Monthly Archives: April 2010

Bicycle Touring, couch surfing, and ways to meet strangers

This past weekend I played host to a couple of young guys who were cycling across the US to raise money for autism research. Will and Alex are from Kenya and London, respectively, and had never been bicycle touring or even visited the US before embarking on their trip.

From Philadelphia 2009-2010

Their blog is here, where you can read more about their cause and check on their progress across the the US.

It was interesting meeting these guys for a couple of reasons.  For one, I have been the guest of many random people while bicycle touring so it was gratifying for me to turn the tables and do my best to provide some bike tourists with food, beer and shelter.

The other cool part about the interaction is that they found me through a website called Couch Surfing, which connect allows travelers to search for people willing to host them. The idea is to help travelers get acquainted with where they’re visiting, save them some money, and for hosts and travelers to meet new, interesting people from all over the world.

It definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re game to host or be hosted by a perfect stranger, I recommend it.

So check out if you want to follow Will and Alex or donate to their cause.

Our take on the bicycle tractor-trailer

Bike trailers are a great way to add a lot of cargo capacity to your bike. There are a bunch of good trailers out there that are designed for carrying kids, pets or just about anything you can fit on them. Companies like Burley and BoB are the leaders in quality compact trailers that make any bike into a cargo-hauling machine.

Of course, there’s always a certain element who wants more than the usual, people who want to haul bigger, heavier loads without the use of a car. Fortunately there’s a company called Bikes at Work that makes a great line of big sturdy trailers that can carry some huge loads, like a refrigerator!

from “Moving a Refrigerator”

Here in Philadelphia, there’s a group called the Pedal Co-op who use Bikes at Work trailers to haul compost, recyclables, and conduct house moves within the city. They have a bunch of pictures at their site that are worth checking out.

Here at Philly Electric Wheels, we wanted to find a way to pick up bikes and deliver them to customers so we ordered up one of the Bikes at Work 64 inch trailers. We also got a hold of a two-bike rack and mounted it up. We attached the trailer hitch to an Ecobike Elegance and gave it a try.

I had to transport a bike from the shop in Mt. Airy to my home in South Philly so I got to test the trailer setup for about ten miles. Aside from the obvious weight of the load, riding with the trailer is not difficult to get used to. The hitch features a ball joint, which allows the bike to lean and turn just as it would normally as you ride and makes the long trailer surprisingly maneuverable. I was able to negotiate rush hour traffic in Center City with no troubles- I often got the sense that drivers gave me a lot more space on the road when they saw what I was towing. The trailer also got a lot of attention from people on the street who pointed, shouted or just gawked as I went trucking by.

The bike also performed just fine, and its electric assist really helped me get a move on when taking off from traffic lights and going up hills in East Falls and Mt. Airy.

If you want to start using your bike for tractor-trailer duty, check out Bikes at Work and see what you can haul!

Pickup of two bikes for tune-up

Gold Folding Bike

The Origin8 folding bike
This bike is amazing. It is lightweight, small, cute and very “light on its wheels”. The gold color is an eye-taker and the way it folds would be awesome in my house. It is great because of its size when it folds. It got my attention as soon as I came in the shop. When I rode it I felt free – not too much pedaling. I just love it! It’s so convenient – I highly recommend it.
Cynthia Hillyard – resident window artist and bicycle tester (student at C.W Henry School)

Some Spring Updates

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated things here, mostly because things have been pretty busy for Afshin and me at the shop. A lot of people are checking out the e-bikes that we have on offer, and some visitors from as far away as California and even Germany have stopped in to have a look while visiting Philadelphia.

I’ve also been kept busy repairing and tuning up all kinds of regular bikes as well. Although we specialize in electric bikes, I have plenty of experience fixing all kinds of bikes so if you need some work done, stop by and I’ll check it out.

I also want to remind people that we have the widest variety of different electric bike in the area by far, so come check us out, ask a lot of questions and take some test rides.

In case anyone was wondering, my name is Anthony. I’m the mechanic here at Philly Electric Wheels and I write the blog, write for the website and take photos as well. I originally hail from Vermont, but moved down to Philly last fall to get a taste of city living. So far I am really into the city, it’s big but not too huge, full of interesting people doing lots of cool things with urban gardening, green building and city planning. It’s really exciting to be part of a city that is changing and evolving around us, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the city as it continues to grow.

I have a personal blog at, which is full of my photos and general ramblings about living here in Philly, as well as some pretty awesome stories and photos of my travels in Papua New Guinea.

I live in South Philly, so working at PHEW means I get to ride a twenty-mile daily commute. Yesterday was a picture perfect day, and I took some pictures in the Wissahickon Valley and along the Kelly Drive bike path. I’m glad that these sights are a part of my day.

From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010
From Philadelphia 2009-2010

Notice how I’ve cropped out the masses of people on the Kelly Drive bike path, but hey, aesthetics are just as important as realism, right?

Check back for more blog posts in the coming weeks. I’ve set aside more time to put up some new content, so check back soon.