Sarah Walor photo
Ed Edge is not your typical businessman. He lost $17,500 last year with his custom-made-bicycle company, Christ Cycles ( 3201 W. Franklin St., 787-4340 ), and in 2011 he hopes to lose even more. "We sell bikes either at cost or cheaper than it costs to make them," the tattooed, skinny-jeans-wearing 24-year-old says of the company he founded in 2008. "We couldn't care less about profit."
Edge, who drops Bible verses into everyday conversation and carries a teal messenger bag with "JESUS" painted in bold red letters across the front, says that while his Christian faith fuels his personal motivation behind the company, he does not intend to proselytize to customers. "We're trying to show Christ's love, rather than tell people about it."
Edge says the driving mission behind the business is to get as many people on bikes as possible — and he's willing to make big sacrifices to meet that goal. Edge works at least 72 hours per week as a paramedic; he estimates that after he pays his rent, 85 percent of his paycheck goes to the bike company. "I'm probably the worst businessman in the world," he says with a laugh.
The company, which has eight employees, sells single-speed and fixed-gear bikes for $299. The majority of the bikes are shipped to the West Coast and Canada, and Edge says they use that revenue to support their main focus — community outreach.
Recently, Christ Cycles teamed with Richmond Cycling Corps, a nondenominational, nonprofit pro-cycling team, to provide bikes at half the standard retail price for an after-school program aimed at getting inner-city kids more active. "The Boys and Girls Club supplied the kids, we supplied the bikes, and Richmond Cycling Corps supplied the professionals," Edge says. "It was a massive success."
Edge says he is optimistic about the future of the company. "Eventually, if we get huge, we won't be so in debt," he says. "But right now, we just want to get more people on bikes."