El Arbol: The Bike Tree

Jul 25, 2011Posted by in Featured News, Featured Products | Comments Off on El Arbol: The Bike Tree

El Arbol: The Bike Tree

This custom art bike, made and based in San Francisco, rides through the city at 12 feet tall, then sprouts roots, branches, and leaves at events, where it becomes a 2500-Watt double-stack main speaker at our Pedal Powered Stage. Integrated LEDs look stunning at night. The Tree has two seats and creates all of its own power using an integrated One Bike / One Speaker circuit.

el arbol bike powered tree

Above, El Arbol in action at a 2014 San Francisco Solstice ride.

Shredder performs on hoop from El Arbol
Aerialist Shredder performs on hoop from El Arbol’s trusty rear branch.
Tara performs on El Arbol at the start of the SF Marathon

Tara performs on El Arbol at the start of the SF Marathon

SF Marathon. El Arbol + 1 sub is capable of entertaining 1000 people.

El Arbol without its Canopy of Leaves.

El Arbol without its Canopy of Leaves.The sound quality is incredible. By using the audio elements from 2 Modified JBL PRX loudspeakers, it has the ability to get music out at festival levels with very low distortion. We use El Arbol as half of our Pedal Powered Stage at the San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival. The height of the upper loudspeaker (9′ up!)  helps the sound spread out easily out above a crowd, without requiring deafening volume levels for those in the front.

bike powered performance on el arbol

It’s fun and expands the notion of ‘Stage’ to include the pedalers.

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We’re Pedal Power people.

Jul 19, 2011Posted by in Blog, Featured Post, Pedal Powered Stage Gear, Pedal Powered Stage Lighting LED Panels | Comments Off on We’re Pedal Power people.

We’re Pedal Power people.


A mom and her son Pedal Powering a music performance on a Mundo 500 generator at the Oregon Country Fair. Rock The Bike built the Pedal Powered Stage used at the Fair.

We help our event partners engage their communities to provide the greenest source of power possible. Read on to see how we do it!

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Update from Austin’s first Pedal Powered spin class

Jan 20, 2010Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Update from Austin’s first Pedal Powered spin class

Update from Austin’s first Pedal Powered spin class

Rock The Bike is helping Pure Austin Fitness pedal power their spin class. Pure already owns two of our Fender Blender Pros, and the goal of the current project is to convert these bike blenders to pedal power generators using our latest technology, then use them to pedal power the audio in their spin class. Here are some shots from the work I did in Austin over the past five days.

 

On Friday I met up with Pure Austin’s Beto Boggiano at his workshop. We chopped off the dropouts on the Fender Blender Pro frames, in order to respace them for the new generator hubs.

 

We used the generator hub itself to position the dropouts at the correct width, rather than, say, measuring the distance with a caliper and then holding the dropouts with a pair of vice grips.  The gym mats and wood are to lift the hub and hold it at the correct position for tacking.

 

 

Here’s a shot of the inside of our generator hub. The copper coils move past rare earth magnets that are bonded to the inside of the aluminum hub shell, creating an electric charge that makes current flow through a cross-bridge rectifier. From the Wikipedia page on generators:

 

A generator forces electric charges to move through an external electrical circuit, but it does not create electricity or charge, which is already present in the wire of its windings. It is somewhat analogous to a water pump, which creates a flow of water but does not create the water inside. The source of mechanical energy may be a reciprocating or turbine steam engine, water falling through a turbine or waterwheel, an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, a handcrankcompressed air or any other source of mechanical energy.

 

Above: Beto tacking the dropouts back on in their new position.

 

After welding the dropouts back to the frame at the correct width, it was time to rebuild wheels around the new hubs. The rim and tire add mass that creates a flywheel, smoothing out the pedal power. Plus, with a tire back on, the tire-rubbing bike blender interface will still completely functional (though optional). Pure Austin will be able to rotate the blender’s roller away from the tire during the spin class (to minimize noise and power loss), and then move it back to crank out smoothies for the cyclists after the class.

 

Before the trip, Rock The Bike’s engineer Leif had encouraged me to build the wheels ahead of time so that I could devote my time to installing the system once in Austin. Unfortunately I ran out of time preparing for Austin and instead brought rims and spokes with me. I ran into a number of issues. In the photo above, note the spoke nipples poking way out of the rim. I’d built up the wheel as a one cross when the spokes were spec’ed for a two-cross pattern.

 

Fortunately, these missteps and delays gave me a chance to bike around Austin on a bright blue Mundo and meet several cool salesmen and mechanics at Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin Bikes, and Mellow Jonny’s. I was impressed how much people in Austin already knew about the Mundo and its development, considering there are only a few Mundo riders there. I got stopped in front of bars for test rides and one rider even flagged me down… “Is that a Mundo?” It’s amazing how well educated and networked bike people can be about the products they buy.

 

The Monday 6PM spin class came and went without Pedal Power. I did get to see Beto, the gym’s owner and most experienced spin coach in action, which was great. The big black box on the floor between the palm tree and the instructor’s podium is a digitally powered JBL PRX subwoofer. The main speakers are mounted to the ceiling. You can see one of them at the top of this image just right of center. The mains are powered by two rack-mounted amplifiers, out of view. Hopefully we’ll be able to Pedal Power both the amps and sub. But we won’t know until we try.

 

Above: Bob Farr, an old-school Austin Xtracycle rider, and pedicabber, showed up Monday for the Pedal Power Workshop at Pure Austin. The technical delays described above limited our ability to fill the sweaty gym air with solder fumes at the workshop, but I was able to show Bob lots of good data and parts on paper and on Pure’s public iMac. The next day Bob showed up to help me bust out the last few details of installing the generator wheels. Here Bob is pedal powering 80 watts of LED lighting, a successful test of the Electric FB Pro.

 

Above: tracing a round object to mark a cut in the wheel covers, making room for the larger hub.

 

We succeeded in electrifying both of Pure’s Fender Blender Pros. The next step on the project is to build them a Pedal Power Utility Box. I would have liked to have the triumph of a pedal powered spin class, but at least we finished the primary goal of converting the two FB Pros they had, and I won’t have to fly back to Austin to complete the project.

 

Pure will have time to thoroughly test the system before using it at their fitness expo, March 6.

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Tornado Rider performs “I’m a Falcon” at Sunday Streets

Aug 14, 2009Posted by in Blog | Comments Off on Tornado Rider performs “I’m a Falcon” at Sunday Streets

One of our favorite local bands, Tornado Rider, performed their hit “I’m a Falcon” on the Pedal Powered Stage we hosted at the August 6th edition of Sunday Streets.

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.

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Thanks Sunday Streets fans and crew!

Aug 10, 2009Posted by in Blog, V3 Mundo Cargo Bike | Comments Off on Thanks Sunday Streets fans and crew!

Thanks Sunday Streets fans and crew!

Rock The Bike pumping up the Mission District for Sunday Streets. by you.
Morning ride: Crew pumping up the District for Sunday Streets.

Sunday Streets (near the beach), August 9, 2009 by Steve Rhodes.

Set up our Pedal Powered Stage on the Great Highway, with dancing on the beach. Photo: Steve Rhodes

Represent.  by you.

First we loaded the Biker Bar with hundreds of pounds of audio gear.

Custom V1 Mundo trailer hitch flexed a bit under this extreme load. by you.

The custom V1 Mundo trailer hitch flexed a bit under this extreme load, but basically it was a very controllable ride.

Adam entertains. by you.

Adam entertained in Golden Gate Park on the way to the beach.

Fossil Fool & Rock the Bike perform at Sunday Streets, August 9, 2009 by Steve Rhodes.

We set up a 5-bike Pedal Powered Stage on the Great Highway — two electric Mundos and the Biker Bar.

 

Cousin Ken pitching in on the Biker Bar. by you.

Cousin Ken pitching in on the Biker Bar, with Arie along for the ride.

Fossil Fool & Rock the Bike perform at Sunday Streets, August 9, 2009 by Steve Rhodes.

Fossil Fool, the Bike Rapper, with guests Mafiosa Felice, Terry, and Jared May.

Sunday Streets (near the beach), August 9, 2009 by Steve Rhodes.

The scene from a nearby dune. Photo: Steve Rhodes

Police car going by as Sunday Streets ended by Steve Rhodes.

Cops threatened to shut down Tornado Rider.

So we moved.

IMG_0725 by Steve Rhodes.

IMG_0724 by Steve Rhodes.

And they shredded the venue.

Tornado Rider - Rock the Bike at Sunday Streets, August 9, 2009 by Steve Rhodes.

IMG_0738 by Steve Rhodes.

Hoop Jam with Movement Maker Mei.

All photo montages: Steve Rhodes

This is the 36V 18Ah Sealed Lead Acid rechargeable battery that helps us get up and over the hill from the Mission to the beach.   by you.

This is the 36V 18Ah Sealed Lead Acid rechargeable battery that helps us get up and over the hill from the Mission to the beach.

Ready for gear return mission. by you.

Rolling the 'Long Things' bundle. by you.

Rolling the ‘Long Things’ bundle.

Fully loaded Biker Bar, probably 275 pounds of gear, including bass drum, two JBL PRX535's, and the Fossil Fool tent. by you.

Fully loaded Biker Bar, probably 275 pounds of gear, including bass drum, two JBL PRX535’s, and the Fossil Fool tent.

We made $52 in tips. This is what we did with the money. by you.

We made $52 in tips. Thanks to all the fans who pitched in for Tornado Rider and the Rock The Bike crew. This is what we did with the money.

Down Low Glow (front) and MonkeyLight ambient glow comparison. by you.

Late night gear return mission.

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