Opened in October 2009, Philly Electric Wheels was the first store in the tri-state region to sell & service electric bicycles. Owner Afshin Kaighobady 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 earlier last year. 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 the store 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.