Over the past six years, RtB’s gear has powered events large and small, from San Francisco to Barcelona—including the stage in Energy Park at the Oregon Country Fair and the annual San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival, which the company cofounded in 2007 as a platform for promoting its pedal power message.
A longtime admirer of street musicians and performers, Freedman succeeded in his mission to turn bikes into moving stages. The festival plays at multiple stops throughout the city, with a caravan of bikes transporting all of the equipment from each stop. Artists and bands perform while rolling down the city streets with microphones and amplifiers mounted on the backs of cargo bikes and bike trailers. The sound is wirelessly routed to “party” bikes interspersed throughout the crowd.
Freedman says the company sells about 35 pedal-powered units a month—all shipped from its Berkeley workshop. The event and rental side of the business continues to pick up speed, attracting big-name clients like Facebook, who recently hired RtB to power music and bike blender stations for the grand opening of the company’s commuter bike shop at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters.
Freedman is committed to inspiring people to ride their bikes. “I want people to get on one of our bikes, pedal and keep pedaling until something whimsical, musical, delicious happens,” he says. “I want them to get excited about pedaling, and be inspired to ride their bikes more and drive their cars less.”
Freedman designs and builds all the products in his workshop, outsourcing only what is necessary to other area businesses. As much as possible, he uses components that are manufactured in the United States. To make pedal power more affordable and keep the company’s shipping impact down, Freedman developed a custom conversion kit (starting at about $600, depending on the intended use) that will turn virtually any bike into a pedal-powered generator. The kit features a custom wheel equipped with a hub generator that can be installed by the customer with a few tools.
To see RtB in motion, go to: bit.ly/RocktheBike.