The Mysterious New Store at 420 Cortland, REVEALED!

For weeks, mystery has surrounded the newly renovated storefront at 420 Cortland Street. Word on the street was that a tenant had been found. But who?! And what?!

Then, a clue appeared… in the form of a question mark:

Then, weeks later, came… another question mark!

Two question marks! One, containing a bicycle wheel. The other, in the form of an electrical cord. So many questions.

Well, we have answers. Or, at least a partial answer. Or, most of an answer, with a few questions still outstanding. Allow us to explain…

Through the patient hard work of the Bernalwood Signals Intelligence Group, we have learned that 420 Cortland will soon become the storefront for a merchant specializing in the sale of electric bicycles.

Specifically, 420 Cortland will become the new home of the business now known as The New Wheel, which today operates from 782 Columbus Avenue in North Beach. On The New Wheel blog, there is an announcement:

We are in the process of completely re-imagining The New Wheel. Three big changes are afoot:

1. New Location: We are moving to a beautiful 1100 sq. ft. space at 420 Cortland Avenue in sunny Bernal Heights. Mark your calendars for our opening party March 2 and stay tuned for more news and updates!

2. New People:  For the past year, The New Wheel has been run day to day by founder Brett Thurber. Joining Brett for this new expansion is his partner Karen Wiener, along with a full time mechanic.

3. New Products: We will be carrying a growing roster of the best electric bikes available, along with a selection of urban transportation products from the likes of Brooks, Ortlieb, Fjällräven, Rickshaw, Abus, and Burley. Stay tuned for more news!

But wait: What’s an electric bike?

Our research turned up these product photographs, which illustrate the concept:


Basically, an electric bicycle is a pedal-driven bike that uses a battery-powered electric motor to provide supplemental propulsion when desired — say, when climbing big-ass San Francisco hills. Conveniently, this also explains the riddle posed by the new shop’s teaser website, which asks:

Get it? You put a bike shop on a hill to underscore the fact that you sell a different kind of bicycle.

To flesh out the details of our story, Bernalwood decided to commit some journalism. We telephoned Brett Thurber, the founder of The New Wheel, to learn more of his plans.

Mr. Thurber proved to be friendly fellow, and he took it well when informed that Bernalwood had pierced the mystery of his shop’s main product. But he assures us that he still has some surprises up his sleeve.

For example, he hinted that the shop may get a new name. And that he has some interesting promotional events planned between now and the store’s March opening date. So we’ll have to wait and see. Which is fine.

Then Bernalwood gave Mr. Thurber the lay of the land. We told him that given the nature of his product, there is only one mystery that the residents of Bernal Heights truly want to know:

Do his electric bicycles have sufficient mojo to ascend the fearsome Folsom Street hill??

Can they climb the hill with style and grace?? And, in a matchup against a typical fixie-riding Mission hipster, would Mr. Thurber’s electrically-assisted bicycles defeat said hipster in a head-to-head race to the summit??

Mr. Thurber expressed confidence that his product can both master Folsom Street and vanquish the hipster. We shall see…

8 thoughts on “The Mysterious New Store at 420 Cortland, REVEALED!

  1. Cool! While I prefer to power my bicycle myself, I’m a big proponent of any and all biking activities. The question marks had me intrigued for weeks, but my wife instantly called it once the second one went up 😀

    BTW, the true test of mojo would be the climb up Virginia street, my eternal end-of-ride nemesis.

  2. Amen Postrideburrito! Virginia is a BITCH! I am not hipster enough to ride it but i admire those that can. Maybe an electric bike would get me off the hill and up to some others in the city. Interesting thing to ponder. May be a cool thing to try unless the masses turn on them like they did the fruit boot! Nothing is worth the humiliation of a fruit booter! 🙂

  3. I have an electric bike from Yoga Bikes in Berkeley and live in Upper Noe at Castro. The last two blocks are a chore, and climbing 29th to Diamond would be impossible even when pumping like hell with the electric assist at full throttle.

    On the other hand, I am in my 60’s and have witnessed with amazement, a young cyclist on a geared bike climb that hill. I rode a single speed Schwinn in the City for years, but love my electric bike. Only problem, the lithium battery never goes dead going downhill and gives little warning. I can make it to North Beach in one charge, but it’s close. Investing in a second battery is a must.

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