The Bikes (And Bike People) of Maker Faire

Maker Faire has been described as many things, and it's tagline "The greatest show and tell on earth" is pretty accurate.  Today I also heard it as a "Burning Man for tech people," which is also spot on.  

What surprised me about Maker Faire was the prevalence of bicycles, bike powered objects, and bike related exhibits.  I tried to grab as many photos as I could, starting with the valet bike parking that was almost completely full when I arrived.  There were thousands of bikes!

Big thank you to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition for organizing this!
This was organized and managed by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, an excellent organization that I've worked with before.  The fair was located along a bike route and bike parking was free, so people of all ages were riding in.

Parked and ready for the fun!
Parking was a short walk away from the entrance to Maker Faire, where a fire breathing octopus greeted everyone, and many bicycle related contraptions were being demonstrated.  This guy below was using this machine to do really cool geometric chalk drawings.

Many contraptions and robots had bike parts.
Next I met the awesome folks of V-Lock, who showed me their prototype lock and bicycle storage device.  It's beautiful, efficient, really well made, and I'm excited to get in on their Kickstarter when it launches!  I also got to speak with one of the designers who also builds frames - check out how beautiful they are.  It wasn't until after that I realized I was so excited talking about the V Lock that I didn't manage to get any of my own photos, so here's one from their site!  

Bike lock and bike rack - how cool is this?!  Via VLock's site.
Another booth was displaying frames made locally and advertising a summer course to build your own.  Hopefully I can have my frames at a booth next year too! 

Student made frames.
Right then, I found the Whiskeydrome: a mini velodrome where you ride single speed cruiser type bikes.  What a blast!

Everyone was curious to either watch or ride.

Inside the drome!

Now that's a steep bank.

We're rooting for you, Larry.
There were a few bikes, races, and events being put on by the Fun Bike Unicorn Club.

I would very much like to join this club.
These were some of the bikes that they had on display.  I'm not sure how functional these particular bikes were because they weren't being ridden, but there were many that were much more ridiculous that were being ridden.  

Wandering into a nearby building, I ran into the MonkeyLectric booth!  They were having a deal on one of their models and had many others on display, including an activity where you could draw something and transfer it to one of their wheels.  I really want to get one of these eventually.

Here's what they look like off the bike.

These thing are bright!  And they're becoming more affordable.
Impossible to miss this on the street at night.
And everyone knows that a VR exhibition wouldn't be complete without a bicycle simulator.  There was a demo of a bike controlled sim/video game that I watched for a bit.  It reminded me a lot of Mario Kart!

It was a single speed, but the brakes did interact with the game, which was pretty cool.

Riding the streets of Italy in your living room.
Bicycles were also *powering* some of the exhibits - there was a smoothie booth where you had to bicycle-blend your own drink, and of course the pedal powered stage, where the audience rides bikes to power the instruments!

Bikes of all kinds - even a cargo bike!
I wandered around a bit more looking at all of the bikes and contraptions.  There were so many, with bikes made of wood, electric bikes, burning man bikes, and sometimes things that were completely different, like this interesting take on a spokeless wheel:

Never seen anything like this before!
A close-up.
On my way out, I found a few of the electric bikes were grouped in the electric vehicle section, like these two!  I was really hoping to get a demo, but things were winding down and I had to leave.  

That wheelbase...
If you're in the Bay Area, Maker Fair is going on through this weekend, so I highly recommend you bike over and check it out!  There is way, way more than what I was able to feature here, and many interactive exhibits.  They have robots, 3D printing, mech battles, Game of Drones, and an agricultural exhibit where they were giving out baby plants.

Made it home in one piece!
Thanks to everyone who made Maker Faire possible - I'll update with any bike related Kickstarters as they launch in the next coming months.

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