I saddled up a bike when I was 8 years old and I was fascinated by everything that had two wheels and a bike chain. I inherit this passion from my father, who was himself very into bicycles. I competed in a semi-professional level until 23 years old, I actually was part of the Italian national team on track in 1989, but during that time I ended up understanding that my dream was not being a professional cyclist anymore. It required too much sacrifice for a twenty years old boy: trainings, diet, early wake up. I might have the right mind now, but not enough fuel!
My second dream has always been opening a bike store that was only mine, with my name written in the front sign.
I’ve never been into school and for this reason I quit right after secondary school. I must admit that this is my biggest regret because I’m constantly surrounded by such an amount of culture and I don’t feel up to it, but I can’t blame myself as I was very focused on my bike, on sport and nothing else interested me!
In 1994 I was offered a job from a very big bike store in my hometown, and after a long reflexion I decided to leave my cyclist life and I jumped into the workplace.
From that moment on, I understood that it was my world and in a very short period I started taking care of everything: workshop, from the very classical women bike to the professional bike, selling, making orders ecc…. Anyway, working on the super bikes was the most satisfying to me, I profoundly committed on it, I was such an hard worker! I had clients looking especially for me, also from the outside of the country, to make their bikes fixed by me. So amazing!!
“La passione per i pedali non mi ha mai abbandonato. Nel 2001 si è trasformata nel Baldoni Bike Shop.”
For lunch time, instead of going home, I used to meet an amateurs team mechanical to learn the most secret tricks of the trade, to open my horizons regarding bike world, and to practice all of it into my job. If only I had been more passionate for school!
One day, among these clients, a certain Lorenzo Cherubini came to me. He was a super biker, we immediately got along, we had the same passions and we ended up being friends. I used to prepare his bike before his adventures, for example when he went to Patagonia, a wonderful solo-trip with numerous troubles, from the weather to the bike. I remember that he accidentally broke the frame and we tried to fix it on the phone, with me giving him instructions from Italy.
He has this natural talent in overcoming the difficulties, he has such an amazing strength to reach his goals!
One day he came to me and said: “Let’s go to Pakistan! Let’s do the karakoram highway, the most high way of the world, 4980 meters, on the borders with China.”.
I could not believe it, I wasn’t used to travel, except from the trips that I made for cycling, and without a second thinking I answered yes. I took care of the bikes and he made a program with the steps. I got in touch with a Milanese builder to create a steel bike frame with comfortable geometries for travel and, aware of the previous difficulties, we looked for resistant pipes and special welding, as well as reliable components and super bike bags.
We were ready to go!
We did 1300 kilometres in ten days and we cycled until almost 5000 meters high. We went through some traumatic but wonderful experiences, Lorenzo gives me the security of a parent and makes me feel at ease in every type of difficulty.
The bikes didn’t cause us any problem, and I checked them every day, twice.
We went through a lot: from having a sweep when we were almost naked, to make us throw stones from some kids who wanted to play, or running away from some dogs which were chasing us. I may tell you readers about it another time!
Anyway, I came home from Pakistan as a different person, I was grown up and my desire to emerge was highly increased. I bought a computer, I started going on the net and I considered that idea of seeing my name on that wall sign. I talked to my parents who saw my HUNGER (Jova) and told me “Gus, you have to do it”.
Within two months, I bought a tiny shop in Forlì and I arranged it myself: I was a painter and a decorator with the help of a friend of mine who is blacksmith. Moreover, my friend Naphta designed me a futuristic front sign which I absolutely love! We ended up creating a little store, different from every other in town, made by a lot of sacrifices and passion. You can immediately feel the energy when you step into the front door.
The store hadn’t been open yet, that the clients were already knocking on the door to make their bikes fixed by me, to buy a new one, or simply to get an advice from me.
I’m telling you the bright sight of the story, but I must admit that opening a store was such an hard decision. I had to make loans from the bank to start the business, each month there were receipts to be paid, also in winter when the flow of people is lower.
At the end of it, we need to believe in what we do, we cannot surrender in front of the first difficulties but we need to insist until we get it, until we reach our goals. Believing in ourselves is necessary to succeed, as well as being satisfied about what we do every day.
Today, I’m 48 years old, I have a store, a stock and eight employees. I have such a lot of energy, we sell bikes and accessories all around the world, we are updated with every news in this field. Whenever I can, I saddle up my bike, I enjoy myself in struggling and this generates me a million positive inputs. I could never stop doing it, It’s part of me!
RAGAZZI CREDETECI CON TUTTE LE VOSTRE FORZE!!!