Spring Hours are Coming!

Good news everyone! We’re about to switch over to Spring/Summer hours! Starting Sunday, April 14th, our shop hours will be:

Wed-Fri: 11am-7pm
Sat: 10am-6pm
Sun: 11am-4pm

Now is the perfect time to stock up on all your riding needs, including your row boats and cocktail dresses as seen in this 1965 ad for a folding bike. What better way to start the season off than by taking your bike on a lovely trip around the lake!

To celebrate the official start of Working Bikes Spring Riding Season, we’ll be giving a free article of cycling apparel to anyone who buys a bike on the 14th! So come by from 11am-4pm to stock up on all your necessary but ridiculous looking cycling wear.

*Also, our shop will be closed on Sunday, April 21st for the Easter Holiday*


Supporting Mobility and Developing New Partnerships in Gary, IN

This past December, Working Bikes got into the holiday spirit by donating over 300 to local organizations and communities. Our trip to Gary, IN was our largest, with 111 bikes and helmets going to the kids of the First AME Church after school program! The congregation reached out to Working Bikes back in the fall after the nearby library closed down. With the program hosting up to 80 kids a day, the library was a valuable resource for computer access and school work (the church itself only has 4 computers, and of those were recently donated at the end of the year). With the next closest library located about 20 blocks away, many of the students were unable to complete assignments. That’s where we come in! These bicycles donated in December will help students get the library quickly and safely. Working Bikes is looking forward to continue to partner with First AME on more related events, such as a mechanic workshop and a bike parade!
This live-changing donation was made possible by the hard work of our volunteers and mechanics, who helped repair hundreds of kids bikes this winter!


Bike Tales: Edith Turkington’s Raleigh

Have you ever walked into the Working Bikes shop and wondered: “where do all these bikes come from!?” Well, a good number of bikes we receive are donated by individuals. Each one comes with its own special story, and today we’d like to highlight one in particular.

On August 4, 2018 bk Elmore was called out to Flossmoor for a donation pick-up. There, he met Edward and Edith Turkington. As a college student, Mrs. Turkington had purchased a pinned-brake Raleigh in the early 1950s as a way to get around Boston. Eventually, her and the Raleigh relocated to the Chicago area. After many decades of riding, the Turkingtons called Working Bikes to give this classic bike a second life. Below is a picture of the couple and the cherished wheels.

It’s always a wonderful surprise when someone not only donates a bike, but entrusts us with a family heirloom. We hope to find a new home for this beloved ride soon!


Ground Report: Thriving Bike Tours in Jordan!

Our friends over at Al Numeira Bike Shop and Bike Tours in Jordan are having a great season. Al Numeira is located along the Dead Sea Highway, halfway between the Dead Sea resorts and Petra. We shipped out almost 500 bikes to them last April and we are so excited to see them in action! Thanks to our partners from Abercrombie & Kent for helping make this shipment and this story possible!


The Working Bikes “Kitchen Crew” Takes the Lane

On November 17th, the Volunteer Committee went bowling at Diversey River Bowl! The field of experience was wide, ranging from a first-timer to league members. It was exciting to bring together people that contribute to the shop on different schedules.

The Committee also voted to change its name. Our scrappy collective of volunteers will hereby be known as the WORKING BIKES KITCHEN CREW.

The name, proposed by volunteer Paul Konkoly, came from the tradition of bike co-ops being nicknamed “kitchens.” Our volunteers are also avid cooks and bakers, and volunteer hours often times means getting to snack on homemade treats. 

Two of the Kitchen Crew’s goals are to build comradery and encourage dialogue about ways the volunteer experience can be improved. Stayed tuned for more fun volunteer gatherings in 2019.


Meet Devon, the newest member of the Working Bikes team!

Devon is joining Working Bikes as our new Community Engagement Manager. She moved from Portland, Oregon less than a month ago in pursuit of new adventures and good hot dogs. A graduate of Lewis & Clark College, Devon is passionate about bringing people together, whether it be for a volunteer event or a chili cook-off. Since graduating in 2014, she has worked for a number of nonprofits, serving as an outreach manager, development assistant, volunteer coordinator, and coffee cup mascot. Originally from Seattle, Devon is excited to explore Chicago on her trusted Surly Straggler, Buffy.


19th Anniversary Celebration A Success!

Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us last week! It was our most successful celebration yet! We had a record 30 sponsors, over 250 attendees, 19 Silent Auction Packages, and buckets of fun!

A HUGE shoutout to Lagunitas Chicago TapRoom & Beer Sanctuary for the beer and the ambiance. We also want to say thank you again to all our sponsors, including Nancy Gerrie, Christopher Burke Engineering, Marcia Bogolub, Jenner & Block LLP, TTX Company, Jim Lindsey, Wheel & Sprocket, Andrew and Gail Brown, Freeman Kevenides Law Firm, Keating Law Offices, Susan Senturia and Frederic Juengling, SRAM, Ken Weissman, Chris Fortune, Howard Epstein and Gay Sigel, Troy Hernandez, Cameron Sutton, IV Ashton, David Weber, CIBC US, Jill Olswanger, Stephen Siegel, Bob Glaves, Alvin Katz, David Williams, West Town Bikes, Active Transportation Alliance, Pete Travnicek, Mutual Federal Bank, Eric Wood, and Trevor Grant.

See all event pictures here.


Maja Perez to Step Down as Events and Communications Manager

As of September 19, 2018, Maja Perez will be leaving Working Bikes and moving home to Bakersfield, California. In the last three years Maja has been instrumental in the creation of Working Bikes’ WTF! Night on Thursdays, as well as implementation and development of the Salesforce CRM software within Working Bikes acquisitions and volunteer programming.

“Without getting too much into the weeds, Maja’s work with Salesforce has allowed us to better catalog, communicate with, and serve those who collect and donate bikes. This alone makes our work more sustainable and efficient.”

Maja, along with Trian Alexander, also piloted Working Bikes’ format of two monthly newsletters, one focused at the entire community as well as another which is directed towards current volunteers.

Maja will truly be missed at Working Bikes, but her dedication as well as the systems she has created will long serve Working Bikes in example and deed.

During the transition in hiring a new Communications Manager Maja will work remotely. WTF! will still continue Thursday nights and will be hosted by our very own Mikela “Keke” Pinkney!


Summer 2018 Shipping Party Results

Fall is here and we’ve got the summer stats! Together we shipped a total of 1,939 bicycles from June through September. This includes:

  • 501 bikes to Bici-Tec in Guatemala
  • 510 bikes sent to Africycle’s Malawi project
  • 490 bikes shipped to the Village Bicycle Project at Ghana
  • 438 bikes were sent to the Fijian Ministry of Youth and Sport

What a landmark summer considering it has been 10 years since we shipped to Guatemala and our first time partnering with the country of Fiji!

Stay connected with us for upcoming shipment announcements. We want to thank all our individual and group volunteers who took the time to prep and schlep this summer, without you we wouldn’t be able to help so many people around the world!

Take the time to look at our calendar for volunteer opportunities on and offsite.


The Dockless Bikeshare Dilemma

For several months Working Bikes has been receiving emails and inquiries regarding how one may rescue dockless bike share bikes from the wanton destruction being documented in China. As cyclists and recyclists, the staff and volunteers of Working Bikes are heavily motivated to find the best function for underutilized bicycles, but given the condition and location of many of these bikes it has been far outside our organization’s ability.

Ofo had a short-lived visit in Chicago. Before and during the Ofo trial period, Working Bikes was in contact with a representative to see how the organizations could collaborate. Many of the dockless vendors balked at Chicago’s initial roll-out, but the need to have “lock-to” bikes, which literally are locked to a bike rack when not in use, caused Ofo to leave the market.

Recently, Ofo has announced that they were leaving a number of cities in North America following attempts at expansion of their dockless system. Working Bikes received a call regarding nearly 800 brand new and nearly new dockless bicycles in Seattle that needed to be donated, or they would be disposed of. It was kismet that Africycle in Malawi was already familiar with the bikes due to Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation. After working through some logistical issues we are proud to announce that Africycle has been able to negotiate shipping a full container of Ofo’s Seattle bicycles to their project in Malawi! More information is available in this article.