Free Bike Rentals for Bernal Residents on Bike to Work Day

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Cortland Avenue’s newfangled bike shop, The New Wheel, has a special offer for Bernal Heights residents: A free ride to work on a electric bike for Bike to Work Day this Thursday. They say:

The New Wheel is offering free electric bike rentals to residents of Bernal Heights on Thursday May 12th, Bike to Work Day.

Here’s the fine-print:

Neighbors interested in renting bikes should email to secure a rental. Quantities are limited. Bikes will be available for pickup the day before Bike to Work day, between 5 and 7pm on Wednesday May 11th.

The New Wheel will equip renters with an appropriately sized bike, a helmet and a lock. Bikes must be returned no later than 7pm on Thursday May 12th. This time window is designed to allow for a fun and swift ride to work and back home on Bike to Work Day, with no rental fee. Late returns will incur a rental fee.

All electric bike rentals require a fully refundable security deposit in the event of damage or theft. Renter takes full responsibility for the return of bike in the condition it was rented.

PHOTO: Courtesy of The New Wheel

Secession Art and Design Wants to Set You Up for Mother’s Day


Pro Tip: Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8.  Don’t forget!

Neighbor Eden from the fabulous Secession Art and Design wants to help you remain in good standing with mom. She writes:

Secession Art & Design (3235 Mission @Valencia) is consistently inspired by the moms that shop our gallery and boutique. In our eyes, they’re rockstars! Stop by this weekend, 12-8pm, to pick up a card, gift, or art that will make mom smile from head to toe.

As a special bonus for Bernalwood readers, we’re offering a 10% discount on our jewelry collection this weekend. Just mention Bernalwood when you stop in the store, and have a great Mothers Day!

Sunday: Celebrate Pinhole Photography Day at Pinhole Coffee


Neighbor JoEllen from Pinhole Coffee on Cortland brings word of a special photo-coffee event happening on Sunday, April 23:

There is a big holiday for Pinhole enthusiasts this Sunday. It’s Pinhole Day, a worldwide event that goes back to the roots of photography to celebrate pinhole photographs. It’s always held on last Sunday of April,and  this year that’s Sunday, April 24th

Pinhole Coffee is featuring pinhole photographs by Bay Area artist (former Bernal resident) Joy Caves. In addition to taking pinhole photographs, Joy develops them with caffenol, a coffee developer. From 10-2pm on Sunda,y she will be present to show people how to take pinholes and how caffenol works.

In addition, anyone who wears Pinhole Coffee apparel, or purchases any, on Sunday the 24th will receive 1 free beverage.


PHOTO: Top, Sutro Tower pinhole photo, by JoEllen Depakakibo

The Epicurean Trader Celebrates First Anniversary (And For You, Special Price)


Oh, how the time flies. Neighbors Holly and Matt from The Epicurean Trader on Cortland are celebrating the first anniversary of their store, and to mark the occasion they’re offering a special deal to Bernal neighbors. Holly says:

We’re celebrating our first year as a Bernal merchant! We love this neighborhood. Mat and I have both lived in the neighborhood for years and all our employees live in Bernal Heights too.

The store has changed a lot since opening day – not our overall mission, but the assortment of products we sell. We’ve always wanted to be a neighborhood store, so we continually collect feedback from you about items you find difficult to buy locally. We stock as many as we can to make everyone’s lives a little easier.

We were also just named one of the Best Neighborhood Markets in San Francisco, and we’re now the highest-rated Specialty Market on Yelp (even ahead of Bi-Rite on 18th.) So now we’re even more excited to celebrate!

To thank the neighborhood for all their support, we will be extending a 10% discount off all purchases Monday thru Friday this week to Bernal Heights residents. Just ask for the discount when you check out. (Note: we may ask for some confirmation that you live in Bernal Heights.)

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

House Portrait: Peek Inside the Home of Succulence’s Ken and Amy Shelf



Where do Bernal merchants retreat to rest and recharge after they hang the Closed sign in the windows of their Cortland storefronts? Our friends at the CurbedSF blog recently did a profile of the house that Amy and Ken Shelf from Succulence call home. It’s a colorful look behind the scenes at one of Cortland Avenue’s most unique shops — and the people who created it:

The Shelf family had been friendly with the owner of [Four Star Video] before he died. David Ayoob was often in front of his business, sweeping up and greeting the neighbors. “He was a community character. When I read that the business and building were up for sale, I thought ‘I could be that guy,'” says Ken.

Borrowing every penny (“Back then, you could do that,” notes Amy), the couple purchased the building at 420 Cortland Avenue. The days of video rentals at a brick and mortar store were waning, and from the beginning they were planning the next phase. When Darcy Lee, the owner of Heartfelt down the street, suggested they start selling succulent plants out back, a new business was born.

Amy came up with the name Succulence to honor the richness of life, and for this couple, it’s an idea they take home with them after the store closes. The store, the neighborhood, and their family are inextricably woven into the into the nearby Victorian cottage they own on a short street that’s quintessentially Bernal Heights; in other words, it’s on a narrow, hilly passage where each crest hosts a scenic city view.

Read the whole thing to learn more about Neighbors Amy and Ken Shelf and to see pictures of their colorful home.


What Is the Bernal Business Alliance and How Can You Get Involved?


Neighbor Darcy from Heartfelt on Cortland extends an invitation for all sorts of Bernal businessfolk to get involved with the Bernal Business Alliance. She also extends an invitation to join the BBA’s next meeting on April 13, as well as a call for artists to help create a vintage-style map of Bernal Heights.

Darcy writes:

The BBA (Bernal Business Alliance) has gone through ups and downs over the years that I have been involved. It used to be the Cortland Merchants Association. and after our leader, David Ayoob passed away suddenly, different merchants have taken turns leading the organization. We have tried to bring more energy and life by also including home-based business, contractors, chefs, writers etc. We also welcome business folks who live in Bernal but whose businesses are actually in other neighborhoods in the city.

Right now we are in one of those phases where there’s a surge of interest and energy, so please consider joining and adding your voice to the working neighborhood.

Our meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 10 am in the library community room, and I will be running the next meeting on April 13th. The theme is safety, and Captain McFadden from SFPD Ingleside is sending a representative. How can the business community make Bernal safer for all residents? What are your concerns?

On top of all that, are publishing a retro-style map in the next few months, (the image above is an example of the style we are going for), and we are looking for an artist-in=residence for 2016. This would involve designing posters for the strolls, a vintage style Bernal map, and even working on a new logo for the BBA. If you’re interested please contact us at

P.S. BBA Membership is only $50 for the year and you can join here.

Shoplifters, Scammers, and Other Challenges of Being a Cortland Merchant


It’s not easy being a merchant on Cortland Avenue.

Obviously, providing products, attracting customers, paying commercial rent, and managing the books are challenging tasks unto themselves. Yet over the last few years, as your Bernalwood editor has gotten to know many of the merchants who serve our community, I’ve also been impressed by how exasperating it can be when earning a livelihood means keeping your front door open to any random person who feels like walking in.

Neighbor Darcy from Heartfelt on Cortland shared this story — and a surveillance camera video — of a shoplifter who recently swiped some of her merchandise:

In the video, you can clearly see the young woman who shoplifts. The young lady with the tan cardigan, red scarf, and green purse looks around the room and pick up two Corkcicle-brand thermoses. At 02:09 she puts one in her purse, and at 02:52 she adds the second one to her purse, after which she quickly exit the store with a companion. We think the video speaks for itself.

Needless to say, if you recognize the perp, please stop by Heartfelt to let them know.

Meanwhile, a few blocks up the street, Neighbor JoEllen from Pinhole Coffee had her time wasted by this two-bit scammer who tried to pull the old “but wait, I gave you a $20 bill” trick:


JoEllen says:

The gentleman shown here has been trying to trick cashiers into giving him more change back. During the transaction he tried to distract me by being charming, pointing to certain areas of the room and commenting on the design…blah blah blah. He then told me he gave me a $20, when clearly he gave me a $5, and asked for more change. I said “nope.”

Norman of Elsie St. came in soon after and told us he heard he’s been doing that up and down the street that day.

Ask yourself: Have you hugged a Bernal merchant today?