Best of the Bay 2012: BEST CHARGE AHEAD

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Though electric bikes far outnumber cars in communities from China's crowded cities to mountainous towns in the Swiss Alps, they have yet to catch on here in the States. Regardless of the reason, and despite SF's hilly terrain — quite possibly the perfect venue for the bikes' charms — the owners of New Wheel make this list for sheer entrepreneurial derring-do. Karen and Brett Thurber went ahead and opened the city's first e-bike-focused store, where they also do repair, hawk sleek Euro-designed accessories, and host the neighborhood's first e-bike charging station. The station, designed as a gas pump from that not-so-distant era when we needed to drive cars to work (we are writing you from the future), also charges cell phones, digital cameras, and more — quite the charge for the Bernal Heights community.

420 Cortland, SF. (415) 524-7362, www.thenewwheel.net