“Practical Cycle is a Transportation Company” – how is that for a bike shop description?! The Mechanic and I spent some time in this bike shop in Old Sacramento while we were in California last month, and were so impressed with the staff, the inventory, and their mission to “make cycling more practical for everyday people.” I had to make sure I shared Practical Cycle with as many people as I could! I hope that more bike shops will become more focused on the everyday cycling, rather than just on racing and sport cycling.
For starters, the shop rents bicycles. Electric bicycles. It rents electric bicycles! And if I remember correctly, there was even a cargo bike that was rentable! I wish there was a rentable cargo bike near me, I’d definitely test this out! Of course, they also sell them, several different brands, including Nihola, a cargo tricycle that The Mechanic loved because they have independent steering – the two front wheels move independently, the way wheels on a car does. And the cargo box doesn’t move with the wheels, which makes it more steady, a feature I like. Practical Cycle is apparently the only shop in the US to carry these bikes. They also carry a great selection of ebikes, tricycles, e-tricycles, and townie/commuter bikes. We each found several we would have loved to add to our stable.
We chatted a bit with Tim Castleman, one of the bike shop owners, and were impressed to hear (among other things) that the Sacramento Kidical Mass has had about 50-75 participants on recent weekends. We mentioned the new green lanes that we had seen on our walk over to Old Sac, to which Tim said, “If only they had put them where they are really needed.” Isn’t that the way it always goes?!
We did see people using this lane, however, many people, and most of them were helmet-less, front-basket bike, casually-dressed women and men of all ages, which naturally made me very happy. That’s the sign of a healthy bicycle culture. Midtown Sacramento has definitely become more bike-friendly, as I discovered last year, and I even heard a rumor through a local friend that a bike share system is in the works. When The Mechanic and I were closer to Tower Bridge in Old Sac, all the people on bicycles morphed into Lycra and hi-viz clad bike commuters, clearly headed over the bridge and off onto long treks home into West Sac. There will always be those hearty long-distance commuters – just as long as they aren’t the only ones on bikes.
The Mechanic and I really wanted to buy something from Practical Cycle in support, but the only thing we could easily get home in our suitcases (and afford, and fit into our apartment) was the tee-shirt I bought. The electric bike themed shirt, Tim told me, was designed by a local artist. Sold! Yet another way to support local businesses. However, the store had a great selection of bike baskets, Basil bag panniers, cup holders, fenders, lights, bud vases (sooo tempted), and other really great accessories.
A bike shop that focuses on transportation cycling – what a dream! I would love to see more stores like this. But until I see more, I would like to encourage everyone who can to support Practical Cycle now, to make sure it stays open, and fulfills its mission. Get thee to Practical Cycle, and support transportation cycling!