about

Electric bikes offer a fun and creative approach to a low-carbon transition economy by offering point-to-point personal transportation, as with traditional bikes and cars.  An electric bike integrates casual exercise into people’s daily lives, making it viable alternative for the second car in the household.

Philly Electric Wheels has been family owned & operated since 2009. The key partners are Afshin Kaighobady and Meenal Raval. We remain Philadelphia’s oldest electric bike shop, having sold and repaired many, many types of electric bikes, such as… Biria, Currie, Dahon, Ecobike, E-Tour, eZee, EZ Pedaler, Hebb, Stromer, Torker, Trek, Ultra Motor

In addition to ready-made electric bikes, we have electrified many a bike with conversion kits by Bafang, BionX, E-BikeKit, RideKick.

We have also sold, and continue to maintain folding bikes by Brompton, Dahon, Montague, Sun, Tern, Xootr.

History

Launched  in October 2009, Philly Electric Wheels was the first store in the tri-state region to sell & service electric bicycles.  Afshin brings a long-time personal study of bicycles and busy practice of hands-on handiwork for neighbors seeking to make their homes more energy efficient.

Born in Iran, Afshin came to the U.S. to study engineering in the 1970s. He met his wife here, and she met her first e-bike during the summer of 2009. Noting her enthusiasm for this mode of transportation (she commutes to work daily), he spent months researching the electric bicycle field before deciding to open a shop at the corner of Greene & Carpenter Lane in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy Village neighborhood.

While Afshin has been involved in a half dozen successful eco-ventures, this is his first experience in retailing.

He confesses that attending the national bicycle retailers convention in Las Vegas required getting on an airplane, an act he found extremely painful, given the low-carbon diet he began after seeing An Inconvenient Truth in ’06.  This is a man whose household energy use has been pared to the minimum without sacrificing comfort.

The team

Afshin Kaighobady – store founder and owner – Afshin’s fondest boyhood memories include a frequent chore–carrying home a loaf of hot bread in one hand while guiding the handlebars of his bicycle with the other. Afshin can be found at the shop at all hours, transforming into the Sales Manager, the Purchasing guy, the Carpenter putting up new shelving, and in a pinch, also the Bike Mechanic.

Meenal Raval – co-owner, investor and muse – Born in India, Meenal learned to drive a car well before she tackled a bicycle. She is now years into a low-carbon diet and to her own surprise, now looks forward to an excuse to get on a bike. Meenal is often to be found on the sales floor encouraging other women to ride.  When not with customers, she switches hats between Receptionist, Finance Manager, Employee Benefits, Receiving, Sales, Web-mistress, Blogger & Housekeeping.

Passionate about zero-waste, Meenal relishes in putting out less and less trash each week, at home and at the shop. Meenal is also passionate about low-carbon living and challenging herself to wanting less heating in winter and less cooling in summer. Outside the shop, she’s active with many groups to build our transition away from fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy. Follow her at mtairygal.wordpress.com and elsewhere on the net.

Zachary Powers — electric bike mechanic & sales — Zachary brought an intuitive understanding of electronics and relished diagnosing issues with electric bikes. Zachary now helps out on occasion.

Harvey Pitkapaasi — seasoned mechanic — Harvey has been a treasure, who initially came to us on his days off from a full-time job.  He’s now with us full-time, and brings over 35 years of bike industry experience, a passion in restoring old bikes and a curiosity about e-bikes.  We save the tricky repairs for Harvey!

Once on our team

In the past, we’ve enjoyed teaming up with Bob, Zachary, Angelo, Julian, Chris, Jim, Anthony & many others.

Bob Gottlieb — mechanic — Many of our new bikes were built by Bob’s patient hands.

Angelo Jones — sales — Angelo’s been a loyal customer for quite a few years. And now, he brings his bubbling enthusiasm for cycling to PHEW! Be warned – it’s contagious!

Julian Cushing — mechanic — Julian was fast & precise. He built bikes almost faster than we could cut down the boxes! He’s now focused on making art. See juliancushing.com

Zachary Powers — electric bike mechanic —

Chris Switky — mechanic — The neighborhood has known Chris from his many years at Weavers Way Food Co-op. Chris brought order to the mayhem in our showroom and is also a bike mechanic. If you’ve come to test ride an electric bike, you’ve probably ridden with Chris. Chris is currently immersed in a new venture, training and walking dogs.

Jim Thomas — head wrench — Having managed another bike shop, Jim brought a different perspective to our shop, and trained many of our temp staff.

Anthony Locicero — mechanic extraordinaire — Anthony brought bike shop experience to Philly Electric Wheels, and helped set up our first shop on Carpenter Lane. He’s returned to his homeland in Vermont. We miss Anthony, whose world travels can be followed here.

Marie Dilsizian – sales – Paris-born, Marie recently learned that her sister and brother-in-law, living in a small Italian village, have actively used an electric bicycle for a decade.

Our zero waste values

Our goal is to put out smaller and smaller bags of trash each week. Here’s what we do to minimize our waste…

Packaging waste

  • Cardboard is flattened & cut up for curbside recycling
  • Paper is put out for curbside recycling
  • Bubble wrap is periodically dropped off at the local UPS store for reuse
  • Packing peanuts are also dropped off at the local UPS store for reuse

Waste from Bike Repairs

  • Metal components are set aside for local scrapper trucks

Bike cleaning

  • Use all natural, non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning solutions.
  • Use cleaning products that are manufactured with sustainable practices and use recycled material for packaging. We also try to buy in bulk to reduce packaging and shipping (less petroleum consumption and carbon emissions).
  • Use quality equipment to increase longevity, thus reducing manufacturing waste and landfill use. Also, we look for items that are easily recycled.
  • Utilize used products, such as rags, when possible – to reduce manufacturing and landfill use. Soft cotton t-shirts and towels welcome.
  • Launder our rags and wait for a full load before washing.

page updated — June 28, 2020

 

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