Practical Cycle is a dream come true!
My dad, Tim Castleman, dreamed of opening a bike shop for many years. He imagined a place where ordinary people could find practical bikes that they could use in their everyday lives.
Whenever he would start daydreaming I would literally roll my eyes. "Not this crazy idea again," I would think to myself, and frankly I didn't believe it would ever bear fruit. In fact, neither one of us could have predicted that Practical Cycle would become what it is today.
If you would have asked us to write down our wildest fantasies we would have sold ourselves short.
So here's our story:
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. It's really taken on a life of it's own.
Today, we're in our seventh year, business is booming, and we are an award winning Pedego dealer for 6 years and counting (fingers crossed)! We're consistently exceeding all of our goals by large margins. 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!