End of a ride…

After 11 years of chasing a dream to transform Philly’s transportation landscape, we’ve decided to close Philly Electric Wheels.

empty boxes, empty walls

When COVID-19 came to Philly in mid-March, many of us stayed home. This included all of us at Philly Electric Wheels. Afshin fielded phone calls, setup barricades so no customers entered our shop, learned about contactless transactions, and tried to catch up with springtime repair queue.

Six weeks later, he was exhausted running a one-man shop, and the virus found him in early May. The phones, texts and emails were non-stop, and Meenal eventually found a friend, Zachary, to help out. We took turns going to the shop at different hours and eventually caught up with the repairs.

In early June, we decided to open up again when Afshin felt well enough.

Now we found that warehouses had run out of bikes, even bike parts like tubes and tires. Orders placed took much longer to reach us, likely because everyone in the country had been shopping from home, overloading all our delivery workers. We’ve been getting items we never asked for, and waiting weeks longer for the parts we did order, and unable to keep to the dates promised to our customers.

With our supply chain falling apart, we found ourselves wondering… We can’t sell bikes, we can’t repair bikes, we can’t let people into our shop… so why are we paying rent for a retail space?

empty shelves

So by July, we stopped accepting bikes brought in for tuneups, began selling anything that rolled, and emptying out our showroom. We’ve been at our Sprague Street address for almost 8 years and had never given a thought to moving out; there’s so much squirreled away. We also realized that Afshin is in his 60s and maybe it’s time to think about retirement, and slow down a bit. Being a retailer has meant that we haven’t really taken any time off in the past 11 years.

The few bikes we do have are listed on our Products page; you’ll see we have just one electric bike and a handful of folding bikes. You can help us out by buying these so we don’t need to put them in storage!

During August, we’re thinking of fitting out a van for use as a mobile bike repair space. Look out for our van at a gathering near you.

If you need help with an electric or folding bike we have sold you, please text us at 215.821.9266 and we will try to assist you. We are unable to answer the phone or return calls at this time.

Meenal & Afshin

4 thoughts on “End of a ride…

  1. Dear Meenal and Afshin,

    What a tale you tell of your ride through phase 1 of this Pandemic. You are such visionary people, giving us what we need to move forward in fun, ecologically responsible ways.

    Thank you for your good work all these years. I’m so sorry to hear Afshin caught the dreaded bug, glad he’s back on his feet and applaud thoughts of “retirement.” It’s as much of a liberation as our socially responsible selves allows.

    I hope you take time to take care of yourselves and enjoy what you treasure.

    Please keep writing, reporting, leading, agitating.

    Best wishes for whatever comes next!

    With warm regards!

    Lou Ann Merkle

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  2. Sorry to have only known you for your last 2 years. You’re the best.
    Could you please make a recommendation. I need work done and you are the best. Please leave with a good direction. Also, could you please mail me a copy of the works and the price I’ve paid, for both my Ebikes.

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  3. Dear Afshin and Meenal,

    I’m sad to hear that Philly Electric Wheels is closing, though I understand that, at a certain point, it makes sense. Thank you for all you gave to the bicycling community of NW Phila, and for having me on board in 2013, after I’d freed myself from Weavers Way and was adrift and jobless. I hope the months ahead go smoothly, and provide some rest and relief.

    Take care and be well, Chris S.

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  4. Hi hope all is well with you I was a customer of yours bought many e bikes from you really sorry your not there anymore. How ever no one want s to service my bike is there anyone you can recommend I have trek 48 volt 750 watt mountain bike because it’s the Luna cycle motor and Panasonic battery etc trek won’t touch it. Many shops won’t either not even to do reg service like brake adjustments and lube and maybe check battery and electrical components let alone if I need battery changed out or motor etc in future Also my good friend Dave bought 4 e bikes from you he s having issues with service any help or suggestions would be appreciated

    Sent from my iPad

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