Alex Gilbeaux for NPR
Growing up in rural Northern California, Mike Radenbaugh hated biking to high school—it was a 16 mile slog; hilly and tiring. So he scrounged up a battery and a motor, rigged them to an old mountain bike and began cycling to school without breaking a sweat.
When Mike’s neighbors starting asking him to motorize their bikes, Rad Power Bikes was born. He eventually designed an eye-catching e-bike with fat tires and a throttle that could push any pedaler to 20mph.
Today, Rad Power Bikes is the largest e-bike brand in the U.S., and has barely been able to keep up with demand since the pandemic began.