Portlander goes on global tour as mechanic for bike-powered bands

Posted by on December 16th, 2010 at 4:46 pm

BikeCraft IV-41

Mike Cobb.

Portlander Mike Cobb is no stranger to impressive bicycle feats. Whether it’s winning a trackstand competition with a broken arm while being pelted with water balloons, or coming home with three medals from the 2009 Cycle Messenger World Championships in Tokyo, or by simply pedaling a 700-pound capacity cargo trike at his former day job — this man is a professional.

Mike straps a frame together
“somewhere in Spain.”
(Photo by Paul Freedman)

His latest gig? A six month, 4,500 mile, pedal-powered trek through 12 countries as the on-call mechanic for the Pleasant Revolution World Tour. Using a mix of boats, trains and bikes, Cobb joined a rolling crew of 18 people as they played gigs (powered by pedal generators) four times per week. With 12 musicians and five bands among the crew carrying all their gear by bike, Mike stayed very busy keeping everything rolling smoothly down the road.

With money from a few paid gigs, a lot of busking, and a bit of sponsorship money, Mike and the Pleasant Revolution crew camped and played their way through England, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovania, Croatia, Italy, France, and Spain.

Mike just got back to Portland a few weeks ago and he sent over some photos from the trip. What an amazing experience it must have been. Check out the photos below, with captions by Mike himself…

“Some of my favorite road tools. I carried between 70-100 pounds of parts and tools. The parts load fluctuated due to consumption and restock.”
(Photo by Paul Freedman)

Busking in San Sebastian, Spain: “With clean and loud amplified sound and no need to plug-in, we could make 150 Euros in two hours simply by spontaneously busking in the right plaza.”
(Photo by Paul Freedman)

“Part of our 15 cargo bike fleet, sans stage equipment.
(Photo by Paul Freedman)

A performance in Barcelona, Spain.
(Photo by Paul Freedman)

The Amanda Mora band (with Cello Joe on cello) performing on a beach during the World Naked Bike Ride in Brighton, England. “Powered by pedal generators, as per usual.”

In Budapest, Hungary: “Frame repair at a squat. I’m using our battery-powered Dremel tool to carve-out a repair lug from a ground-score muffler.”

World Naked Bike Ride, Towers Bridge, London, England. “Kipchoge [Spencer, co-founder of Xtracycle and founder of Pleasant Revolution tour] performed “Proud Mary” via Live on Bike on this bridge. Clean, loud, beautiful. Sublime.”

In Vienna, Austria: “I spent a day with Heavy Pedals, a cargo bike delivery company. I delivered bread and high-quality sandwiches to businesses.
(Photo by Wolfgang “Höfi” Höfler)

Justin Anchetta and Cello Joe busking in Girona, Spain.

Thanks for sharing this trip with us Mike! Unreal.

Learn more at PleasantRevolution.net.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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gregg woodlawn
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Two winters ago I was DRIVING a huge load of gear south on MLK near Fremont. I hit every light to SE and the whole time I saw this cyclist in my rear view mirror catching up on me. Mike passed me with a grin on his face and passed dozens of other cars on the road…and he was on his single speed.

I heard that Mike was later racing Class B Cross- on a fixed gear!

Aside from his mad riding skills, Mike is a great guy. I love to read your success stories, Jonathan.

Metrofiets
Guest

Simply, amazing! Cheers Mike!

James
Guest
James

I think I’m having my first man-crush.

joel
Guest

mike, as always, rules. hes a total monster on the bike, a fantastic mechanic, and a great guy.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

pure awesome!

Zaphod
Guest

Welcome back Mike. This man has made many bike deliveries for Trailhead … at record speed to be sure! All rolling on a fixed gear *with* a trailer full of coffee. Solid.

Val
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Val

Yay Mike! Cobbworks Oyster Buckets are still the best!

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

What 3 medals at the Worlds?
And they don’t really give out medals. These are messengers. You win prizes…. Sometimes a belt.

Sorry to be a doubter but….
I have to ask.

Antload
Guest
Antload

trackstand, cargo race, backwards circles

Antload
Guest
Antload

Sometimes prizes AND medals, like Seattle 2003 and NYC 2005: http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/mikecobb/5781742055/sizes/m/

(moving today and stumbled upon my favorite medal ever)

Antload
Guest
Antload

Thanks Jonathan. Thanks y’all! It’s very good to be back. Dabby – you are correct. 1st, 2nd, 5th.

Colette Hosmer
Guest

Hi from your favorite Aunt in China. It was great seeing photos and reading about your “world tour”… what’s next?

Thomas
Guest

Mike! It was a pleasure and an honor to tour with you! Best wishes to you and I will definitely be dropping in to say hello next time I pass through Portland!

laughter Medicine
Guest

Hey Mike,
Thanks for fixing my bike so many times, tying my frame back together, welding, spoke after spoke after spoke and all the lessons on how to do it my self. You are amazing.

Antload
Guest
Antload

Auntie Colette: designing and building cargo bikes! Thomas: would love to see you.
Laughter: thank-you for the kind words.