Johnny and John Stallworth at John’s Hardware & Bicycle Shop.
[This piece also runs in Urban Velo magazine.]
Pedaling down Halsted Street into Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, I smell the unmistakable aroma of Harold’s Chicken as I pass an outpost of the South Side chain whose logo features a chef chasing a rooster with a hatchet. After an SUV speeds by me booming hip-hop, I pull up to John’s Hardware & Bicycle Shop, 7350 S. Halsted, and admire the old-fashioned, hand-painted sign, featuring John Stallworth’s smiling, bearded face and his no-nonsense slogan, “If we don’t have it you don’t need it.”
Continue reading Can bike shop deserts be eradicated on Chicago’s South Side?
Used bicycles as far as the eye can see.
I met a friend in Pilsen Wednesday to have lunch and then visit Working Bikes Cooperative (2434 S Western Avenue), a non-profit organization that repairs bicycles to sell to Chicagoans and also to send to people in Africa, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru and even the Gulf Coast. Volunteers and some paid staff take in donated bikes – from individuals, from collection drives, and even from the Chicago Department of Transportation’s own abandoned bicycle pickup program – organize, repair, and then sell or ship them. I asked manager Raul Gonzalez for a quick tour. I came in knowing the warehouse held a lot of bicycles, but I couldn’t imagine how many. Continue reading This pile of evidence insinuates there are more bicycles than riders, but all are destined for a good cause