On Saturday The Willamette Valley Music Festival returned to the University of Oregon Campus with the Bike Music Festival providing the main stage power and entertainment at the EMU fishbowl. This was the debut of the UO Bike Program’s new “Biker Bar” power generator and dual Mundo bicycle generators. The three generators, in conjunction with RockTheBike‘s vertical tandem generator, provided all the power needed to run the main stage.
The festivities began the previous night at Agate Hall with a “Pedal Power” presentation by RockTheBike Founder Paul Freedman and the rest of the RockTheBike crew. After the presentation, a group of around 20 presenters and attendees participated in a “bike parade” around town, following Freedman’s vertical tandem sound machine – a bike with Freedman 0n top, a stoker underneath, a bassist sitting backwards at the rear, and a full generator and speaker system providing the sound.
The group ride was a lot of fun, but it did rile up a couple of motorists who didn’t like waiting for cyclists. Near the end of the ride, a Eugene Police Officer intercepted us at 13th and Hilyard and ordered us to turn off the music and all ride “single-file” in the bike lane. The group, which had swelled to over 30, was apparently too loud for 10pm on a Friday night, and were in the way of the non-existent car traffic on 13th Ave. The cyclists mostly dispersed at that point. No one wanted to argue with the officer about bike lane laws, and preferred to remain peaceful and happy. I was proud to be living in Eugene at this point; it’s a place where the cyclist community is willing to take the peaceful “high road” when confronted with a confused and screaming police officer.
After awhile we ended up on 8th Ave, Pearl St, and then 13th Ave again – but there was no trouble. True Eugenians, the cyclists were all happy and well behaved, didn’t “cork” any intersections, and obeyed all traffic laws.
On Saturday afternoon the Bike Music Festival went on another group ride – this time with several hundred cyclists. The UO Bike Program organizers seemed to have learned a few lessons from the night before and as a result there was zero conflict on Saturday’s ride – despite it being 10 times larger. An announcement was made before the ride began that all stop signs and lights would be obeyed. The ride began on the River Bike Path, where no conflict could occur. After awhile we ended up on 8th Ave, Pearl St, and then 13th Ave again – but there was no trouble. True Eugenians, the cyclists were all happy and well behaved, didn’t “cork” any intersections, and obeyed all traffic laws. The ride got a little splintered due to turning car traffic in the middle of the ride, but those drivers were also very polite and seemed to enjoy talking to the cyclists. From my vantage point near the back of the group, all the people we met on the River Path and in the streets appeared friendly and happy to see us, and many joined the ride.
The whole experience was a lot of fun, the music was great, and there were many great “characters” on the ride. I’d like to invite any and all attendees to add their photos to WeBikeEugene’s BikeMusicFest Flickr Group so that they show up in the slideshow below. Also, please post in the comments any links to pictures or video that you’d like to share them with WBE readers. I look forward to seeing them.