Dirty Hands at Working Bikes Cooperative

Content Creator, including photographs: C3 Blogger Tom fromĀ www.letUbeU.com

Working Bikes Cooperative is a non-profit organization in Chicago devoted to the motto: Reduce Reuse Recycle. They collect neglected bikes and tune them up to reuse & sell. The revenue is used to ship the remaining bikes to different corners of planet earth so that a poor person in Tanzania, Guatemala, or Peru can get to work and make money to feed his family.

Stored in a warehouse, they appear as a sea of bikes. There are old bikes, and older bikes. Rusty bikes, and dirty bikes. Bikes without wheels, and bikes with banana seats. Some bikes are blue, others have a white basket. Everywhere you look…bikes, bikes, bikes.

On Tuesday January 31, two trainees with the Chicago Conservation Corps (myself & Ben) attended Volunteer Night, which happens every Tuesday night. We immediately noticed the benefits of volunteering at Working Bikes, including:

Chicago Conservation1. Free food

2. Learning the skills to fix my own bike

3. Finding inspiration from the numerous posters (left)

Ben and I removed axels from tires for 2 hours while other volunteers fixed chains, polished metal, and attached pedals. All of these bikes are on their way to helping a good cause. Unfortunately, the demand for bikes is much higher than the rate at which they can be repaired, so volunteers are in high demand. Volunteering is simple. Go to the store or call during business hours and notify a staff member that you wish to lend a helping hand.

We want to warn you though, being kind can sometimes be dirty. Bike repair is accompanied by oil & grease, so wear appropriate clothing and prepare for dirty hands. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget, Reduce Reuse Recycle.

Conservation is simple