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Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Bikes 'N' Roses heading to Springfield

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Last month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that new funding will be used to support Bikes 'N’ Roses, a bike shop that focuses on educating teenagers on how to fix and build bikes. 

Emanuel’s plan will bring 65 jobs to teenagers at the original Albany Park storefront (4747 N. Sawyer Ave.) and the formerly shuttered Belmont-Cragin location (2010 N. Lawler Ave.). Funding for these jobs comes from the city’s One Summer Chicago program and Out of School Time Project. (Check out this recent interview with Bikes 'N' Roses Program Director David Pohlad.) 

In addition to helping teens learn how to fix bikes, the shop also hosts yoga night, open mics, open shops (where customers can bring a bike in to work on it), and other events.

On Saturday May 21, Bikes 'N’ Roses is hosting a bike ride to Springfield, covering 211 miles in three days. The goal is to talk to state legislators about “shifting resources away from incarcerating people who commit crimes of poverty and instead prioritize investment in our communities and in our youth.”

The ride, which Bikes 'N' Roses first did last year, also plans to protest the budget impasse, which is part of the reason the Belmont-Cragin shop lost its funding from an Illinois Department of Human Services grant.

Bikes 'N’ Roses already has a team of 15 youth riders preparing for the trip to Springfield. The organization is hosting an allies kick-off ride that anyone can participate in from Bikes N’ Roses Albany Park to Greenline Wheels in Oak Park. For those not able to make the ride but still want to help, there is a link to donate money that will help with covering the costs of the ride. 

We commend any actions that encourage kids and teens to want to become more involved with biking. If you support making biking and walking more accessible for all kids across Illinois, let Springfield know you want lawmakers to support HB2623 to improve the state’s Safe Routes to School program. Learn more about our Safe Routes for Healthy Kids campaign.

This post was written by former Active Trans advocacy intern Andrew Hertzberg.