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A New Family Bike Shop Wheels Into Town

How many times have you suggested taking the kids out for a bike ride only to have it turn into an uphill battle? By the time you’re finished wrestling to put their helmets on and getting them to sit still long enough to check their tire pressure, you’ve had your fill of fun. Thankfully, Bay Area parents can breathe a sigh of relief as the newest kid-friendly bike shop rolls onto Cortland Avenue. The New Wheel is the neighborhood’s newest one-stop bike shop that offers full repair service, cycling accessories and soft goods, and a powerful fleet of electric bikes.

Owners Karen Wiener and Brett Thurber have embraced the “Maternal Heights” clientele with a barrage of bikes and cycling accessories that are perfect for the cycling family–from Burley Trailers to tow your little ones, to kid-sized helmets and backpacks. Established with an attitude that “anyone can do it,” The New Wheel welcomes people who use their bikes as their main form of transportation. Whether you commute, shop for groceries, take the kiddos to school, or just go out to enjoy the outdoors, The New Wheel is for anyone who considers themselves a cyclist.

So what about these electric bikes?

While electric bikes are a widely popular choice of transportation throughout several European countries, their popularity in the United States is limited but growing strong. These bikes rely on a battery-charged motor to provide up to 300% pedal assistance when riding your bike. This means that even though you’re still pedaling, the motor pushes you along silently with ease. Just think–no more getting to work with that morning commute sweat. Even more impressive are how these bikes tackle even San Francisco’s toughest hills–allowing you to take routes not normally taken by cyclists due to the elevation.

The New Wheel stocks several brands of electric bikes and pedal assist systems that cater to different cyclist needs: BH, Kalkhoff, and Kettler, and OHM. All of these systems cost pennies to recharge and can last for hours. For cyclists who want to retro fit their old mountain bikes, Bionix offers several kits that transform those old clunkers into speedy street machines. These systems are great for parents with kids and commuters, allowing you to turn your bike electric without having to purchase a whole new bike.

Brett and Karen know that electric bikes aren’t for everyone and commuting by bicycle isn’t always an easy commitment to make. These bikes can be heavy and somewhat difficult to navigate at lower speeds, but their utility greatly surpasses the bike weight. Electric bikes are super easy to operate; with a touch of a button you’ll be flying down the road free from the stress of driving (and fighting for a parking spot!). Plus, electric bikes are 100% clean energy, produce no emissions, and they even regenerate some of their own power when you apply the brakes–how’s that for environmentally friendly?

And kids love them too! What kid doesn’t enjoy the feeling of cruising through the city with the sun on their face? And because kids go bonkers for pretty much anything with wheels, you can be sure they’ll be begging you to take them out for another bike ride again soon.

All bicycle purchases also come with a 1 year membership to City Car Share.

And while these pedal assist systems don’t come cheap (prices range from $1700 – $4400), The New Wheel offers affordable and easy payment plans with no interest financing for 12 months. Take the money you would have spent on gym memberships and Clipper Cards and put that towards your new bike. That way, when the sun comes out, you’ll have no excuse to not get out and enjoy the city!

The New Wheel
420 Cortland Avenue
San Francisco
Hours: 11:00am-7:00pm Everyday
Online: www.newwheel.net

– Scott Wardell (he took the photos too!)

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