Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grab a Bike, See the City

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grab a Bike, See the City

Article excerpt

For a guy who describes himself as a "casual bike person," Tom Demagall has a whole lot of bikes.

About 200, in fact.

The 37-year-old Aspinwall man, a guitarist and former salesman, is the co-owner of Golden Triangle Bike Rental, along with his wife, Britt Keefer.

The bike rental's Downtown location opened for the season Sunday, marking the sixth year that Mr. Demagall and his wife have run the shop.

The small, one-story building that houses Golden Triangle Bike Rental is nestled between the First Avenue T-Station and the PNC Firstside Center. A yellow "Bike Here" sign posted on the Wabash Bridge makes it easy to see the building from the Parkway East, but it's difficult to see from First Avenue.

It's an oft-overlooked part of Downtown, but Mr. Demagall happened to be in the neighborhood with his band one night a few years ago.

He saw the building's "for sale" sign and thought it could make a good practice space for his music. But when he called the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, he said he was told they wanted someone to run the building as a bike rental shop, as it had been in the past.

Mr. Demagall, who had been working in sales for FedEx, decided he would be that person.

"I had always wanted to own my own business, and it was a fairly low-risk business to get into," he said.

Although he had some experience with bicycle maintenance and BMX biking, he had never been a big biker, but he decided to learn.

As he got the shop ready before it opened on a recent morning, he joked that over the past six years, he's put as much time into learning about bikes and how to run a business as medical students put into learning how to become physicians and law students put into becoming lawyers.

He still puts in an 80-hour week during biking season, and 20-30 hours a week during the offseason.

"It's a constant struggle, and it's constant work, but when you have some things happen that are good, it's an addiction," he said.

And there have been good things that have happened. …

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