Tag-Archive for ◊ gear ◊

This year our pedal power system is built on powerful hub generators rather than tire-rubbing generators.

Two-bike pedal power system.

The two-bike pedal power system shown above was our trusty backup system at Maker Faire this past weekend. Both bikes use powerful hub generators rated at far higher wattages than a human can generate. This means that we’re using them in a range at which they run cool, calm, and collected. They feel very smooth because there’s no friction involved. Just magnets and ball bearings.

Not shown this photo is the Biker Bar, Rock The Bike’s newest pedal power system. It’s got tremendous potential, but has had mechanicals at its first two outings. The plan is to fix the mechanical issues in the next 3 days, test it out at the Youth Unity Summit this Saturday, our last outing before BMF.

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• Wednesday, June 03rd, 2009

Folk / Soul singer Janaysa set to Rock the Bike this Saturday at BMF

We had a great practice ride tonight in the neighborhood around the Rock the Bike workshop in Berkeley. Passersby applauded as Janaysa serenaded the quiet streets at dusk. The new aTractor Seat and custom bamboo piano mount were both strong and comfortable, allowing her plenty of leg room. She practiced about 5 songs, giving me time to see how the bike handled. The handling was difficult but manageable. Even the slightest uphill made it noticeably harder to maintain a straight line, because her weight is so far behind the rear axle. The frame was up to the task, but the front end just felt light. I had to really maintain focus and keep my arm muscles tensed at all times.

The sound of her voice and piano playing made it all worth it, though. I’m really excited to help bring her unique music to the streets at BMF, live!

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• Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Mounting a piano on a bike for mobile performance at this year's BMF

piano mount on Mundo

Soul singer Janaysa will be going mobile, performing at the nighttime cruiser ride (beginning at Dolores Park). She’ll be playing piano and singing. The piano will be rigidly mounted to the back of a Mundo Utility Bicycle, using a custom bamboo piano mount. The red tractor seat is another recent mod designed to turn this bike into a serious mobile performance venue.

Other mobile performers in the nighttime cruise will include Mafiosa Felice and Joel Elrod. Joel (shown below street performing at KFOG Kaboom) will be backing me up on the Roland 808, and Mafi will be playing cuatro and singing.

Joel Elrod will back up Fossil Fool on electronic drums at the Bicycle Music Festival

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• Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Fossil Fool's BMF performance to be a street performance / mobile performance this year.

My favorite part of performing at last year’s BMF was leading the call and response section of the Boda Boda rap as we cruised down Valencia. At the time, I thought I was just doing the ride to lead people to the biker beer bar, but once we arrived at the bar, the energy fell. I now realize that my art form is rocking the mic as I rock the bike. There aren’t too many other bike rappers out there who would even really try it. So this year, I’m just going to celebrate it. I hope you’ll be part of my performance, which will begin after Pete Brandt’s BMX performance.

Fortunately I won’t be alone. We just finished this new aTractor seat for the Mundo, so I can have Joel and Mafi play percussion for me.

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• Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Rock the Bike's Pedal Power Stage at Maker Faire a cool BMF shakedown

Guitarist from Lee Maverick band pedal powers his own guitar solo.

We had 11 bands over two days at last weekend’s Maker Faire. We had three pedal power bikes powering two 400-watt JBL powered speakers. Unlike the ones the Ginger Ninjas took to Mexico, these speakers were powered by traditional amplifiers, not digital amps. So the three pedal power bikes were barely enough. We couldn’t really have kids pedal one of the three, because they just didn’t put out enough power. And you really can’t kick a kid off a bicycle and feel good about yourself at the end of the night. So we said “adults only.” Fortunately for this year’s BMF, it’s looking like we’ll have the Ginger Ninjas in effect, with their Pleasant Revolution sound system, road-tested after 5 months through Mexico.

Anyway, there are some great shots from the Faire on Flickr. Hope you dig it.

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• Sunday, May 11th, 2008