A Report from Pedalfest! 2011

Shawn KieltyShawn Kielty is a Software Engineer, Artist, Photographer, and avid outdoor enthusiast, enjoying cycling and other human powered travel. Travel stories from on his blog Flat Tire Paradise amuse, entertain, and encourage readers to get outside and have some fun.

A friend and I went out to Jack London Square in Oakland, California on Saturday to check out the Pedalfest! It is the first-ever Pedalfest event for the East Bay.

Penny Farthings at Pedalfest
Penny Farthings at Pedalfest | Photo: Shawn Kielty

I spoke for a few minutes with Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the East Bay Bike Coalition (www.ebbc.org), one of the sponsors and producers of the event. Her message was clear and straightforward: The East Bay has an great bicycling community and Pedalfest was a great opportunity to showcase all things bike in the East Bay and for the cycling community to get out in force.

Kevin Manning Demonstrates the Pump-Hub
Kevin Manning Demonstrates the Pump-Hub | Photo: Shawn Kielty

Walking around the event it was pretty clear that this was true. It was a pretty joyous celebration of bikes. Alongside a few things I’d never seen before, were the regular collection of standard players, the Aids Ride folks, Xtracycle, Dahon, Mike’s Bikes, REI, Fat Tire and the standard assortment of flying, jumping and trick bikes. As always, there were some things I never quite get, like the display bikes, art bikes and oddly dysfunctional bikes.

I am sure you’re wondering what an “oddly dysfunctional bike” is. It’s typically a display or exploratory home made custom bike that defies necessity and reason. Why a bike with several different sized wheels and two disjointed power trains and tires that are hand-made is interesting or useful is just beyond me.

Detail of the Pump-Hub
Detail of the Pump-Hub | Photo: Shawn Kielty

One of the bikes I saw was called a conference bike, where a group of pedalers sit in a circle and cruise around town, while presumably having a meeting. Many people were interested in this bike, but I was left wondering, we need this why, exactly?

So what was interesting?

The Pump-Hub. Basically it’s a pump built into the hub of your wheel, that allows you, the rider, to fill the tire on that wheel by spinning the wheel. It shuts off automatically, so once there’s enough air in the tire to ride on, you can ride the bike until the tire is full.

According to Kevin Manning, owner and designer of the Pump-Hub, this will be a great thing for commuters. Retail price, according to Manning, will be about $300 for a pair of hubs. I suspect the drawbacks will be obvious to everyone. Having to buy or build a wheel set is going to be prohibitive to some folks due to cost or inconvenience.

Josh Bouisclair (right) with My Dutch Bike Prototype
Josh Bouisclair (right) with My Dutch Bike Prototype | Photo: Shawn Kielty

The folks at My Dutch Bike had some cool bikes, their t-shirts feature a slogan “Light bikes and light beer are for wussies.” The had an assortment of cargo, commuter, and passenger bikes, among their personal bikes and their offerings.

One of My Dutch Bikes Personal Bikes
One of My Dutch Bikes Personal Bikes | Photo: Shawn Kielty

I spoke with Josh Boisclair about the company and one of their prototypes. Cool innovations like a bike lock built into the rear and large cargo areas, as well as multiple child carriers on a single bicycle characterize My Dutch Bike.

Dahon's Stowable Pedals
Dahon's Stowable Pedals | Photo: Shawn Kielty

It will be interesting to watch and see what next interesting bikes My Dutch Bike will be building.

I spoke briefly with Ken Fagut, Director of Sales and Marketing at Dahon.

Their new flagship offering retails at about $900 and features easy folding, alternative function as a stool, an optional carrying bag and stowable pedals. It’s clean and looks, sounds and feels good. Having an entry level model at $299, makes Dahon pretty accessible.

The take away for me was that Pedalfest was a good celebration and reaffirmation of bike community, bike commuting and bike people in general.

Good times all around.

Riders in the Velodrome
Riders in the Velodrome | Photo: Shawn Kielty

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5 thoughts on “A Report from Pedalfest! 2011”

  1. Ted Johnson says:

    I love art bikes. The more improbable and impractical the better. When I went to a Tour de Fat, I couldn’t wait to try the art bikes they had available for test rides.

    I’m a little surprised that you, as an artist, don’t get art bikes.

    What’s the deal with that?

  2. M. Chiesa says:

    Nice report. Pedalfest looks very interesting.

  3. Shawn Kielty says:

    Oh, I definitely “get” them. Whether or not I like them is a question entirely beside thier usefulness or artfulness. Violating the gorgeous beauty of a bike for what appears to be a whim disturbs my sensibilities. Having something positive and valuable to say after doing that would help, but when I look, I don’t usually find any redemption.

    @ M. Thanks!

  4. BluesCat says:

    Great article, Shawn.

    I love biking events which don’t emphasize racing, but focus on all the other aspects of bicycling.

  5. luckynumber4 says:

    I was at Pedalfest, too. Just happened to be in the neighborhood that weekend (I live in Boston) and was excited to see what the local scene had to offer.

    In addition to the above, I thought the human powered stage was pretty cool – six or so bikes hooked up to a generator, with everyone encouraged to pitch in and create electricity for the musicians. I put in about 30 minutes, and when I left there was a line of people waiting to help. Nice.

    The “bike museum” – which was jut as much a showcase for local custom builders, was also great. A nice opportunity for folks like me, who don’t gets lots of opportunity to speak with fabricators, to ask questions and see the handiwork close up.

    On the My Dutch Bike folks – the bikes are definitely fantastic, but I think their main role is to import what already exists in Holland. I’d seen most of those bikes in Amsterdam, and agree that the rear wheel lock is a great feature (Breezer bikes uses them on some models, too).

    All in all, a great day.

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