The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Local shop manager lives a car-free lifestyle; Old Sac shop helps the city evolve into a bike-friendly community

Bicycles for sale and rental line the front of the Practical Cycle bike shop Friday, March 31, 2017. The shop rents bikes for use in the area as well as for sale.

Editor’s note:  Former Express editor Maxfield Morris and current photo editor Vanessa Nelson won first place in the state for the article and photos on this page. They teamed up this past weekend at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ state convention in Sacramento to write and photograph a feature story for an on-the-spot contest against other California community college journalism newspaper staffers.

Some people live a carefree life, but Kao Xiong lives car-free instead.

That’s the mission of the Practical Cycle bike shop in Old Sacramento, to let people know they don’t have to rely on private automobiles for transportation. It’s not just idle talk, they really practice what they preach.

Xiong is the manager of the shop, and she’s been commuting, trekking and pedaling without a car for four years. She works to give other people a taste of the Sacramento cycling community.

“Sacramento isn’t so big,” she says. “You can actually bike from one place to the other, the same distance in a shorter amount of time than a car.”

Xiong owns an electric bicycle, and she swears by the impact it has had on her life.

“Since I got the bike, I’ve lost 11 pounds. That’s pretty drastic,” Xiong says. “I find myself enjoying things more. It gives me a reason to go out and do something productive.”

When her sister got divorced and needed a way to travel with her child, Xiong made the decision to part with a dear friend — her Lincoln Mark VIII.

“It’s a V8 engine, 250 horsepower, with the superchip and automatic suspension after you pass 50 mph. Heated seats, dashboard facing you. It was such an amazing car,” Xiong says, wistfully. “My sister didn’t have a car because her husband took sole ownership of it, so I gave my sister the car. I didn’t need it any more. She needed it more for herself and her kid.”

Austin Rimmer, sales associate, bikes to work as long as the weather is friendly. He enjoys the location of the shop.

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A local man, Don Williams, and his small, auburn dog named Chance wander into the store, welcomed by Rimmer. He’s been in the shop before for a few parts, but hasn’t been on his electric bike in a while.

“I have two broken ribs at the moment. I got in a car accident,” Williams explains. “I’d be riding it right now if I were healthy enough.”

As Chance and Williams continue their stroll around town, three Sacramento Police Department officers leisurely bike past the shop: Kelly Bagozzi, Kirby Gusti and Jon Nangle. They’ve been on the bike team together for three months, and patrol Old Sacramento and the downtown area.

The three officers strike up friendly conversation with passers-by, cracking smiles and poking fun at each other. According to Bagozzi, the police department bike team has been around since at least the 1960s, and Sacramento is a good bike town.

Xiong thinks that Sacramento is steadily becoming safer and more friendly to bikers, a goal Practical Cycle has been working to actualize.

“We’re trying to erase carbon footprints. We do charity for the American River Parkway, maintaining it,” Xiong says. “We try to make this area more bike friendly with bike racks and paved roads.”

Cars aren’t a bad thing, according to Xiong, but she wants to encourage people to try bicycling and experience what it’s like out there as a cyclist.

“Five years ago, people weren’t riding bikes. It was socially unacceptable,” she explains. “Experience it for yourself. See what the hardships are, and what the rewards are in biking. I think the perfect world for me is in the world of acceptance of different lifestyles.”

Practical Cycle has been renting out and selling bikes in Old Sacramento for seven years. The shop is located at 114 J St., Sacramento, at the start of the 32-mile-long American River Parkway, and a second location is set to open at the end of the trail in Folsom later this month. For more information, call Practical Cycle at (877) 448-1110 or visit    

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