Cars, schmars... but there's one thing your bike just can't replace—that feeling of cruising down the road with your favorite music on full blast. Well, say hello to Brian Sysfail. He's built, by his own count, at least eight bike sound systems, including ones for mini-bike dance crew the Sprockettes.
DO use the resources at hand. The simplest sound system is just a boombox strapped to your rack. "We started with a boombox. Then I dumpstered a car stereo amp, and have spent the last five years making better mobile systems," says Sysfail.
DO go to the next level, once you're ready. Your sound system needs a few pieces: a music source, an amp, a battery, and a speaker. Plug your music source (like an iPod) into the amp. Connect your amp to the battery (big systems use a car battery) and hook up one channel of the amp to the speaker. Sysfail says to start out with car stereo equipment or Class D mini-amps and 6 ½ inch speakers. "I recommend sticking with normal circular speakers." Put this whole contraption into a bike trailer.
DON'T drown out other riders. "It's more an issue with having multiple sound systems playing different stuff that can suck," Sysfail says. If you're up for a giant challenge, you can sync up multiple sound systems by installing an FM transmitter on one and tuning the rest to the appropriate radio channel.
DON'T forget about safety. "There are issues with the bigger ones running off car batteries for sure," Sysfail says. "At Mini Bike Winter, somebody threw their purse in my trailer without a care, and the purse burst into flames. Luckily I had an extra wire handy so the party could continue."
DON'T think that all the best cruising songs are about cars. For every Golden Earring's "Radar Love," there's Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle." For every "Don't Worry, Baby" by the Beach Boys, there's "Tour de France" by Kraftwerk. Not to mention "Bike" from Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, or Queen's "Bicycle Race"—the list goes on and on.