Thanks to 2 hundred-miles of motorbike lanes, the newly renovated Lakefront Trail and more than a hundred thirty,000 spots to park and lock your motorbike, Chicago constantly ranks amongst America’s maximum bicycle-friendly cities, in step with scores in Bicycle Magazine. But that friendliness wanes if you’re black, Latino or a girl looking to trip.
Yes, we’ve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Streets for Chicago 2020 Plan to growth the quantity of motorcycle lanes citywide. And Divvy’s bike proportion D4E plan awards a $5 membership to qualifying low-income riders. But, still, a race and gender gap persists.
Only approximately 30 percent of motorcycle commuters in Chicago are women, or even fewer are people of coloration, in line with the 2017 U.S. Census American Community Survey. A Chicago Sun-Times facts evaluation shows maximum rides through the Divvy motorcycle share program are concentrated downtown or at the North Side.
And Chicago Police Department facts indicates site visitors tickets issued to cyclists are disproportionately concentrated in Black and Latino neighborhoods, commonly for something as minor as using at the sidewalks. Additionally, security fears, specially after dark, regularly deter girls, while poorly maintained roads and fewer motorbike lanes make it less enticing to experience in black or Latino neighborhoods.


Cycling way of life has long been connected to white, spandex-clad guys with sufficient money to pay for fancy system and race entry prices. But a fresh cadre of bike shops are positioned to trade the face of cycling and dismiss the gatekeepers. Literally. Check out some Chicago stores run by means of and for human beings of shade and ladies to promote pedaling for every body who desires to trip.
Working Bikes Cooperative
Little Village
2434 S. Western Ave.
Working Bikes believes bikes empower disenfranchised populations—giving them freedom, independence and get right of entry to that they may otherwise war to attain. This volunteer-run, non-profit claims abandoned bikes or quickly-to-be discarded motorcycles donated by means of network contributors, refurbishes them and distributes them to groups in want. They don’t handiest work in Chicago, both. You’ll locate their bikes everywhere from Gary, Indiana, to Egypt.
West Town Bikes
2459 W. Division St.
Humboldt Park
This West Side keep does more than just sell and repair bikes for vicinity citizens. It brings recreation and inexpensive transportation to a traditionally beneath-served location and presents work for at-risk children and teens in the area via internship and after-school packages.
Blackstone Bicycle Works
6100 S. Blackstone Ave.
While this Hyde Park organization does promote and restore motorcycles, it’s best regarded inside the community for its Earn-a-Bike Program. Kids paintings 25 hours in the store—starting with repairing apartments and progressing to extra hard duties—and then select a refurbished motorbike plus a new helmet and lock to maintain for his or her very own use. Those who stick round for extra work can pass their way up to paid positions and apprenticeships.
Irv’s Bike Shop
1725 S. Racine Ave.
The save’s been within the equal place for forty years, and the contemporary proprietor Enrique Ortiz commenced working there at the age of eleven. Irv’s Bike Shop, named after the shop’s authentic proprietor, began while the area become packed with Eastern European immigrants. Since then, it’s end up a predominantly Mexican community, reflected even within the possession alternate. But the name and reputation—as much community center than motorcycle shop—has remained the same notwithstanding changing demographics.
BFF Bikes
2113 W. Armitage Ave.
Lincoln Park
This North Side choice changed into Chicago’s first thoroughly women-focused shop whilst it opened in 2014, welcoming ladies of all ability stages into a sport that’s often ruled by means of men. In addition to being a full-service motorcycle shop, BFFsells motorcycles and apparel that’s designed specifically for ladies. The store hosts group rides for ladies to teach with their peers.

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