NEW YORK CITY, NY (BRAIN) — Bert Cebular, founder of the NYCeWheels retail shop, died Wednesday in a paraglider accident, according to local news reports.
Cebular founded the shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side in 2001. It specializes in folding and electric bikes and scooters.
According to lohud.com, Cebular, 47, died when he lost control of his powered paraglider, which broke through the icy surface of the Wallkill River in Wawayanda, New York, about 70 miles north of Manhattan. News12 reported that Cebular was paragliding with friend Benoist Bruneau, who tried to pull Cebular from the water.
Larry Pizzi, president of electric bike supplier Currie Technologies, told BRAIN that Cebular was "a friend, customer and icon in the U.S. retailing of electric bikes."
He said NYCeWheels was one of the oldest and most established e-bike retailers in the country.
"Bert was an incredible guy," Pizzi said. "He had a passion for life and I believe he throughly enjoyed every minute. He was also a driven visionary that saw a business opportunity in e-bikes, long before most took it seriously and he built an extremely successful business marketing them to New Yorkers. My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones, family and loyal staff at NYCeWheels. I will never forget the amazing conversations we have had over the years and the friendship that he graciously shared."
Pizzi said on a recent visit to the store, he talked to Cebular about his new hobby of powered paragliding. "He spoke about the thrill of power-assisted flight with the same enthusiasm he would speak of e-bikes ten years ago," Pizzi said.
The store was one of the retailers visited on BRAIN's 2012 Dealer Tour of New York City.