The effects of Covid-19 have led to economic stress for many businesses and families on a global scale. As residents of Benicia can tell you, this economic hit has not left our town unscathed: we have seen several local and beloved businesses close their doors. While watching so much of our reality dissolve and change, we look for remnants of familiarity and hope where we can. Though the pandemic has transformed once cherished storefronts into empty windows, there are pillars in Benicia that have remained. Wheels in Motion, Benicia’s one and only bike and skate shop, has endured the trying times of Covid-19.
Greg Andrada opened Wheels in Motion in 1991 as a roller skating shop. Because Benicia had no other business like it, Greg and his wife Joy saw this as a business opportunity. During this time, roller skates were “the rage.” Though roller skates were trending in the early 1990s (and some may argue are making a comeback today), there was another group looking for a shop to fulfill their hobby’s needs: skateboarders. With activity growing from the Benicia Skate Park on West K, Greg received requests to supply Benicia skaters with skateboards and needed accessories. With this, he began to expand his selection. Over the years, Wheels in Motion has grown to include a lengthy list of different bikes, boards, and accessories.
Currently, Wheels in Motion is really busy. Their customer base has expanded from skateboarding and cycling enthusiasts to a much broader collection of locals. The unique circumstances brought on by sheltering in place and social distancing have led many to explore alternative options for exercise, commuting, and recreation. With gyms remaining closed, many people have been forced to switch up their fitness routines from exercise bikes to road bikes. They are coming into the shop in droves, some to get their old bikes that had been collecting dust tuned up and ready for the road, and others to purchase new bikes and accessories for the entire family. For many in our community that are working from home, getting the whole family outdoors, whether that is on a skateboard or a bike, is more crucial than ever for mental health and basic sanity. Wheels in Motion has these folks covered with bikes and skateboards of all sizes.
Even those who are commuting to work have had to change things up, especially those that relied on taking the bus. In order to stay distant and safe, many who were accustomed to taking public transportation across the Benicia bridge have opted for biking. With the pedestrian path on the Benicia Bridge, bikers have a safe and reliable option for an alternative to public transportation or carpooling. While more business is certainly a good thing, it does come with complications. Demand is high as ever for the products Greg is bringing into his shop, but supply remains low with disruptions from Covid-19. Greg’s goal is to keep finding ways to serve the needs of his customers and, most importantly, to get through the chaos of 2020. Surviving the effects of an unpredictable pandemic has shown just how anchored Wheels in Motion is in our community.