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The Pleasant Revolution: A Two-Wheeled, 5,000-Mile Musical Road Show
While I wouldn’t say that going green has quite made the mainstream, it sure as heck is becoming more commonplace. Even rock bands on tour, typically associated with crazy consumption and smashing hotel rooms, have gotten in on the act. But no one has quite gone to the lengths that the Pleasant Revolution has.
The mission: a 5,000 mile Rock n’ Roll road tour – from North San Juan, CA through Baja, Mexico, and then over to the Yucatan of Mexico – all by bicycle. Instruments, equipment, gear, are all loaded onto Xtracycle Sport Utility Bicycles – a modification that extends the backend of the bike’s frame to enable the rig to haul up to 300 pounds of gear.
The Ginger Ninjas, fresh off of headlining New Belgium Brewery’s bicycle-themed Tour du Fat, hatched the bike-tour-cum-social-mission plan. San Francisco’s roving Bicycle Musical Festival inspired the initiative. Shake Your Peace, whose frontman, Gabe Dominguez, helped to create the tour’s bike-powered PA system, didn’t need much convincing to come along. Cellojoe, a band fronted by Joey Chang, the "wildest beatboxin’ cellist in the west," rounds out the eclectic package. And yes: He’s biking deep into Mexico carrying a cello.
Video of Cellojoe, the mad bucket drummer in todos santos, baja, mexico:
From Pleasant Revolution:
Our way of life threatens our way of life. “Bigger, faster, more” has run its course, leaving a mountain of environmental and social woes and a void of meaning. Into that void rides the Pleasant Revolution, a transformational way of working and living that restores environmental and cultural vitality and returns deep meaning to ordinary human experience.
In our explorations of bicycle lifestyle we’ve stumbled upon what we think will be a truth of the coming age: Yes we must change, in some areas drastically so—we must consume less, drive less, throw away less, hate less, fear less. And yet, while superficially this may look like sacrifice, the pursuit of these changes can actually lead to a life that’s more local, rich, humane, fulfilling and happy.
From the Sierra Nevada through the suburban wastelands and urban decay of southern California, over the world’s busiest border crossing, across the wilderness and austere beauty of Baja, into the heart of megapolitan Mexico City, and down to the land of mystic pyramids, the team will play shows, record music with local musicians, and advocate for a leapfrog-style transition to sustainable transportation.
The team comes with the message that bikes are an essential and beautiful part of a sustainable transportation system and that Mexico still has the opportunity to skip US-style development and our suburbanized cult of the car.
The bikes are central to the tour – but their role isn’t limited to band transportation and gear-hauling. In fact, many of the audience members are pedaling along on this international adventure as well. They’ll ride between venues, commingle with the locals at the destinations, and enjoy the shows. However, they may end up being put to work – turns out the 1,000 watt soundsystem relies on pedal-power as well!
“Whatever (the audience) ate for dinner is being used to run the PA system, lights, and all electricity,” says Gabe Dominguez, founder of Shake Your Peace. Four bicycles generate the power to amplify the performances. Because of this, they can put on shows in beautiful, remote, off-grid locales.
The generator-bicycles are perhaps the greenest hybrids of all: they have solar panels and a small battery to generate and store additional juice. A switch on the bikes can engage the generator while in motion – a regenerative charging system ideal for long descents!
Pleasant Revolution Pedal Powered Rock and Roll Tour video: