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Located on one of those hills in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, Brett Thurber and Karen Wiener’s The New Wheel is a new kind of shop for the 21st century.
The steep hills of San Francisco, CA, practically call out for e-bikes. Located on one of those hills in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, Brett Thurber and Karen Wiener’s The New Wheel is a new kind of shop for the 21st century – one that aims to introduce customers to a transformative mode of transportation.
From humble beginnings using Thurber’s homemade trailer to haul e-bikes to farmers’ markets, The New Wheel grew organically into a lifestyle shop that offers enticing alternatives to car-centric urban life. The interior of the shop combines the natural aesthetic of old, wooden floors with stylish, modern offerings including a range of Brooks England products, high-powered e-bikes, and waterproof gear. Simple shelving speaks to craftsmanship as well as the recycled, wooden slab that acts as a tool bench.
In these surroundings, The New Wheel’s focus is clearly on quality, durability, and sustainability. In addition to bicycling products, The New Wheel offers durable and well designed goods such as high-quality pens, notebooks, guidebooks, maps, and homemade rye bread baked by Wiener’s mother. The wide selection on display is “meant to capture the imagination and show that one can live differently, without a car,” explained Wiener.
At The New Wheel, the idea is to make bicycles, specifically e-bikes, accessible to as many people as possible. “Our customer base is about fifty/ fifty [women and men], which I think is pretty unique,” said Thurber. Knowing that experiencing a bike is vital in the buying process, shop employees will take customers out on a test ride, selecting a route that demonstrates the benefits of an electric boost while also providing panoramic views of the city. “People want to see if the bikes are as good as we say they are,” said Thurber, so having a guide on an initial ride helps with the learning curve of handling an e-bike and makes for a great, first experience.
From the first ride and on every visit after, The New Wheel team prides themselves on the relationships they build with their customers. For e-bike customers, the shop offers service memberships, “partnerships” as Thurber prefers to call them. These partnerships are meant to encourage routine maintenance by including unlimited tune-ups, free warranty, and flat repair. The comprehensive membership includes a thorough tuneup for each year that the member signs on.
While the primary focus is on e-bikes, The New Wheel is also a full service shop. With some advance notice, most bikes can be fixed or completely tuned up within three days. And, since most of the shop’s customers use their bikes as their main mode of transportation, The New Wheel will lend customers a bike during repairs that take over three hours.
Coining themselves “the optimistic bike shop,” Thurber, Wiener, and the team at The New Wheel are dedicated to their vision where an e-bike is an appealing choice for city living. For them, this means setting an example of how best to use this innovative technology and working collaboratively with customers to help bring their sustainable aspirations to life.
ADDRESS 420 Cortland Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94110
BIKES BY BH Easy Emotion, Early Rider, FOCUS Bikes, Kalkhoff, OHM Cycles, SOMA Fabrications, Xtracycle
ACCESSORIES & APPAREL FROM ABUS, BionX, Brooks England, Burley, Crane Bell Co., crankbrothers, Cygolite, Fjällräven, Gamoh, Garmin, ILE, Knog, Krebs Cycle Products, Linus, Ortlieb, Rufus Guides, SAHN Helmets, Selle Royal, Sunlite, Topeak, Tubus, Wheelylift