“Everything is an experiment,” said 19-year-old Mic on the Bike interviewer Joaquin Arriola, minutes before the debut of his new series.
The event kicked off on Saturday, May 4. It was sponsored by Pedal Power Music, who provided the sound, Tactics Skate Shop, who provided the location for the show, and Wheel of Pizza for the post bike-ride snacks. The group of pedalers gathered at Wandering Goat in the Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene, sipping on coffee in an effort to wake up at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Ten of us, including friends of Smyth and a few KWVA DJs, walked outside to see a massive bike pulling up with Cindy Ingram, Arriola’s mother, piloting the sweet ride from Pacific Pub Cycle.
Pacific Pub Cycle is a local company owned by Ingram. She purchased it in February and quickly rebranded it to give it a more Pacific Northwest feel. Local artist Wayde Love designed a mural for the bike, so “it’s a mural on wheels,” said Ingram. On a normal day, Pacific Pub Cycle offers brewery/winery bike tours, where participants can visit three different stops, either pre-made tours or a choose-your-own-adventure.
Ingram has a background in music promoting. She created Grrrlz Rock, a local month-long festival in Eugene that celebrates women in music and the arts. She wanted a way to get back into the music scene and thought of the idea of Mic on the Bike. She teamed up with her son Joaquin to produce the event. “I wanted to give him an opportunity to learn how to be a producer, so it was perfect that we could do Mic on the Bike together,” she said.
Arriola and Ingram started the series with the intention of merging others like Hot Ones, Jam in the Van and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. All of the participants were asked to film the event on their phones, getting different angles and perspectives. Arriola will then edit all the clips together to produce a YouTube video.
The first artist to be showcased for Mic on the Bike was Oregon’s own Spencer Smyth. As we rode through the streets of the Whiteaker area, Arriola interviewed Smyth about his influences and the differences between the Eugene and Portland music scenes. Smyth said he loves the community feel that Eugene’s house shows provide. At one point, Smyth even spit a cypher while pedaling through the streets.
Smyth lives and breathes hip-hop. With a Pharcyde shirt and a Fat Beats sticker on his water bottle, it’s clear just by looking at him. Born and raised in Portland, Smyth majored in Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon and graduated this past June. During his time here, Smyth was a integral part of the Eugene hip-hop scene — a staple at Luckey’s Wednesday Night Groove Sessions, a radio DJ at KWVA and an MC of the UO Hip Hop Ensemble: The Illaquips.
Smyth recently released “Com Postables Vol. 2: Soul Food,” an album of beats riddled with samples and other classic Smyth stylings. He described the Com Postables series in a KWVA interview last June, saying “the idea is to clear my hard drive and to compost my beats, if you will. It’s a concept thing where it’s like my throwaway beats but they’re compost so they’re good throwaways — something could grow from it.”
Everyone was let off at the Tactics Boardshop parking lot where Smyth performed a 20-minute rap set from the bike. The sound was powered by a stationary bicycle from Pedal Power Music, operated by event participants.
Arriola and Ingram hope to continue the Mic on the Bike series about once every month or two. With each episode, they will host different sponsors for production, location and products.
For more information, you can check out Mic on the Bike on Instagram at @miconthebike, Smyth at @smythspinitch, and Pacific Pub Cycle at pacificpubcycle.com.