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Rock The Bike

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?