Thanks Maker Faire! See you next year at the Pedal Powered Stage.

May 31, 2009Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Thanks Maker Faire! See you next year at the Pedal Powered Stage.

Thanks Maker Faire! See you next year at the Pedal Powered Stage.

Thanks to the Maker Faire community, bands, pedalers, and crew! Maker Faire was a blast this past weekend. See you next year at the Pedal Powered Stage.

Oona Garthwaite performing on Saturday at the Pedal Powered Stage.

The Maker Faire community provided all the power used to amplify the bands.

Cello Joe performs under pedal power at Maker Faire.

Cello Joe performs under pedal power at Maker Faire. by you.
Justin Anchetta performing on the Pedal Powered Stage, framed by the Biker Bar and the Rock The Bike tent.

The Biker Bar was mostly in effect on its West Coast debut. When it worked, it worked very well, and the noise level coming from the gearbox was acceptable, especially mounted as it was on grass.

But there were several mechanical issues, all of which stemmed from spec’ing hardware that was too wimpy for the task of securing the gear box to the frame. The wood screws we chose pulled out of the 3/4″ plywood on Saturday afternoon.

Since we had added between the gear box and the plywood, a shockproofing layer to reduce noise, there was room for the screws to flex and work loose.

We switched to our 2-bike system shown above.

On Sunday, reinforcements arrived. Leif and Idran brought tools and better hardware from Berkeley.

5 Cent Coffee’s Smitty Delacroix taking a Ukelele solo whilst pedaling the Electric Mundo.

Kids pitching in some Human Power on the Biker Bar.

Ideally, you want a guy like Gabe working the knobs for you. by you.

It was the first event where we  used a proper pro-sound setup, with the mixer located out in the audience, where Gabe, our sound guy, could make eye contact with the bands and make adjustments as needed. Bands enjoyed better sound quality than any previous Rock The Bike event. We had two JBL PRX535 main speakers, and one JBL EON 10″ monitor, all digitally powered.

Dance party at the end of Maker Faire Day Two. We turned up the mix as loud as two people could pedal. by you.

At the end of the second day, we challenged two pedalers to produce as much power as possible for a 10 minute dance session. It felt like the entire Faire collected at the Pedal Powered Stage to jump and shake one last time before the event closed.

Pedal Powered Spin Art is nice because, unlike music or blending smoothies, little kids can easily pedal it with great results. by you.
We had our West Coast debut of Pedal Powered Spin Art. One of the really nice things about Spin Art is that little kids can easily pedal it. Blending requires more power and for kids, this requires a certain focus. In our Fender Blender video, you can see the look of determination on 8-year-old Arthur’s face as he blends a smoothie. Compare that to the relaxed expression of the girl above. That’s the difference with Spin Art. The level of physical exertion for Spin Art is much lower, so kids can get totally immersed in the Spin Art without needing to think about their next pedal stroke.


The Spin Art station doubled as a bike blender, cranking out ice cold smoothies for the crew.
Mafi making Spin Art sign. by you.
Mafi makes a sign for Spin Art.
Ride to Maker Faire by dustinj.
The weekend started with an awesome group ride from Dolores Park. Photo: Dustin Jensen
Cello Joe in effect on the ride. by you.The weekend started with an awesome group ride from Dolores Park. Cello Joe added his beat to the music from our Soul Cycles.
Helping Oliver onto El Camino. by you.
The Biker Bar was carrying the speakers and several instruments for the bands. The old SLA battery for the Electric Mundo only lasted the first quarter of the ride. After that we had to push up the hills and at intersections to get it started.
Oliver holding it down! by you.
Luckily we had strong pedalers with good attitudes. Oliver took it for the last 8 miles.

Justin Anchetta took the middle leg.
Day Two crewmembers heading home from Caltrain. by you.
Each night after the Faire, we took Caltrain back to the City and rode home with loaded up Mundos and Xtracycles.
Gabe leading a singalong. by you.
Gabe of SHAKE YOUR PEACE! leading a singalong.
Party on the Caltrain. by you.
We got a little dance party going on the Caltrain at the end of Day 1.
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Thanks Central Park! Rock The Bike NYC is alive and kicking.

May 1, 2009Posted by in Blog, V3 Mundo Cargo Bike | Comments Off on Thanks Central Park! Rock The Bike NYC is alive and kicking.

Thanks Central Park! Rock The Bike NYC is alive and kicking.

Rock The Bike NYC


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.


Kids Love Spin Art


We had a blast meeting the public at Earth Day. Above, Pedal Powered Spin art.



The Biker Bar


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)


The Biker Bar -- Multi-person Pedal Power farm.


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.


Spin Art

Luckily, the Spin Art station and the Bike Blenders were a huge hit.

Paul spinning up the Spin Art as kids look on enthralled.

Kids of all ages were able to make Spin Art and pedal for other kids.

Above, the Tropicalia team making bike blended smoothies.

Sarah on the Mundo

We had bright bikes and big smiles to share with the crowds.


Galen ollying.


And tricks to share… Above, Sara floating on a Mundo. Galen ollies.



Travis hauling the Biker Bar

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.



Cruiser ride in Manhattan


Rolling down 5th Avenue


Above: Rolling back from Central Park with our crew, friends, cousins, and the Choprical Fish.


Eden in the pack


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:


Sunset cruise in Brooklyn.



First things first! How about a social ride to get to know each other.


Carrying gear

Leif keeps the beat as Galen and Lopi haul gear across Brooklyn with Mundos and the trailer.

Riding gear through Brooklyn.

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.

Leif and Emily stretching the Mundo frame to fit electric rear wheel.

We generated many sparks and generally looked bad ass with our protective eye wear.

Lopi cleaning up the spin art station.

Removing screw heads with grinder.

Olivia cutting frame to get seat tube.

We solved engineering riddles. Above trying to anticipate issues with the drive train of the Spin Art station.

Choprical Fish as getter.

We used the Choprical Fish as transportation bike and ‘getter’.

Above, 75 pounds of Sealed Lead Acid batteries.

Hip hop cipher in SoHo.

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?!”

Fossil Fool rapping at 3rd Ward party

Fossil Foolin’ at a 3rd Ward party.

Brooklyn Bike and Board

In our last couple days in town, we picked up a couple cool new Mundo dealers. Above, Brooklyn Bike and Board


are your Mundo people in Brooklyn. Map.

Leif delivering a Mundo

Leif delivering Mundos. The same bikes we used to get work done in New York are now for sale and ready to ride at two locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

George Bliss picks up the Mundo

And in Manhattan, cargo bike innovator George Bliss picked up the Mundo for The Hub Station in Soho

Many thanks to the Rock The Bike NYC crew for their hard work and excellent hosting.

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Antioquia is on Tour to Santa Cruz

Sep 20, 2008Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Antioquia is on Tour to Santa Cruz

Antioquia is on Tour to Santa Cruz

Ran into Antioquia on my way to work. The band got seriously inspired by riding around San Francisco with us at Bicycle Music Festival this year and are now on their way to Santa Cruz on Xtracycle SUB’s. It’s a shake-down tour, getting used to being bike-touring musicians. In the future they’re hoping to have their own pedal-powered PA system for live shows. Here’s one of their videos below from performing at the Bicycle Music Festival in June.

Check out their upcoming shows this weekend and October 7 at the Elbo Room in SF!

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Cool Kids – Black Mags

Aug 14, 2008Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Cool Kids – Black Mags

This is some fresh new hip hop about BIKES!

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Joel Elrod, LiveOnBike drummer, and an explanation of the LiveOnBike Mundo

Jul 23, 2008Posted by in Blog, V3 Mundo Cargo Bike | Comments Off on Joel Elrod, LiveOnBike drummer, and an explanation of the LiveOnBike Mundo

Skip ahead to 00:24:

This video gives a taste of the LiveOnBike performances we’ve been doing on SF Cruiser rides this summer. Joel Elrod, who had just finished playing a gig with Pleasuremaker, is drumming on a SPDS electronic drum machine. The signal from the SPDS is carried from the back of the Mundo to the front where it enters a DIT Head Unit containing a Rolls MX56c 4-Channel mixer and Shure Wireless body pack microphone, and DoubleWide Down Low Glow battery that powers the SPDS and a dual tube DLG system for 5 hours.

Skip ahead to 1:15.

The LiveOnBike rig also has a microphone seen in this video of Janaysa performing at the Bicycle Music Festival, but it takes longer to set up, so we haven’t been using it with Joel. The signal of the Shure body pack on the LiveOnBike rig is caught by the receiver on the backrest of the Choprical Fish. I select the tracks from an iPod on the control panel of the Fish. When I pick a new track, Joel listens for a few moments and then picks up the beat and improvises on the playing-card-sized rubber pads of the SPDS.

Both Adam (pilot of the LiveOnBike Mundo) and I have the ability raise and lower the volume level of the SPDS. When I was piloting the bike for Janaysa, I was able to set her vocals and keyboard levels independently using Channel 1 and Channel 2 of the MX56c. We were experiencing a very short range with our wireless transmitter that night, as you can hear in the first moments of the videos.

The DIT Head Unit uses the excellent 1-button KlickFix handlebar mounting system, and the wiring harness simply Velcros to the bike, so we can convert the Mundo from Town Hauler to Rock Star in only 5 minutes, and that includes mounting the SPDS and aTractor seat. I know that’s lot of names for you, but well, that’s how we did it.

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