TREK Sales Manager Lou Jacob inside the TREK at 156 West 72nd Street

By Claudie Benjamin

People often want or need an extra boost, and the possibility of biking to a destination without being sweaty. Also, it’s not unusual for orthopedists and cardiologists to consult with Lou Jacob, Sales Manager of Trek at 231 West 96th Street and the location at 156 West 72nd Street about the best options for bike riders who want to keep biking, even soon after joint replacement surgery.

The beautiful, elegantly designed electric bikes (ebikes) provide four levels of support from a baseline nudge to more motor engagement.  “It’s magic for a lot of people.” They are designed to give a rider excellent, reliable control over their bike. This is unlike the throttle-type electric bikes over which riders have minimal control and provoke complaints from pedestrians who are angered by delivery service workers that ride them at high speed on the sidewalks. Trek simply doesn’t sell throttle-controlled (Class 2) bikes.

Security? Battery packs come off the bikes as a security measure or for convenient recharging, which can also be done while installed on the bikes.  Customers receive guidance on a variety of options regarding locks.

Trek is a family-owned business that began in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Trek bikes are marketed throughout the world. Jacob says Trek is all about being part of a community. He notes that women are increasingly using bikes for recreation and transportation. “We at Trek celebrate the significant increase in women riders, both for transportation and sport,” says Jacob.  “We’re thrilled to support this movement in every way possible.”  

Jacob notes two examples of Upper West Side activities that encourage locals to be part of the biking world. One, is Wednesday Night Twilight Rides 6:30-8pm biking in Central Park followed by dinner at a local pizzeria. Open to bikers of all levels. Call Trek for details. The other Trek program started at the West 96th Street Store and then widely expanded and offers training in bike  maintenance to high school students and college freshman and sophomores. If accepted into the program, students who successfully complete the curriculum win a special prize and are offered a job at Trek. Jacob says Trek‘s Upper West Side stores currently employ two graduates of the program.

Jacob has been with Trek for about a year. He started biking as a child and his interest and skill has taken him to long distance biking and racing for years. His career until the pandemic was related to theater. He taught at Muhlenberg College in PA and in New York at the New School. He is an international theatre director, a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee and received the Princess Grace Statue for contributions to the performing arts in America. The Covid period brought him multiple challenges. “Theater collapsed…” Also, he was recovering from multiple surgeries required to repair a ruptured bicep tendon. With a family to support, Jacob found his long-time biking experience and ability to interact well with people was a good match for the managerial and sales skills needed at Trek.

Has the pandemic changed the biking culture of New York City? “Without a doubt,” says Jacob. “Biking has become overwhelmingly popular.” It’s healthy cardio-friendly exercise, often consistent with post-surgery recovery, open-air transportation that avoids the close contacts of buses and subways. How fast do electric bikes go? Basically, ebikes give support either to 20mph or 28mph, and the bikes also have pedals for maneuvering tight spots.

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