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Maker Faire 2009 Leadmomentum hanging out with Tyrone Stevenson and his Scraper Bikes at Maker Faire.
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Makers at Dolores ParkAbout 100 makers meet up at Dolores Park to ride down to Maker Faire.
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Hennepin CrawlerHennepin Crawler at Maker Faire.
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Momentum BoothMomentum Booth at Maker Faire.
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MonkeyLectric's Bike Wheel Lights at Maker FaireMonkeyLectric's Bike Wheel Lights
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Ride to Maker FaireThe ride to Maker Faire.
By Mykle Hansen
It’s rush hour at Maker Faire 2009, and I’m stuck in human gridlock. In an entrance lobby of the huge Expo Hall at the San Mateo Fairgrounds – where DIY inventors and craftspeople from around the world have gathered at the behest of Make Magazine, showing off their creations to over 80,000 thrilled visitors. Is there a word for the fear of being trampled to death at an inventor’s conference? Is this the car-free future?
But a moment later, the scrum breaks apart and I’m ejected into a perfect sunny California day. Shaken, I seek out the calmness of Bike Town, an outdoor oasis of sanity and space in an otherwise all-too-thrilling faire. Organizers provided this area for the demonstration and test-riding of bicycle inventions like the Gyrobike and the wooden concept bikes of woodenbikes.com.
The first Maker Faire in 2006 attracted 20,000 visitors, and each subsequent year has added tens of thousands more. Faced with the enviable problem of too many customers and not enough parking, faire organizers laid out the red carpet for bicyclists this year. On Saturday morning, a ride to the faire organized by Rock the Bike! brought nearly two hundred riders all the way from San Francisco. Valet bike parking staffed by the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition provided space for 2000 bikes, and bikers got a $10 discount and their very own secret entrance to the faire. Inside, pedal-driven carnival rides from Cyclecide awaited them, as well as a bike-powered music stage, booths from Xtracycle and NuVinci, an adult-sized Big-Wheel, a solar touring bike, electric tandems, and more.
No matter what you’re a nerd for, the Faire is a feast for the mind and senses, and the enthusiasm is contagious. Ten minutes after fleeing the exhibit hall, I eagerly dive back in. Maker Faire is huge, amazing, tiring, and inspiring, and bikes make it better. Just don’t forget to breathe!
Maker Faire comes to Austin TX, October 2009.