Local Rep Dan Kalb picked RTB in Oakland’s Small Business Week. 8 of us biked to Oakland City Hall where we were recognized in the chamber of the City Council. It helped that we were heading to a Warriors game later that eve!
First sale of a sLEDgehammer to an energy campaign. Working with Ample Hills Creamery, the “Ice Cream Bike” is invented.
Musician Gabe Dominguez rolls into the shop looking for an ultraportable sound system to do SHAKE YOUR PEACE! shows in beautiful natural locations. After a quick and dirty build, the show happens at Provo Canyon in Utah, and includes the famed Pink Unitard moment. An ultracapacitor inside Gabe’s speaker fizzles and smokes when a well meaning strong adult cyclist wearing a pink unitard overpedals it. Aha! Ultracapacitors need a protection circuit and pedalers need an indicator to show them how hard to pedal. These two features become the core functionality of the Pedal Power Utility Box.
Not a product orservice offered by Rock The Bike, but a sign of the staff’s irrepressible desire to develop methods of Low Carbon Fun.
Increase in local Health Fairs allows for a team of ‘giggers’, who often travel by bike to companies such as Facebook and Google to entertain and serve bike blended smoothies at Health Fairs.
Pedal Powered concert at PedalFest in Jack London Square. Family friendly event raises funds for Bike East Bay, largest bike advocacy group in the Bay Area. Fastforwarding, Rock The Bike has done 9 straight PedalFests!
Paul takes the reins of Xtracycle’s nonprofit arm, later dubbed “Worldbike,” which has a shared office space in Berkeley CA along with Bike East Bay, Pedal Express, Byerley Bicycle Blenders and the Tinkers Workshop. Leif, a mechanical engineering student, volunteers for Worldbike and works with Paul on fixture design for a long tail cargo bicycle.
Paul loses his .com job, decides to join cargo bike upstart Xtracycle on a school bus promo tour of the West, in which the Xtracycle crew deploy their ‘Salsa Cycle’ to enable musical rides in adventure sports towns. It’s Paul’s second taste of social biking and enough to get his creative juices flowing. Before long Paul creates his own custom ‘Soul Cycle’ with which to lead social rides back in SF, complete with new features: control switches on the handlebar, speaker backlighting and neon blue ground effects lighting.
With Rock The Bike a distant gleam in his eye, Paul Freedman is 16 years old working summers at Belmont Wheelworks when he gets his first taste of a social bike ride, rolling with co-workers to an after work friendly mountain bike race. When ‘Buddy Bob’, the manager of the Wheelworks’ Somerville store, shows up on a stretched out recumbent bike with music speakers bumpin’ and a keg in tow, the whole vibe changes from agro to groovy.
Riding through the Mission District in San Francisco one night, Paul gets stopped about the neon blue ground effects lights on his cargo bike, and it leads to the first sale of the Down Low Glow. It’s the invitation needed to call this Social Biking passion a business: “Fossil Fool”. In the following years, Fossil Fool and then Rock The Bike sell nearly 3000 Down Low Glow lighting kits until pulling the product from the market in 2009 for battery safety concerns. It was a hit amongst bike commuters looking for extra respect on the roads. The product was picked up in major blogs such as WIRED, Gizmodo, and TreeHugger.
Customer Ryan Carpenter survives the Shark Tank with his bike blended smoothie business Moberi. While the Sharks decided not to invest in Moberi, Carpenter garnered their praise for his idea and also nailed a great publicity opportunity. Mark Cuban refers to Rock The Bike (not by name) while saying “if you were the one making that bike I’d invest.”
In 2008 we bought the bike blender business from its inventor Nate Byerley. It became our #1 product. We’ve learned a lot from bike blending and it has pushed our company to a different industry. While we may have been in the bike business before, we’re now in the events and promotions field. We create event activities that can be used to engage people and promote a message, whether it be a health campaign, educational goal, or a brand.