Meet Presto! Deb’s People-Powered Bike 05.07.2010


Click here to View PDF page 6 ACE May 6, 2010

Debra Hensley
has been taking
her show on
the road since
this time last year
with mobile Social
Stimulus Gatherings
– where she
invites the community
to “mob”
a neighborhood
or location in pursuit
of “people/
– also driving revenue,
and attention to local
businesses and
She says, “I want DS$
[Deb’s Social Stimulus]
to have a fun edge surrounding
our events and
projects. When we go
into a community, I want
to look into the complex
nature of the area, highlighting
the history, the
people, the small businesses
and the unique features that reinforce
our ‘sense of place and community.’
Most importantly, I want to engage the
in deep and
P a s t
g a t h e r i n g
locales have
included S.
London Ferrell
and most recently, the Distillery District (at
Barrelhouse Distillery). This weekend – in
time for Bike Month – the community will
be invited to gather on N. Limestone in the
Third Street Stuff parking lot, to make their
own contribution to Presto: the People-
Powered Piano Bike.
Why does Lexington need a People-
Powered Piano Bike?
She says, “This project is in keeping with
my core pillars of PEOPLE…PLANET…
and PURPOSE. I wanted to bring together
cyclists, environmentalists, and artists
around a project that is by and for the community. From the beginning, my idea of the ‘PianoBike’ was untried and I had to bring the right people on board to see if we could make a go of it.”

The What and the How came next. “The
very first step I took was to call Shane Tedder
about the feasibility of cyclists pulling
a trailer and on it will be a piano that we
make, a piano player, a stationary cyclist
(powering the generator)
with lots of art
made with reusable
materials, attached to
the piano frame and
trailer, etc. (If you
have had a smoothie
at the Farmers’ Market,
thank Shane and
his business partner
Patrick Garnett. I
know they understood
the technology).”
Somewhat to her
surprise, she didn’t encounter skepticism.
“Shane did not even ask what was in my
n g
F r o m
the getgo,
said, ‘I
am sure
we can
do this.’
S h a n e
and his business partner are brilliant and
innovative entrepreneurs who focus on ecofriendly
bike projects. Like Morris Book
Shop and Third Street Stuff, I have a bike
stand at my offi ce made with bike parts –
Shane, and his business partner made it
(Bike Creations).”
“Next step: I called Alex Meade to enlist
his help. If you are an avid cyclist in this
community, then you know Alex and you
know he is a brilliant engineer. He made
the contraption that will allow to cyclist to
pull PRESTO.”
“Having the technology completed, a
trial run or two with cyclists pulling the
bikes, and a stationary cyclist charging the battery/generator…we were ready. NEXT
STEP: We had a big POW WOW with the
WHOS – Joel Pett made the cartoon, Bob
Morgan met the art teachers Jarah Jones,
Georgia Henkel, Ann Allen and their students
to demonstrate how to make throw
away items and reusable things into art.
Hub Cap Annie (Ira Lush) donated all the
hubcaps, and the kids have been pouring
their efforts artistically cool hubcaps they
will bring on Saturday. Peggy at Don Wilson
Music Company has donated graveyard
instruments. Pat Gerhard, Bob Morgan
and Melissa
Watt will help facilitate the gathering on
Saturday as we all paint and add the final
artistic elements to Presto.
As for the labor costs? “EVERYONE has
donated his or her talents towards this project.

Is that cool or what?
Lori Houlihan and Debra Hensley “will
manage the Community engagement piece
of where Presto goes.” She adds, “Look for
Presto at some neat public events…very

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