A Free2Go Story
I had my first interaction with Smart Car while living in Austin, Texas in 2004 during a promotional event at a local bookstore. Afterwards, I thought the Smart Car had great potential to become a permanent fixture on urban roadways. In 2009, the car sharing service known as Car2Go came to Austin and I became a member. I had become an avid cyclist by that time and came upon the situation where I needed to get somewhere faster than my bike could take me. The problem, however, was that a SmartCar is simply not made to hold a full-size bicycle and I did not want to buy a collapsible bike or attempt to cram my bike into the back. I knew there had to be a better solution.
In 2011, a startup project I was working on was cancelled. I was temporarily out of work and still no closer to figuring out a way to fit my bike in a Smart Car so I decided to create a solution. I quickly latched on to the idea of creating a bike rack that allowed a bicyclist to easily carry, install, and uninstall it as needed. At the time, Apple had created the MacBook Air and they advertised how light and useful it was. I looked it up, and the Mac Book Air weighed 2.4 pounds. That became my target. If I could create a solution for a bicyclist to put his or her bike on a Smart Car in a simple and reliable way and make it lightweight, then maybe others would find it useful as well.
I worked with a team of designers to create what came to be known as the Free2Go bike rack. When it came time to select a manufacturer, my wish for a USA-made product was fulfilled in the form of 2 brothers from Kent, Ohio. Together with them and the help of a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, the first Free2Go units shipped out in May of 2014.
In 2016 we bought a 2011 Mini-Cooper Countryman S. It possessed two rear bumper ports similar to the Smart. We commenced an effort that same year to create support for Mini-Cooper and BMW models which completed in late 2017. The Mini/BMW model was offered for sale in early 2018. We are actively investigating how to extend support for more Mini-Cooper/BMWs, as well as, seeking international partners for distribution to Europe/Asia.
My Uncle Al, a wonderful Italian man and “solopreneur” himself, always told me that success in life is about the experiences you have, the knowledge you gain, and the people you meet along the way. Every time we put a stamp on a Free2Go shipment, a part of us goes with it. This journey has brought me many new friends, unexpected experiences, and wealth that I don’t count in dollars. We are proud to have shipped Free2Go to 45 countries through 2020.