I remember the day it started
I’m sure every new business goes through it, as you make your way into your market, the questions about why are you here, where did you come from, what are you about?
Why did you start it? Did you see a gap in the market? Do you come from a chemical background, or were you a cyclist?
Pedalit was born out of care. Care of the bike and care of the body, but most importantly, it was born out of care for the mind. Mental health.
I remember the day it started.
Watts on in the Peloton was billed as a fun night of cycling banter from two local respected cycling professionals, Tim Guy and Neil Van der Ploeg. My son Charly and I joined the local cycling fraternity at the Albury Convention Centre. We all sat down to enjoy a night of tales from the inside of the race peloton. It was a great night, and Pedalit was born, not through the stories of sprints and lead outs, climbs and watts, but through sharing the tears of Tim Guy.
Charly had quietly got up from his seat as Tim spoke and made his way to the back of the room. As I joined him after the show, I could see the pain that only an exposed raw nerve could bring. He lived Tim's story, gripping and debilitating fear, darkness and despair.
We knew of Charly's battle with anxiety. There were days he would go to a race and not be able to get out of the car. The training rides where he would phone us from the side of the road in tears, needing to be picked up, as his illness wouldn't let him turn another pedal. The races he would start, then without reason not finish, although desperate to cover it up with grimaces and stories, that would give the non-finish some credibility. It hurt him to fall short of perceived expectations. His frustration was painful for all of us.
Anxiety is homeless, and those that suffer try to find it a home, because if they can find it a home, they believe within the home they can find a cause. Surely if they can find where the hurt comes from, then they can work on making the anxiety go away. The place it usually ends up living is the place you love the most, your relationships, your work, your passions. If you have a fear, it will attach itself to it. Charly’s anxiety found a home in his cycling. The very thing that has been his greatest escape and passion, became something he grew to fear. It is the illness of self-prophecy if allowed to run unchecked.
In time, Tim’s story would give Charly the confidence to open up about his own struggles, and share.
The bike is not important, but being a bike rider is everything. Community matters. The cycling community is one I am very proud to be a member of.
None of us are perfect, but within our communities we feel the pressure to present our best self to be accepted, embraced and loved. For many, our imperfections erode our confidence and create fear, so we hide our true self.
That night, although difficult, Charly took courage from Tim’s story, and let his real self join the community.
For stories to be properly told, people must listen. The Albury cycling community are great listeners. No one has tried to cure Charly. Everyone has taken the time to get to know the real Charly, and embrace who he is.
Charly was voted President of the Albury Wodonga Cycling Club in 2017.
On the first day of Pedalit, two important people were present, Charly and Tim Guy. It was never about building empires or corporations, or world domination. It is about care. If we took the care to build a great range, took care of our customers and respected everyone who touched it, then the business would take care of us. The return we wanted from Pedalit was not financial. The true return was being a part of the cycling community, building confidence, a sense of place for Charly, and sharing our collective stories. Tim and Charly have grown by sharing and listening to stories, and we decided that showing our true self was as important as any other part of our business.
Our motivation to be an Albury based business was always about people, not place. Community.