– Please give our readers an introduction to your business
Practical Cycle is different than most bike shops- it’s more of a transportation company. We believe that bikes are a viable transportation option that is more fun, healthy, affordable, and green than automobiles.
Our mission is to make cycling more Practical for everyday people. Our motto is “No Spandex? No Funny Shoes? No Problem!” We don’t mean to offend anyone by this, and of course spandex-clad, hardcore bike racers are still welcome in our store. The point is that you don’t need to be an athlete to shop here, and that bikes are so much more than just toys for fitness and recreation.
– How did you initially become involved in your industry?
The story of Practical Cycle is one of idealism, dedication, and hard work. My son, Cassidy, helped me get the business off the ground. He has a way with words, and wrote the below story of our business;
Once upon a time, Tim bought a beaten up old tricycle at a garage sale for $5. After fixing it up, he slapped a sticker on it that said “ONE LESS SUV” and started using it to run errands and haul all kinds of stuff around town. Then, on a fateful bike ride downtown, Tim was “doored” by a valet parking attendant. He broke his shoulder pretty bad, and ended up with all sorts of plates and screws holding him together. Ironically, Practical Cycle would eventually be funded in part by the settlement from that accident. Talk about poetic justice!
In 2009, he received proton beam therapy for prostate cancer. His membership in the Brotherhood of the Balloon (don’t ask!) inspired him to use the gift of life he had been given to make a difference in the world. In early 2010, he discovered Pedego Electric Bikes, and founder Don DiCostanzo talked him into investing in the minimum three bikes to become a dealer. He took delivery of those first three bikes in his garage, and I haven’t seen my dad on a non-electric bike since that day. The final piece of the puzzle was finding the right location. Tim fell in love with a gold-rush era building in historic Old Sacramento right next to the bike trail. It was perfect!
When the realtor proposed a totally unacceptable lease, the owner of the building, Bill Beale, agreed to meet with my dad personally. After reviewing his business plan and seeing the sparkle in his eyes, Bill believed in him and decided to give him a chance. “You write the lease,” Bill said, and Practical Cycle was born. Everyday since has been an exciting adventure. We’ve made a lot of sacrifices and worked very hard. For the first two years, Tim worked 50-60 hours a week without a paycheck. After dropping out of school and quitting my job, I fixed up a tiny apartment in the back of the store and slept in a sleeping bag for over a year.
We made a deal with a local bakery delivery driver to bring us a loaf of sourdough every morning and that’s what we ate for lunch in those early days!
It’s also been a ton of fun! We’ve met scores of amazing people and made more friends than we can possibly count. We’ve enjoyed some wonderful experiences and made lots of unforgettable memories.
Naturally, my dad and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, but our father/son bond is stronger than ever. We’ve both learned and grown so much! More than anything, we’ve had a tremendous amount of help along the way-sometimes from the most unexpected places. We would have accomplished very little alone. We are deeply grateful and humbled by what Practical Cycle has become.
Most importantly, we believe we’re making a positive, meaningful difference in the lives of our customers and the world as a whole. My dad and I both feel like we’re part of something much greater than ourselves, and that’s what it’s all about!
– What three pieces of advice would you give to young business owners?
When starting your business, start with enough money to last a year without taking a salary. Any new business owner needs to make sure to have enough capital to get through that first year, while working for free. Also, it’s essential to have a written business plan for the first five years.
– Is there anything you wish you’d have known before getting started?
I wish I would have known how difficult it would be to find productive staff. Hiring has always been one of the hardest parts about running our business.
– What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful small business owner?
The top three skills to be successful in business are hard work, risk, and hard work, mixed in with a bit of luck!
Visit the website : https://www.practicalcycle.com/