So, we had the big test on Saturday night. Somewhere between 30 and 40 people showed up, and, judging from the feedback I’ve received thus far, most of them had a pretty good time, in spite of the occasional mosquito and a delay or two. There were technical glitches, as we’d expected, but they didn’t ruin the evening. The weather was perfect, and watching Night of the Hunter projected over the river with friends was just an incredible experience.
I should probably leave the discussion of what went wrong to one of the technical guys, but, the way I understand it, we had things wired in such a way that two of the bikes were incredibly inefficient at converting human power to energy that the battery could use. So, we had one bike that was really pumping, and two others that were just contributing a trickle of electricity. And, unfortunately, the bike that was contributing the most was also really loud. So, at some point prior to the start of our feature, we decided to switch over to conventional power. It wasn’t the optimal outcome, but we learned a hell of a lot, and we still got to enjoy a terrific movie outside with some tasty beverages.
Here are a few short videos I shot early in the evening of the gang trying to get everything up and running.
We haven’t had a formal meeting yet to discuss where this leaves us, but my sense is that, all things considered, we’ll look back on this as a success. Not only did we have a great time, but, I think, we made some real headway in understanding what needs to be done differently in the future… If you’ll recall, the last time we did a live demo, we just had one bike, and things ended in a little plume of black smoke, as we maxed out our inverter and fried it. This time, nothing blew up. And, we actually charged a battery. So, I think we’re most of the way there. We just need to figure out how to optimize the system now, raise some money for a few more generators and stands, and deal with the sound coming from the bikes. All in all, though, I’d say we’ve come pretty damned far.
Thanks to everyone who came out and contributed, either by helping out directly, or by making a donation to the cause. (We raised $210, which should be enough, when added to our online contributions, to buy another generator.) And special thanks to Andy, Mike, Dave and Chris, not only for busting their asses during the show to make things work, but also for all the work they did in the run-up to the big event. They’ve invested a ton of time and effort in order to make something good for this community of ours, and they deserve a lot of credit for it. I think I’ve said it before, but I tend to think of this like a very local version of putting a man on the moon. It’s a huge puzzle, and we don’t have a lot of previous experience to go on, but folks in the community are really stepping forward to help make it happen. And, I’m convinced that it will. I really think that by the end of the summer, we’ll have it all figured out…. Thanks again for your patience and support.