Hobart’s People Powered Bus

In 1987, Calistoga water hired the artist Duane Flatmo to paint a mural for their offices. While he was painting, he talked about the Kinetic Sculpture Race, and urged the Calistoga folks to attend, and see for themselves what a crazy event it had become. His enthusiasm for the race was contagious, and before long, Calistoga was sponsoring the race.

Hobart Brown and Bob Iorg had built the “People Powered Bus” during the Coors and George Killian’s sponsorship years, so folks fueled by free beer pushed and pulled the machine over the 3-day course. It was fun, but not the kind of human-powered machine that Hobart and Bob had envisioned.

Hobart and Bob tried to install pedals, chains and sprockets which would power the “Bus.” The first year the Bus crossed the starting line under its own power, everyone was surprised. The fact that it threw chains long before it reached the sand was inconsequential, and the moment went down in history.