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Completion of Bike Tour- 1,500 Miles Canada to Oakland

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PleasantRevolutionIn 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.

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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.

1-omar 1-carolyn

1-adley  1-heather

1-kristina 1-maiesha

1-matt  1-molly

1-nate  1-nikki

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.

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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!

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    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.

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Santa Rosa to the San Francisco

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We made it back home! Can you believe it? All the way from Seattle to Bellingham, Vancouver, Salt Spring, Victoria, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Bainbridge Island, Seattle again, Olympia, Portland, Eugene, Brownsville, Coos Bay, Florence, Fort Bragg, Jenner, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Oakland! 

 

The last couple of days were wonderful, annoying the last moments. We ended up staying at a geodesic dome in Sebastopol with a pool for Nates birthday. We had a beautiful brunch in the morning to celebrate and rode a couple miles to our Petaluma to play our Farmers Market show.

 

The show was incredible, we were overwhelmed with all of the food that we were gifted to the crew and we loved playing!

On our way home, we were lucky enough to go by Yuba Bicycles headquarters in Petaluma and get a tour and talk to the people that work there. We test rode some bicycles. Two of our 10 extra cycles were from Yuba so we were happy to provide feedback and hang out with them.

 

For the final 20 miles, we decided to take a ferry into San Francisco. We were able to fit all of our bicycles and it was my first time to get into San Francisco that way. We were all so excited to see the city and it felt so weird to see that familiar city skyline. It had not really sunk in until that moment for me. We are home. My bed is close by. We are not sleeping in tents anymore! It was a very strange feeling I can not quite describe it.

  

BUT! Our shows were still not over, we had two more to play and decided to stay together as a group at night to not end the energy or disperse. We played a Friday night gig at Oakland’s art walk called “First Fridays” and we had a 10 bicycle system instead of our typical 4. There was also a huge double decker bicycle called “El Arbol” or “The Tree” that lights up and is also a generator bicycle as well. It was a beautiful show and we had an incredible turnout.

  

The second and final show that we had was at PLACE for sustainability where we had all the acts of the tour players, and I even got to sing a song. It was a blast and we spent the night all together to keep the tour going! The next day, it was hard to part and felt very odd. I still can feel the feeling but not quite put it into words. Pedaling away from everyone after almost 3 months of being together anywhere from 10-2o people at one time. We really loved the tour, hanging out with each other all the time and playing music with one another. We are even talking about riding 6 months and playing shows in Europe 2018 summer and there are still more plans in the work for the future of the tour! Thanks for reading and following. This tour has been a blast BUT there is more to come so stay tuned.

Jenner to Santa Rosa

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Leaving the coast was a much needed break from hills and from the dew filled air. The coast has such a dramatically different feel than even 5-10 miles inland. Jenner was beautiful, we met a man that owned the community center, and he let us stay at it. Everyone in the town of a population 136 were so nice and welcoming. The town lays at the mouth of the Russian River and is on the Pacific Ocean. The state route highway 1 runs through it, as well as the 116.

 

Typically heading inland there are a lot of hills, but to our surprise we didn’t hit any! We passed through Gurneville and had a beautiful dip into the Russian River and had some lunch before hitting into Santa Rosa, wine country and lots of traffic and cars!

Santa Rosa was amazing, we got to stay with Carolyn’s brother, Sean. He had a house and he let us stay in his driveway with our tents. We played a show at the Santa Rosa farmers market. It was amazing, we had a lot o participation and her brother came as well. We did a little wine tasting, a lot of riding and the anticipation of arriving at home is at the forefront of our thoughts! We are really trying to enjoy every moment. Less than a week left!

Bellingham to Vancouver

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PleasantRevolution

We made it to Canada! Check out the above photo of the 4 bands with a burning man sculpture that was used 20 years ago and is pedaled by solar energy! Canada was epic and we are so happy to be traveling now around the islands and B.C. We love this place!

  

What a beautiful ride we had to get into Canda! Crossing the border from United States to Canada was a breeze, we had to ride on the I-5 to cross but it was relatively easy. We only had 33 miles to ride this day, so we swam, took lots of breaks (as we always do) and arrived to Vancouver to the house of Adley’s brother, Chris. Chris let us stay in his back yard and was so gracious with his home. There are now 16 of us, three more joined us in Canada. Craig, our drummer, Dara an amazing writer and experienced cyclist that took a group across the U.S. with a theatre group the Agile Rascals and then Mega, who juggles, sings and dances. She has ridden with the crew before in previous bike tours.

  

We stayed a total of 4 nights and played a gig at the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with eatArt that helped us with the burning man sculpture. We had a beer garden and a dance floor. There was also tricycle bikes they brought that people could test ride that we pretty amazing.

    
It was an incredible show as we played on the steps of the gorgeous gallery.

   

The show was incredible. I was pulling people from the street with my stilts and our sound was incredible. It was a sunny and beautiful day. It was great to relax and take time in one city. Vancouver is gorgeous right on the water and at the edge of huge mountains and glorious hiking. I was so excited to get to know the area and to get to celebrate Canada day! July 1st, they celebrate the joining of three colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Providence of  Canada into a single dominion within the British Empire. This all happened on July 1, 1867 .

  
We are in good high spirits and excited to continue the tour, meeting beautiful people and playing a lot of music. Have you gotten a chance to hear all the musicians on tour with us yet?

Check out the links below!

Biking WA – Mukilteo to Bellingham

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Rain started as a sprinkle as we drifted beyond the trees and the rivers and streams. Light playful rejuvenating rain. Heavy and thick getting louder and more powerful.

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Soon enough we were in full on downpour where our waterproof gear was suddenly not and we were chilly little bikers! For a couple of hours we rode in the rain. At first it was fun and exciting, but then it became cold and uncomfortable.

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The ferry was beautiful, and quite the ordeal with 12 bicycles. We walked on and the ride was only about 15 minutes to Whidbey Island. We were greeted with huge uphills! Beautiful, but wet ride! I am glad that we waterproofed all of our gear before it started. Because it did not stop anytime soon.

IMG_9183 Here is the first part of the ride from Mukilteo to Fort Ebey State park that was right on the water. It was a beautiful spot, but unfortunately rained the entire time. We were greeted with quite large hills on the end of the ride, which was difficult.

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We finally found a warm place to stop for lunch and made nori sandwiches and wraps then we’re off again. Beautiful and hilly Whidbey I remember coming to the island as a child and as a teenager for my grandparents’ reunion. Memories now shared with my present experience of this rainy bike tour. The land, so green and luscious. The trees, swaying with beauty, and the puget sound with smells of salt and seaweed. Smells from my childhood.

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We rode across the island only 50 miles to our camping site where we arrive with pouring down rain and tons of hills! One thing I love about this group is our ability to work together. We had two tarps. One tarp for cooking dinner and keeping the food and crew dry and the other for a team of people holding up a tarp so individuals could set up their tents! What an experience so organized and loving with all that rain! We were pretty cold and miserable. We warmed up quickly in our little tents and got dry as night fell.

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Here is the second part of the ride where we rode over a military part of the island. There was a lot of planes flying overhead and a navy base. It made for an interestingly loud ride amongst the beautiful green trees.  We made it to the Look Out Arts Quarry in Bellingham after two days and lots of rain! It was beautiful and we are thankful to have experienced that magical island!

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West Coast Bike Tour Day 1! Seattle to Muckeltio

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Imagine 12 people, 8 cargo bicycles, 4 normal bicycles, riding along the road with gear being carried completely by human power. We are talking about 2 powered speakers, 4 microphone stands, tons of cables, a mixing board, drum kit, a bass guitar, tons of percussion instruments, 3 guitars, 1-18″ subwoofer, a pair of stilts, merchandise and juggling balls! This is a list of gear we are carrying for our shows! In addition we also have our camping gear and bicycle load as well! It gets pretty ridiculous! The Biketopia music festival bicycle tour has begun!

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I met 11 of my friends and cyclists at the king street station in Seattle who all rode a 24 hour train from Oakland. We rode to my beautiful friends house Heather, who lives with her son, Luka and dog, Pepper. They have a stunning home in Ballard and she was gracious enough to let twelve people and 7 tents up in her front and side yard. It was incredible. We were so thankful to have her for our first night together, she helped us out way more than just a place to stay. She was our road side helper and let us borrow her car and did everything she could to support us. We don’t know what we would of done without her!

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The night was wonderful, everyone was super tired from the train and had a great sleep. In the morning we ran errands, had some meetings and interviews with venues and radio stations for our July tour dates in Seattle. This tour is going to be amazing.

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We left riding our first time together north at 5pm! There is a saying that we have in the biking community that the first three days of the bike tour is called the “The Three Day Hump!”. This means lots of problems on the road, getting to know your bicycle better and learning how to strap it and carry the large loads.

It was a late start, but thank goodness summer is here because sub set this day at 9:30 pm! We rode to Mukilteo about 25 miles and actually the police stopped us and asked us if we needed help. They offered us a place to stay, 92nd park just a mile from the ferry. Thank goodness for that because there were 10 tents!

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That night, the rain started! First it was just sprinkles but then more and more! The night was dreamy with frogs croaking and the raindrops playfully falling from the tents. It was a great first night on the road. I am feeling so thankful for my friends, my cargo bicycle and my community. It is a really special group!

Biketopia Music Festival Summer 2016

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This summer I am apart of an amazing group of 18+ humans that will be taking part in a beautiful project called the Biketopia Music Festival by the Pleasant Revolution! This 2016 summer, we’re touring the pacific northwest from Vancouver to the bay – twenty of us, musicians, dancers, clowns, jugglers, on bikes.

The Pleasant Revolution

For the past three years we have been organizing bike tours from California through Mexico.  On these tours we have carried all our musical equipment on bikes, but wherever we played, we had to rely on electricity.  This year, we hope to abolish our dependence on external energy sources by purchasing a pedal-powered sound system from the good people of Rock the Bike, a Bay Area based small business who’s been working for years to develop a sound system which runs completely off of kinetic energy generated by people riding bikes.

Purchasing a sound system from Rock the Bike not only supports their ingenuity and innovation, it also allows us to share our message in the most authentic way possible.  Your donation will aid in supplementing the cost of our two month bike tour; this includes cargo bikes, touring gear, musical equipment, food, camping and ferry fees.

Bike touring, and performing with a pedal powered sound system is 100%  community effort.  Not only are we learning to live through alternative means, we are also realizing the power of a group of passionate people joining together to accomplish magnanimous feats.  Every donation counts, even a small amount will get us one pedal closer to our goal.  Please follow us, share our story with your friends and loved ones, and let us know what you think!

Pleasant Revolution Group Photo

The cyclists:

Molly, Carolyn, Adley, Nikki, Kristina, Nate, Maisha, Heather, Omar, Finn, Matt, Mega, Robyn, Robin, Seairra and more!
Within the Pleasant Revolution there are a number of potential musical acts that could play depending on venue etc. which include but are not limited to:

1. Bicicletas por la Paz or “bikes for peace” which is a band I’ve played and toured with from Oakland to Mexico in 2015. They are a Latin circus funk band that has songs in Spanish and English.

2. Heather Normandale is a singer-songwriter, performer, independent music producer and music teacher. She studied music via anthropology, doing an ethnography of curandera music in Ecuador, interviewing street musicians in Quito, and then taking off on her own busking adventure through Europe with a team of musicians charging their amps with bike powered sound systems. Connecting with our deeper nature and the nature around us has been a constant theme in her activism to protect and preserve the wildness within and around us. Her most recent CD delves into the theme of water exploring the space between our earthy, aqueous nature and the subconscious. “Trembling Water” plays with our many connections to water, alluding to the creative process and our mirror like connection to nature. Her lyrics are rich and emotive, poetic and thoughtful. Rolling rhythms of finger picking on the banjo, mandolin or guitar drive the melody and message of the songs.
3. Kristina Bennett
4. Maeisha
Here is  a look at some of our shows coming up! We hope you can join us!

June 25th – Biketopia Music Fest, Bellingham, Washington – location TBD, for more info check Facebook event here.

June 26 – Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham, Washington – 12 – 3pm,  for more details visit the event page.

July 2nd – Biketopia Music Festival  at Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada –  3-7pm with bike ride to follow. For more details visit event page.

July 5th –Biketopia Music Festival at Salt Spring Island Farmer’s Market – in Centennial Park,  Salt Spring Island, BC,  12-5pm.   For more details visit event page.

July 8th –Biketopia Music Festival in Centennial Square,Victoria, Canada. 6-10pm. — for more details visit event page.

July 12 –Biketopia Music Festival in Pope Marine Park, Port Townsend, WA.  3-7pm

July 15 – Peddler Brewing Co. in Seattle, WA  at 7pm for an outside bike music festival. For more info see event pagewww.peddlerbrewing.com

July 16– Biketopia Music Festival at BikeWorks Seattke, WA–  3-7pm with bike ride to follow. More details coming soon.

July 17 – Outlander Brewery and Pub in Seattle, WA. 

July 19 – Biketopia Music Fest at Artesian Commons, Olympia, WA. From 5-9pm – for more information visit event page.

July 30 –Biketopia Music Fest, Portland, OR

More TBD