Spring and summer might be taking their sweet time getting here, but bike shops throughout Logan Square are in full season, seeing increased customer traffic in one of America’s most bike-friendly cities. So strap on a helmet and cruise through this handy guide; whether you’re the #BikeWinter type transitioning the season, someone finally ready to dig out and tune-up your bike from storage, or just in need of a flashy new set of wheels.
2535 N. Kedzie Blvd.
The passionate mechanics at Kevin Womac’s Boulevard Bikes are celebrating their 13th summer season on the Square. Nestled snugly next to Lula Cafe since first opening in the summer of 2003, the shop has operated as a sales showroom and full-service repair shop, even sporting a bike wash station in the back of the store. And with a staff full of year-round riders, they’re ready to offer advice to customers of all experience levels.
When I stopped by, Womac himself was out serving customers, on a first-name basis with many of them after so long. I could have just as easily pulled up a seat in the “wheel chair” (made from bike tires, mind you) and people-watched along Kedzie while listening to the music emanating from the repair side of the shop. A cozy place indeed, and one fully centered around finding the right bike for the right person.
2130 N. Milwaukee Ave.
“As bike commuters and avid cyclists we wanted to open a shop that appealed to a wide range of cyclists, and help make cycling accessible to as many people as possible,” says co-owner Max Hertz. A shop very much run by and for cyclists, The Bike Lane boasts a full range of bikes, parts, accessories and tools in-store, as well as offering custom builds, restorations and custom paint jobs.
Hertz attributes some of the shop’s successes to immersing itself in a passionate bike culture. “We get to help people realize how great cycling can be by making their experience at our shop easy, accessible and fun,” he says. “If they’ve been biking for a while, we provide a place to continue and improve their experience, and if they’re just getting into biking, we help make that experience approachable and fun.”
One such example is their “Flat Fixes On The Fly,” in which riders broken down within the city can call the shop and have the necessary materials delivered to get them back on the road.
3603 W. Armitage Ave.
The southwest corner of Central Park and Armitage avenues may have seen plenty of surface changes over the years, but the core mission inside Bike 4 Life remains the same: biking for fitness and cardiovascular health. Bike 4 Life is a not-for-profit organization serving all neighborhoods of Chicago, whose goal is to improve health of individual people as well as communities via a reduction in carbon emissions.
Having begun as a hardware store that simply handled bike repair on the side, the shop eventually became what used to be Armitage Bike Shop. When that business also ended, the space was maintained through private funding and volunteer efforts to evolve into the non-profit business now known as Bike 4 Life helmed by Mas “Sam” Contractor.
In addition to day-to-day bike sales and repairs, Bike 4 Life also collaborates in cycling events to raise awareness and fight other diseases such as breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and obesity. Free training is also provided for cardio, aerobic and road safety activities to underprivileged people.
So enjoy the summer season, riders, because Chicago’s reprieve from winter is never long enough.