Yay Bikes! Journeys recount how Yay Bikes! is transforming lives and communities, from the perspective of those we’ve impacted. In this installment, we hear from Paul Westrick, of zer0z wallets, about how his commitment to bikeable communities leads him to support Yay Bikes!.
A GUIDING FORCE: "Everything connects to biking for me."
Paul Westrick, designer and business guru behind the patented zer0z wallet, has become well known among Downtown enthusiasts during the seven-or-so years his shop has graced the Gay Street corridor. His retail shop was/is a trailblazing effort for sure, but besides that, his friendly, exuberant personality is a powerful draw. Less well known, perhaps, is the extent to which Paul is a deeply committed cyclist who organizes his life around his ability to ride. He doesn't own a car ("I'm just NOT getting in that thing anymore", he said, regarding his decision to give it up) and commutes by bike daily from Clintonville to his shops in Downtown and Dublin, walking if it's too icy to ride.
PEDALING FORWARD, NOT BACK: "With all the crazy things happening in our world right now, simple practices like riding a bicycle are the future."
Paul's life—whether wallets, coffee, meditation or bikes—centers on common themes of simplicity, quality, pleasure and equity, and he is all in for active people and powerhouse organizations who are up to promoting these values. Over the years he has quietly invested in supporting their expression via the Columbus bike community by giving to Yay Bikes! (Ride of Silence is his fave), Pelotonia, Tour de Grandview and more. When asked what he would say to fellow small business owners who are skeptical of cyclists and bicycle infrastructure, he said, "Slowing down and getting people on bikes is this weirdly forward thing that we have a chance to connect to right now. I see the difference in the faces of my customers when they arrive by bike versus car, how happy they are. It's awesome! Happy people are always good for business."
DOING BUSINESS BY BIKE: "What changed my mind about locating an 'outpost' shop in Dublin was visiting there and realizing it was more accessible by bike than I'd imagined."
Paul had been approached numerous times by leasing agents hoping he'd expand his retail operations within their shopping centers, but never felt like the suburbs matched his lifestyle. He just couldn't wrap his head around the idea of locating his business in such car-centric areas. But when he began researching the Bridge Park District in Dublin and realized how bikeable and walkable the development was, he changed his attitude. "It's got so many bike trails nearby that driving really is not required," he said. "And I don't—I bike there from Clintonville and it's great! Most of my design ideas come while I'm riding my bike, so I'm being very creative these days!" Paul credits Yay Bikes! with promoting the types of places he wants to be (and locate businesses! and shop! and ride!), and introducing so many people folks to the joys of city streets by bike. "I am hugely committed to this work, and I can't do it without Yay Bikes!. You are making such a difference. Thank you!"
Yay Bikes! is grateful to Paul for his extraordinary passion for life, wallets and bicycling. We especially appreciate his extraordinary generosity to the cause of helping people safely transport themselves by bicycle. Helmets off to you, friend!
To share your Yay Bikes! Journey, contact Meredith to set up a chat!