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.

Debuting the UMDJ on a sweet social ride in downtown Austin

DJ Manny debuts the new UMDJ rig
photo: Faster Panda Kill Kill

So DJ Manny and I made the bold move of scheduling a social ride to debut the UMDJ on my last night in Austin. It was a major push, the fourth day in the workshop. We attached the bottoms of the main speaker cabinets, screwed the tweeters into their horns, created a wiring harness, installed a control panel with four switches into the rear of the right cabinet, mounted the amp on the underside of the DJ table, welded in a mounting bracket for the battery, and installed the lighting inside the frosted translucent polycarbonate cabinets.

The ride was scheduled for 8 O’clock. We connected the last wires at 7:45 and immediately blew the fuse in the amp. Wired the polarity backwards! What a basic error! That’s what happens when you rush. Miraculously, the next door neighbors had two new fuses. I fixed the wiring, hit the switches, and bam! Cabinet lighting works! Rear Down Low Glow works! Front Down Low Glow works! Amp turns ON!

Quick, load the UMDJ and the Choprical Fish… in the… Nissan Armada? Dang! I hate for the first journey of any new party bike to be in a fossil-fuel powered vehicle, let alone the biggest SUV ever made, but we were late for the ride. Sometimes you have to put people ahead of principle. Oh well, we can’t win every battle. And DJ Manny is planning to leave it downtown so he can ride it to future gigs. As we rolled up to the starting point of the ride, we saw 40 bikers waiting in the Whole Foods parking lot. I begged DJ Manny to park a block away so we could roll in under our own steam. My fingernails scraped the dashboard as he pulled into the lot. We were half an hour late and he just wanted to get there as soon as possible to be kind to people who were waiting. We opened the trailer and unveiled the UMDJ in all it’s glowing, mothership glory.

Rolling with the UMDJ

DJ Manny took the first spin on the rear-facing DJ table. Maintaining eye contact with the crowd as he spun tracks, he stoked the party energy. People rode directly behind the UMDJ, pushing it up hills, basking in the beat.

The music was hard hitting, dance worthy beats. My favorite track was the dance remix of “Just Another Excuse”, which came during DJ Big Face’s set. Bob Farr and I shot about 30 minutes of video of the ride. I’ll try to post it soon. I want you guys to experience it, even if through a YouTube window. It will inspire.

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.