Hosting a sustainable event and offering attendees an exercise option can be combined into one simple activity: pedal power. Berkeley-based Rock the Bike is part A/V company, part smoothie-making company and part exercise promoter that can add a sustainable, human-powered addition to your next event.
Paul Freedman, owner of Rock the Bike, says the most popular service for groups is the bike blender rental. The bike blender doesn’t require a large team to operate it, and the meeting planner can simply rent the gear to blend smoothies. Attendees can participate in the blending process if they’re feeling active, or a hired team will operate the equipment. Either way, the bikers know the goal at all times. A green and red lights indicate how much faster the user needs to pedal to keep the blenders blending. If it gets to red, the participant has a short amount of time before the blender powers off.
“We optimize our gear to run with bike power,” says Freedman. “There is definitely audience participation. We can do it ourselves, but that’s not our mission. We try to get people from the event to provide the power and make it very easy for them to understand what they need to do. We want people to see what can happen when they work together—a specific revelation experience that’s really cool.”
The company also offers services similar to an A/V company, in which pedal power runs sound system equipment or LED lighting displays. The audio production has the capability to power anything from a small panel discussion to a 3,000-person concert. This past summer, the company provided the audio for its Bicycle Music Festival in San Francisco. The sound system required about 25 people to run it.
A similar experience occurred at VM World this past summer, where the company had a pedal-powered DJ booth and recharge bar for the annual software conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco. The DJ booth filled the entire Yerba Buena Gardens park with music and was available to charge up to 10 cell phones via pedal power from six bikes. Plus, the booth was branded for the company, which added more value for the client.
“We had a really good response at [VW World],” says Freedman. “A lot of people stayed on the bikes longer than we expected. It was a nice way for people to have physical activity within the conference.”
Because a variety of people are participating in the pedal-powered activities, the bikes are made to be strong, quiet and fit a wide range of people. The bikes also have pedalometers that show how hard a participant pedals so they can keep up with the system requirements.