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Cycle of Peace Event Will Bring 500 Bikes to Kids in North Lawndale

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Kids at the Bronzeville Bike Builder bike giveaway in 2014. Photo: TAG Foundation
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Two years ago the TAG Foundation and Working Bikes joined forces to stage the Bronzeville Bike Builder, distributing 500 refurbished bicycles to local families. Kids 12 and under were invited to come learn bike safety skills and leave with a free cycle.

This year they’ve partnered with the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Hub to stage the event, rebranded as The Cycle of Peace, on the West Side. The bike giveaway takes place on Saturday, June 25, at North Lawndale College Prep’s Collins Campus, 1313 South Sacramento, starting at 9 a.m.

The TAG Foundation, a nonprofit promoting sustainable, healthy, and affordable living in Chicago’s communities of color, is run by Angela Ford, a sustainability consultant. The foundation has done much of the coordination for the event. “Putting 500 bikes in a neighborhood changes people’s perception of the community,” Ford said. “It also changes a community’s perspective on bicycles as active transportation.”

Working Bikes, a community bike shop located at 2434 South Western in Little Village, is sending 13 shipping containers of 500 bikes to partners in other nations this year. They view the Cycle of Peace as a similar initiative: getting bikes in the hands of youth who can benefit from them, right here in Chicago.

Angela Ford. Photo: Melissa Manak

The cycles are suitable for kids ages 5-12, and helmets and locks will also be provided. Bikes will provided on a first-come, first-served basis to kids from North Lawndale who arrive with a parent or guardian with a valid state ID with a local address. Before leaving with their bikes, the children will be required to take a short bike handling class taught by the city’s Bicycling Ambassadors and compete in an obstacle course.

Ford says teaming up with the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Hub this year is a way to reach more families in the community, since NLRJH is made up of 26 community organizations. Next year the coalition will be founding the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Community Court, an alternative to the Cook County court system for young adults charged with misdemeanors or nonviolent crimes. The 10th District Community Alternative Policing Strategy’s explorer program will also assist with the event.

“It is the hope of [Working Bikes] that these donations will empower the next generation of cyclists to explore their community, build fellowship with one another and create positive cycles of peace,” said Working Bikes manager Paul Fitzgerald in a statement.

The following Wednesday, June 29, Working Bikes will be hosting a tour of North Lawndale and Little Village led by the bike equity group Slow Roll Chicago. The ride leaves the bike shop at 6:30 p.m. “These events represent all of these different organizations coming together to make Chicago more bike-friendly,” Ford said.

This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago's own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.

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