Booming Bicycles


The sun has finally come out in Scotland and I hope it lasts.  I joined some friends on a cycle through a forrest track out to the beach last weekend and we made the ride a bit more fun by adding a very OLD ghetto blaster to the back of the bikes. Our tape collection was random and I think my favourite forest tunes was a western collection(!): they seemed quite appropriate to the setting and transformed us momentarily to being in an old school western movie … well kind of. But the music definitely made a welcome addition to the relaxed cycle. I think the key thing that made it great was the shared aspect of the music.

I’ve seen some music systems at critical mass rides before, but it felt kinda cool having our own wee ‘system’ powered up. Clearly there are many mightier creations out there than our small system and I think these photographs by Tyler Hicks  for the New York Times and this article written by Corey Kilgannon in 2007 shows a pretty incredible insight into the booming systems that were created by teenagers living in Queens, New York. Its not a new phenomenom and they certainly don’t look practical (or sensible), but I guess that isn’t the aim and its pretty cool to see such great images of it in current culture….

Now what I like about the idea of bicycle speakers out in the open is that the sound is diffused and mixed with everything around. I don’t think that they are practical for general city/road cycling, but they are pretty fun for certain off road rides. I thought it would be pretty cool to see some pedal powered systems and although it seems that there are quite a few little more compact speaker systems on the market (MP3 Bike Speaker, Tommyca Bicycle Sound System, Many Iphone adaptations, CyFi Speakers), I struggled to find any that were actually powered by the bicycle pedal power.

One of the most exciting products that I saw during my googling was the Tunebug; a system that fits onto a helmet. There is a nice review of it here on Bicycle Net. Although I guess it is less about sharing and more of an open way to listen to personal music whilst cycling, in a way that is safer than using headphones.

To finish off here is a another wee image of our set up: One old ghetto blaster from Tayside Recyclers, lots of colourful bungee ropes and a bag of random tapes. Perhaps not really the recommended option, but as it cost pretty nothing… it was certainly the cheapest.


2 Responses to “Booming Bicycles”

  1. Hey guys i think that ‘old school’ ghetto-blaster you have is great! It’s a very beautiful thing to cycle to music, been doing this myself for fifteen years! My system is large boombox with detachable speakers! Chow, Eldon

  2. Hi it’s me again Eldon! my boombox with detachable speakers is about 15 watts, doesn’t sound loud on paper…but in a park like a 747 taking off! I carry the system in a rucksack, wired to detachable speakers at the back of a MTB Tandem!

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