In June 2016 the start of summer, I rode the Amtrack train to Seattle, Washington from Berkeley, California. 24 hours by train with my bicycle panniers and an extracycle bicycle that I had boxed and ready for shipping. From Seattle, I joined with 12 other cyclists and we started out on a journey that would last 2.5 months and over 1,500 miles of pure cycling. We organized over 31 human powered festivals with the 4 bands on bicycles. We are called the Pleasant Revolution and put on Biketopia Music Festivals all over the world.
We each had loads on our bicycles consisting of microphone stands, stilts, food, stove, pots and pans, 2 amps, a subwoofer (80 pounds made into a trailer), cables and more! At the end of the tour, I personalized the people that went on the entire tour into a drawing.
We all had large bicycles making it possible to pull anywhere between 100-180 pounds. What is so challenging about bike touring? It forces you to slow down. If you need to ride 45 miles (which would normally take an average cyclist 5 hours to bike) in a group, it takes three times that amount. So you are slower, there is no destination because if you focused on that you would constantly be stressed and worried about getting there. In this specific community, you had to let go and enjoy. Swim, eat, talk, play music, and let things go with the flow. Sound easy? It was life changing, but with all that down time and time on a bicycle makes for some great reflection and inner work. I love cycling alone but with other people, it’s immensely powerful. I think its something that everyone could benefit from. You have to be strong physically but even more important, mentally. Balanced and rationale and put the group first.
Here you can see the humans pedaling/making the electricity for the music. The bicycles have individual generators on the back wheel that are connected to a utility box designed by Rock the Bike in Oakland. From the utility box, you have output to the speakers and microphones. Pretty incredible!
The tour was incredible. The bike tour is so much more than cycling especially with the power of community and riding with a large group of friends with similar values and mission. Below are the group agreements created by the 2016 Pleasant Revolution west coast tour:
- Slow is beautiful- take a breath, slow down, and pedal
- Leave no trace. Become a steward of the earth- pack it in pack it out, clean up after others, dig a hole when you poo, gather wood in a considerate manner.
- Be an active guest- consolidate your belongings, do a chore, cook a meal, give a gift. Make your impact on someone’s space neutral or better than when you came.
- We offer the highest musical and performance content.
- To change the world, we must change our own consciousness and lifestyle, the bicycle liberates
- Use music and performance as a political platform whenever possible.
- We work to uplift the feminine in all of us to move beyond the patriarchs well as the binary to create balance in our group and ultimately in society. We work to embody nurturing, supportive, loving energy among us.
- We respect to act in the highest regard for the webs of all life.
- We operate on modified consensus- everyone’s voice matters and we won’t move forward on a decision if some have a strong block, however, if one is willing to stand aside even if the decision being made is not their preference the group will move forward with the decision.
- Hold a culture which allows folks to speak any discomforts and work to address it right away
- We work to educate and inspire the communities we travel through on fossil fuel alternatives. We work to be a living example of sustainable living.
- Everyone should strive for direct heart centered communication. We should address conflict on a person to person basis, if the group needs to be called in we will facilitate that. Take it to the source.
- Everyone should be emotionally responsible for themselves, able to employ de-escalation skills on themselves when necessary.
- This is a Group lead tour- every person is a working part and doing their part. This is truly living interdependence. We all have the opportunity to lead and be led.
- We work to uplift everyone’s strength while also challenging growth in each individual.
- Always do your best and have fun!
Here is the extra cycle Novara bicycle I rode for the tour. You can see the frame is extended backwards making the bicycle into a cargo bicycle. Her name is Gunther! Can you find the stilts?
We are talking about a 2018 6 month Europe tour that we already have a solid group of 20 cyclists for and I am already planning on making some murals for the tour and getting funding to make community art projects happen. Why do we start planning something almost 2 years away? We need funding, sponsorship, grants and more. It is great timing for booking festivals and for planning out the route and logistics. I look forward to it.