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Chicago’s first protected bike lane on Kinzie St. increased ridership by 55 percent without increasing traffic congestion for cars.

Wheel & Sprocket’s ties to advocacy and community

Since 1973, the Wheel & Sprocket has been benefiting the cycling community with a passion for fitting customers to the proper bike and encouraging safe biking. Wheel & Sprocket operates a number of bike shops in Wisconsin and has two shops in Illinois — in Evanston and in Oak Park.

For 40 years, Chris Kegel brought his knowledge and excitement to Wheel & Sprocket. Kegel, who passed away in recent years, started as a bike mechanic at the shop and eventually became the owner, over time working at nearly every role in the shop. People around him say he had a strong desire to create an exciting and safe cycling community.

Kegel’s passion for cycling and creating an encouraging community was passed down through his children, who now own the business. It’s also been passed down through the Chris Kegel Foundation, created to honor his work.

The family’s eagerness to remain true to its goals can be seen through the large number of advocacy partners they work with — Active Transportation Alliance being one of them.

Over the years, a natural partnership has grown between Wheel & Sprocket and Active Trans. The shop’s support stems from the owners’ understanding of the need for safe and functional bike infrastructure, as well as the need for advocacy in the cycling community.

“We do a lot of support for cycling,” Eric Krzystofiak, one of the general managers said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2017. “We want to get more bike lanes out there and create safer infrastructure. We really believe in bikes for everybody, and feel the more of us out there riding, the safer it is for everyone.”

Local support and encouragement from businesses like this makes our push for better biking stronger.