks for the tip, T! I pulled in and immediately saw a bale in a stall. One cam strap on the Mundo. Back to the house.
We reduced the hay to useful cushion sizes and cam strapped Kai’s birdcage to the Biker Bar.
Kai bringing Pooh into the mix.
Do you wanna go on a Haunted Hay Ride? Yes I wanna go on a Haunted Hay Ride? Do you wanna go on a Haunted Hay Ride? Yes I wanna go on a Haunted Hay Ride? When you wanna to go on a Haunted Hay Ride? Hmm, I dunno, how about now?
We kept the dancing going for the big kids for another couple hours.
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.
The pace of progress in the field of Pedal Powered live events is brisk. Last week in New York, I helped Band Of Bicycles implement the latest improvements we’ve been developing for the Biker Bar, our multi-person generator, and on Monday they’ll be using it to power a set by Moby at the premiere of the film Age Of Stupid.
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.
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.
Rolling back from the Marathon. Leif cruising no-handed on the Xtracycle with unclaimed flowers, pulling the Fender Blender Pro in trailer mode.
Rock The Bike says a huge thank you to Central Park Conservancy for getting us involved in Earth Day 2009, and helping us get Rock The Bike NYC off the ground. Here are some of the highlights from our visit to New York over the past 11 days.
We had a blast meeting the public at Earth Day. Above, Pedal Powered Spin art.
We debuted our new multi-person pedal power system, the Biker Bar. Three bikes share a common drive shaft, that turns a powerful generator on the fourth bike, an Electric Mundo (blue bike on the left)
Unfortunately, in its first outing, the Biker Bar was no match for the power-hungry PA equipment that event organizers supplied. The power consumption of the audio system was approximately 300-400 watts with one person speaking on a microphone, not even any music playing.
Ever since we started doing Pedal Powered Stage events, clients and organizers have been asking “Why can’t we use the speakers we already have?” Good question. We commonly answer “Because we use the new generation of digitally powered speakers, and their higher efficiency makes pedal power possible.” But in the process of working with Central Park and other clients, they kept asking… So with Central Park, we accepted the challenge. We put our efforts into making the Biker Bar powerful, simple, and efficient. We told them “Sure, you can.”
But on the day of the event their equipment’s power draw was just too much. Suddenly Pedal Power felt really hard. When a chain snapped, we talked with the Central Park team and decided to focus on our other offerings and let their music stage run on wall power. Luckily they had that backup option at the ready. In future events, we definitely plan to have a 30-45 minute battery backup, which will allow us to fix mechanicals or other issues without letting the performers down.
Luckily, the Spin Art station and the Bike Blenders were a huge hit.
Kids of all ages were able to make Spin Art and pedal for other kids.
Above, the Tropicalia team making bike blended smoothies.
We had bright bikes and big smiles to share with the crowds.
And tricks to share… Above, Sara floating on a Mundo. Galen ollies.
We biked everything back to Brooklyn on a hot afternoon.
Travis piloted the Biker Bar, which becomes a cargo trailer to get gear home from an event. Just add the wheels!
The Electric Mundo helps haul the 250 pound load up and over the Williamsburg Bridge.
Above: Rolling back from Central Park with our crew, friends, cousins, and the Choprical Fish.
Getting ready for Central Park was a huge task. We arrived a week ahead of time and only set our tools town to pack for the park at 2AM the night before. Check out the preparations below:
First things first! How about a social ride to get to know each other.
Leif keeps the beat as Galen and Lopi haul gear across Brooklyn with Mundos and the trailer.
We set up a little workshop at Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward.
Below, hand stretching the frame of the Mundo to fit the electric rear wheel.
We generated many sparks and generally looked bad ass with our protective eye wear.
We solved engineering riddles. Above trying to anticipate issues with the drive train of the Spin Art station.
We used the Choprical Fish as transportation bike and ‘getter’.
Above, 75 pounds of Sealed Lead Acid batteries.
Of course having the Fish in New York meant there were a few impromptu street parties and even a cypher around town over the past week.
Above, freestyle session in front of a school in Soho. A teacher came out and said “How about a song about getting back to class?!”