In a highly creative and environmentally forward-thinking application of JBL PRX portable loudspeakers, Rock the Bike, a designer and manufacturer of bicycles with an eye on raising the awareness of the “bike culture,” has employed PRX loudspeakers at several of its live music events, which are run on human power generated on bicycles.
For its live events, Rock the Bike designed a pedal-powered stage, which enables one or many individuals to ride stationary bicycles in place, which in turn power the audio system as the artists perform. “It’s been a steady progression to this—most of our performances used to be primarily in the streets and running off battery power,” said Paul Freedman of Rock The Bike. “Then we started hooking up with people interested in human power and over the past year, we’ve put a lot of energy into creating our own pedal-powered stage.”
Thanks to the efficiency of the JBL PRX Series, Rock the Bike employs PRX535 speakers for its main sound reinforcement system. “Because we’re an environmentally conscious group, the PRX speakers are a perfect fit, plus they’re lightweight so we can easily transport them on our cargo bicycles,” Freedman said. “I also really like the PRX speakers because the low/mid/high knobs on my mixer correspond directly with the low/mid/high drivers in the speaker, which make them very easy to use.”
Rock the Bike relies on volunteers from the audience to pedal the bikes, something that has never posed a challenge. “If there are a lot of people at an event, we have no problem getting volunteers from the crowd to keep a 2-bike pedal-powered system going,” Freedman said. “We position them close to the stage so they have a good view of the performers, and they’re literally supporting the music with their power.”
While the pedal-powered stage contributes to a sense of community at the live events, the system has taken an ironic (but intentional) back seat to the actual performances, as a result of its own efficiency. “The pedal-powered stage used to be the center of attention at our shows, but with the sound quality of the PRX speakers, along with our ability to make the pedal-power bikes quieter, the audience is getting absorbed into the music without even thinking about the pedal power,” Freedman added. “That’s our goal: to keep the music excellent and help spread the spirit of the bike.”
Since employing the pedal-powered stage, Rock the Bike has supported events ranging from rock star performances to a press conference at City Hall in San Francisco. “We recently powered a show by Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam,” Freedman said. “He was only supposed to play the first song of his set through pedal power, but he ended up playing the entire set with it because he got such a great response from the crowd.”