Around the same time Chris
discovered electric bikes online and
found them so fascinating that he
ended up building his own. Since this
got him back on a bike for the first
time since his injury, he was inspired.
He set up a very unusual bike shop; it
was on the second floor of an industrial
building, a “showroom” as he called it.
He immediately had an online presence,
but if customers wanted to come to the
showroom, it was by appointment only.
His knowledge of selling, both retail
and online, served him very well. In his
first year he had $50,000 in sales. A
year later he moved to a larger space
down the hall and he did $150,000 in
sales. By 2013 he was doing $350,000
a year in sales and moved to a small
warehouse. But that wasn’t his dream.
The dream was to have a real bike shop
in the city.
Riding down Flushing Avenue in
Brooklyn one Sunday on the bike path,
he passed by the Brooklyn Navy Yard,
which was being transformed into
office buildings and the area was being
gentrified. He felt at home here and
saw a for-lease sign on a building that
looked about right. All it took was one
phone call to the listing agent and Chris
had his shop!
By the time Propel Electric Bikes
opened in June of 2015, Chris’ e-bike
business had hit $1 million in sales.
Things were looking great! However,
in December of that year, the police
department came in and cited him
$25,000 for selling electric bikes in the
city. He had well researched it and
knew the law, which clearly stated that
electric bikes with throttles are explicitly
against the law but pedal-assist-only
bikes are not. As it turned out, all of the
bikes Chris carried were pedal assist