With climate change knocking at our doors, enjoying a human-pedal-powered concert this past Saturday was the least of our worries for all the things that humans could do to contribute to the warming of the planet. The concert was powered entirely by the sweat and calories of human power instead of fossil fuels or electricity generated by fossil fuels. People took turns pedaling on bicycle power generators which created the juice to power all the amps and speakers.
It was their 7th annual event and it was held at Pioneer East Meadow in Golden Gate Park from 12-5 pm and then 6-9 pm in the Mission District. It was the biggest event of its kind in the world and it was free and open to all ages.
A full 5 hours music set, all powered 100% by humans pedaling on 20 bicycles! It was fun and engaging because anyone can be part of the stage production by volunteering to pedal. Keep pedaling…if you stop, no more music…
And this little kid, below, was doing his part.
Here was the line-up of musicians written on the board (see photo below).
We were sitting almost 300 ft (91 m) away and the music was still loud and clear. No problem powering the speakers with bicycles.
Her bike, below, was just too cool. She’s playing a rainbow xylophone on her Centurion Mixte.
It was announced that there were over 600 bikes locked to the bike racks and in addition, I saw many had their bikes by their side. So I estimated a total of about 700-800 attendees at the festival. All of these people on bicycles (see photo below) waited till the end at around 5pm for the amazing “Live On Bike” ride from Golden Gate Park to the Mission District. The entire festival got packed up and transported on bicycles to another location in the Mission District with the talented Jason Brock (a finalist from X-factor) accompanying us. It was about an hour long at a slow speed for a distance of 4.5 miles (7.2 km). Because there were so many bicyclists, there were 3 loud speakers placed in the front, middle, and at the end of the ride so anywhere you went you could still hear Jason Brock singing. However, I think they needed more speakers.
Jason Brock was singing during the entire Live on Bike ride. He sang a couple of tunes from the 80s and improvised some songs which made people laugh. I don’t watch TV shows like X Factor but he was quite talented and hilarious in person, and the fact that he continued singing on the bicycle stage even on rocky streets is pretty good.
The ride went through Haight Ashbury, onto the Wiggle, then Market St, and through the Castro neighborhood. It was interesting because I felt like we were in a parade within a parade. We were enjoying Jason Brock’s show as his audience but then the people on buses, cars, and sidewalks were enjoying us parading through.
The tail end of the parade near Mission Dolores Park in the Mission.
The pedal-powered bicycles were lifted to their next destination using guess what?… bicycle. The green bicycle on the right is a blending machine for making smoothies. I tried their smoothies and they were delicious.
My buddies and I left for home when we arrived in the Mission. We missed the 3 hour concert, but I hope someone reports on it because I am interested in how it went during the night. We enjoyed the event very much and I am surprised as to why there aren’t more festivals/events using bicycles to generate energy to power their shows.
Hope you come out next time!
My first Midnight Mystery Ride (MMR) was about two years ago and it was probably the most amazing group ride I have ever done. It was SF-esque- mysterious, intimate, and awe-inspiring. I was very lucky to experience it on the night that it was hosted by Mission Bicycle Company (they organize the best ones). MMR is held on the 3rd Saturday of every month at midnight with very little information. The only information you will get are the organizer’s name (that could be anyone) and the location of the meetup on that day. I think this concept is what keeps MMR special and underground. The three times that I have been to MMR, I was taken to places that were off the beaten path and even those that a native would never experience.
I have a friend, Dante, who just got bitten by the bicycle bug and I wanted to show him what the cycling community is like at midnight. Also, I haven’t been to one for quite awhile, so it was a good time for both of us to check it out. We met at Truck and Bar Kitchen on 1900 Folsom St. in the Mission minutes before the clock struck midnight. Complete strangers were introducing themselves to us when we arrived. It was welcoming since I haven’t been to one for almost a year.
In the photo below is the leader, Gary (left) for that night. He planned for a leisurely ride, and that was pretty much a chill ride for conversational cycling.
We headed NW on Folsom St. and stopped at the corner of Folsom and 2nd St. for our first social gathering.
After 20-30 minutes at our first stop, we started heading toward the Embarcadero on Folsom St.
When we arrived at the Embarcadero, it was barricaded off for the 36th SF Marathon taking place the next morning, but the security patrol was nice enough to open it up to let us through. The cool thing was that there was not a single car on that street!
The second stop was a beautiful view of the Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge. We met a couple from Sacramento who visit SF on a monthly basis but haven’t seen the Bay Lights. That was pretty special to them.
The final stop was on the Ferry Building pier behind a night club I think. It was pitch black so I couldn’t get any good photos. We did get free music coming out of the night club, but it was pretty bad. =)
There were about 24 people on bikes, all very nice and friendly. It was easy to strike up a conversation with complete strangers and because we all have this underlining understanding and interest in this Midnight Mystery journey, it makes it a whole lot more intimate.
This intimate night was how I remember San Francisco three years ago when Nellie and I first moved here. A peaceful and beautiful night wherever you ride. Personally, I think it’s almost sad in order to feel that again, I have to ride in the middle of the night to get this wonderful experience.
Watch our video of that night:
– Helicopter bicycle (see image above) developed by the Czechs (Gizmodo).
– Park your bike by a robot in Japan (Business Insider).
– Seattle has a public library on a bicycle (LA Times).
– Market St. bike barometer registers big numbers (SFGate).
– Growing bike culture improves local economy (model D).
– A week on a saddle of a Citi bikeshare (Daily News).
– Daily Show with John Stewart’s take on Citi Bikes (YouTube).
This weekend was filled with many fun bicycling events such as the SF Bike Party on Friday night, the World Naked Bike Ride on Saturday, and Sunday Streets on Sunday.
Being that it was the 10th Anniversary of the World Naked Bike Ride (they had a smaller ride earlier this year) and the weather was pretty nice, I went out to report on the event hoping for a full blown turnout. I was a little disappointed in the turnout but the participants still appeared to have a great time.
As usual, it was held at Justin Herman Plaza in front of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. Their message was to get off oil dependence and their choice of location on a sunny Saturday was a great place to get any message across. After meeting up and embarking on their ride as a group of nude cyclists, they rolled through Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina, Lombard Street, North Beach, back along the Embarcadero, over to the Civic Center, the Haight, and past Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. These are all touristy hotspots for them to be seen by the gaping public, some surprised at the mobile mass exhibitionism.
– Wiggle Bicycles shop (above image) opens on the Wiggle (Haighteration).
– Cyclists will have a comfortable ride on Market Street due to repavement (SFExaminer).
– BananaHama more comfortable than a beach cruiser (gizmag)?
– Cycling app Strava not blamed for rider’s death in Berkeley (theVerge).
– A bicycle that sprays mist in your face (Atlantic Cities).
– Google Maps adds bicycling directions to 6 more European countries (eweek).
– Cycling 100 miles a week at age 92 (Huffpost).
Three months ago, we wrote about how Diana Sullivan was killed by a cement truck driver due to a poor bike lane design (or lack threreof) on King St. Any cyclist that was heading westbound on King St. would have soon found out that the bike lane they were riding fairly safely in would suddenly disappear right under their pedals when they reached midblock between 2nd and 3rd Sts. Not only did the bike lane disappear, but it was followed by a strangely placed single bike sharrow that told cyclists to ride closer to the curb. It was an odd set up because the sharrow was placed off to the side and not in the middle of the lane where it should’ve been and there were no other bike sharrows to follow. By riding close to the curb, drivers would try to squeeze by cyclists and perhaps clip them because the width of the car lane is not wide enough for cyclists and cars to share. It was also possible that drivers, especially large truck drivers (large blind spot to his right), would not see a cyclist and could run them over (as in the case of Diana on this very street and the recent death of Dylan Mitchell in the Mission District).
Well, a couple of weeks ago I was riding home from a 6 hours ride in Marin County. I passed that one oddly placed sharrow and to my surprise, it seemed to have been moved to the center of the lane. I then saw another sharrow following and then another one… and they all were placed right in the center of the car lane! I was really exhausted that day from the long ride and from a bad crash I had on a train track, and I wasn’t so sure about what I saw. Was I imagining things? I had to go back the next day to check it out again. Low and behold, they were all there!
Although I am grateful for the small improvement the City has made to this important corridor, it still needs a lot more work and I still have some major complaints about it. If the City has now put down more bike sharrows, why not extend them all the way to the Caltrain Station on 4th St. I don’t know what’s the point of having bike sharrows that end at 3rd St. Does the City really think cyclists are just going to disappear on 3rd St. after the bike sharrows are gone? Or maybe the City is expecting cyclists to risk their own lives after 3rd St. to the death monsters (aka cars).
In actuality, bike sharrows are stupid and they are even more stupid on a fast and busy street such as King. There are still no speed limit signs posted, intersections are far from each other, and it leads directly to a freeway on-ramp: this encourages motorists to speed. As I mentioned in a previous post, the minimum design requirement for a street such as King are dedicated bike lanes.
So, it looks like the SFMTA and DPW still have their work cut out for them in regards to King Street. They’ve checked off only two of the items on this list, below. Anyone think they will ever be able to do all that needs to be done?
What’s Wrong with King Street Checklist:
1. Fix single bike sharrow placed oddly off to the side which encourages cyclists to unsafely hug the curb 2. Fix that there are no bike sharrows to follow after that one bike sharrow
3. Need to paint bike sharrows all the way to the Caltrain Station not just stop at 3rd St.
4. Need bike facilities on the other side of King Street going in the opposite direction from the Caltrain Station to the ballpark
5. Auto speed limit signs need to be put up
6. Reduce auto speed limits
7. If sharrows are used, at least put up a “Share the Road” sign as some drivers still don’t get the message from the sharrows
8. At minimum, a dedicated bike lane should continue from the Embarcadero onto King Street and go all the way to the Caltrain station without interruption
9. The same as #8 for the other side of King St. going from the Caltrain to the ballpark (Also, similar to #4 except this explicitly calls for a dedicated bike lane and not just wimpy sharrows)
We are halfway through our Amsterdam experience (with two wheels and a bad foot) and we already have so much to share with you guys that we have not tweeted about. But in the meantime, if you want to learn more about the history of bike culture in Amsterdam, there is going to be a book reading for “In the City of Bikes” by Pete Jordan on May 2nd in San Francisco. Pete Jordan contacted us about it and we think it is definitely worth checking out! More details below!
This is Pete Jordan, author of the book “In the City of Bikes.” Thanks for giving my book a mention a couple weeks ago on your site. I see you’re in Amsterdam now while, coincidentally, I’m leaving soon for San Francisco (where I was born and raised). I’ll be reading from my book on Thursday, May 2nd at Needles & Pens, 3253 16th St., 7 p.m. If you can give my reading a mention on your site, I’d really appreciate it!
Thanks and take care,
If you won’t be in SF on May 2nd, there are other upcoming dates and locations all around the US and also Netherlands. Check here for more.
Book Description from Amazon.com:
Pete Jordan, author of the wildly popular Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States, is back with a memoir that tells the story of his love affair with Amsterdam, the city of bikes, all the while unfolding an unknown history of the city’s cycling, from the craze of the 1890s, through the Nazi occupation, to the bike-centric culture adored by the world today.
Pete never planned to stay long in Amsterdam, just a semester. But he quickly falls in love with the city and soon his wife, Amy Joy, joins him. Together they explore every inch of their new home on two wheels, their rides a respite from the struggles that come with starting a new life in a new country.
Weaving together personal anecdotes and details of the role that cycling has played throughout Dutch history, Pete Jordan’s In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist is a poignant and entertaining read.
About five months ago, Nellie and I had started planning for a trip to Amsterdam to see and experience the best bicycling city in the world for ourselves. We were planning on bringing our Brompton folding bikes with us and decided to have the courage to gate-check them this time (rather than transporting them in checked luggage) at the airport. But anything could happen in five months and indeed something did happen.
Unfortunately, Nellie injured her left foot about three weeks ago and each day that has passed hasn’t brought much improvement. She hasn’t been able to walk normally and when she does have to, she hobbles along with difficulty or she puts on an orthotic boot and uses crutches.
The days are quickly winding down until the day we are to fly out for Amsterdam so we initially thought about canceling the trip. “Nooooooo!”, was what went through my head. “Our opportunity to have the best cycling experience ever and now this is happening to us?”
Then we thought about how the cycling infrastructure is so wonderful in the Netherlands that people with disabilities are benefiting from them and getting around easily as well. So from that we decided that we could still take this trip.
First, we thought about how we could transport ourselves since Nellie cannot ride a bike or walk very much. “Cargo bike!”, we thought. We were excited at that idea since Nellie can just ride inside the cargo box while I pedal. But if we were to go to a museum or somewhere bikes are not allowed to enter, it would be a problem since Nellie can’t walk a good distance before she needs a rest and walking with crutches can get very tiring. We could request a wheelchair at the museum, but we may not always be able to get one at other places.
Then, I remembered seeing a wheelchair bike in this great video (1:14) by Bicycle Dutch. I could see myself riding it everywhere pedaling while Nellie sits on the wheelchair that is attached to the front. And did I say that the wheelchair is detachable? So that means that we can park the bike and detach the wheelchair to go inside museums and other places. How brilliant is that?! I found a bike rental shop called StarBikes Rental Amsterdam behind the Amsterdam Central train station that rents out wheelchair bikes. I quickly reserved it and we are going full steam ahead. Yes!
While we are hoping for her foot to be better by the time we leave for Amsterdam (she will eventually get better, just not in time for the trip), this experience will be interesting to see how accommodating Amsterdam will be for bicycles and people with limited mobility. From what I have learned from Bicycle Dutch’s blog, I expect that it will be a positive experience. Plus, I will still have a blast pedaling all around Amsterdam and the Netherlands with Nellie right beside me.
So, we are going to take off for Amsterdam soon and plan on sharing what we will learn with you in some future posts. While we are there, we will not post anything to this blog. But we will be actively tweeting about our observations on biking there and how Nellie is able to get around as a disabled person in Amsterdam.
You can follow our live tweets of our bicycling adventure in Amsterdam at our Twitter page here starting on April 24.
Thanks and happy pedaling even if you have a bad foot!
Update: We’re back! Read how things went in our series on Amsterdam:
– Aiming for a 100 mph (161 kmph) bike (CNet).
– In The City of Bikes by Pete Jordan, read about Dutch bicycle culture (ChristianScienceMonitor).
– The first bike counter in SF will be installed on Market St. between 9th and 10th Sts. (SFBC).
– SF Planning Dept. Central Corridor Plan and bike plan now available. You can review and send them your input. (SFPlanning).
– Bike lanes on Polk Street project need your support! RSVP for one or both of the meetings. (SFBC).
– Galpin is putting women on bikes in Afghanistan (NYTimes).
– Cambridge… bike capital of UK? (CambridgeNews).
– Third Friday Night Lights on the Embarcadero this Friday.
– San Jose Bike Party this Friday!
– Ride your bike to the Earth Day Celebration at Civic Center (Free bike repair lessons by the SFBC) this Saturday.
– Bike to School Week Family Ride: Grattan Elementary School to Koret Children’s Playground this Saturday.
– Bike to School Week! Mon. April 22 – Fri. April 26.
– Love Your Lanes Ride in GGP and Richmond next Tuesday.
– ButterLap ride every Wednesday at 7pm in front of Ferry Bldg.