For about 16 years, Keith Deutsch’s father ran Ron’s Cycle Shop, LLC out of a shop on the family’s fourth generation farm in Helena Township.
Now, Keith is working in the same shop, this time running the business as a sporting goods showroom selling electric-assisted, two-wheel patrol vehicles primarily to government entities.
The business is located on the family farm, which Deutsch said he wants to continue to use for its maximum potential.
“I want to steward this land into the next generation,” Deutsch said.
Asked if he ever planned on reopening the shop one day, the simple answer was “no.”
“I don’t know if I ever planned on revitalizing the business,” Deutsch said.
A disabled combat veteran of the Army who lost his right leg during the Iraq War, Deutsch wrote a book about his life in 2018 called Born STUBborn, including his work to become a national champion in adaptive snowboarding. It led him to doing book and speaking tours.
It all stopped when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, canceling all his planned events in one day.
Deutsch decided to pivot, beginning to do repairs out of his father’s shop after moving back to Minnesota.
With a laugh, Deutsch said he quickly realized he wasn’t as good at repairs as his father and decided to pivot once again, this time getting into retail sales. While he wanted to originally sell motorcycles, he realized the licensing was much more difficult to obtain. Instead, it became a sporting goods business.
“I plan to sell fleets of electric (mountain bikes) to municipalities and any organization represented by an acronym,” Deutsch wrote in his application to the county.
In 2022, his business officially became incorporated, and he signed his first contract with the state to provide e-bikes earlier this year.
Deutsch said he envisions being able to sell patrol vehicles to any entity that uses two-wheeled patrol vehicles. Instead of using gas-combustible vehicles, he is selling electric ones.
“I don’t see much of a future in gas-powered anything,” Deutsch said. “So Ron’s Cycle Shop will start licensed as a sporting goods store in order to offer electric-assisted, two-wheel patrol vehicles to agency-level organizations.”
While he will be selling e-bikes made by Rambo and QuietKat, Deutsch said he hopes to make his own one day.
“My 10-year plan is absolutely to start producing my own bike,” Deutsch said.
He explained how the only original part on the bikes is the frame itself.
“It would not take too much product development to do it myself,” Deutsch said.
Deutsch said he is also enrolling in the United Bicycle Institute this fall and when he receives his certificates, he plans to open back up for service.
Looking ahead, Deutsch said New Prague, north of his family’s farm, has plans to build a bike path behind his back 40 acres. In anticipation of it, he is going to build a challenge course for biking adjacent to where the path is expected to be.
Someday, Deutsch expects his property will be incorporated with the city, and may end up selling. But until then, he is looking forward to continuing his business on the family farm, as long as he can.