[TheThinkTank] Fwd: West Town Bikes September 2014 e-Newsletter

Garth Katner garth at westtownbikes.org
Thu Sep 4 07:37:41 PDT 2014

Hey Folks!

I just wanted to share our new e-Newsletter with you. It's the product of
much hard work by a number of our youth who are training in organizational
development and office management right here at West Town Bikes.



Garth Katner, Manager
Resource Development
*West Town Bikes NFP*
2459 W. Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 772-6523 Office
(773) 485-4089 Cell

*West Town Bikes*
                   Welcome to our first e-Newsletter! If you're receiving
this you must be interested and aware of the work of West Town Bikes. We
are a multi-faceted organization that uses bicycles as a tool to help build
community; not one that is simply about bicycles.

I love bicycles, but I love people even more! I believe that this city can
be a better place if everyone used a bike to get around. And I understand
that most people have greater concerns than riding a bike. So I ask myself,
"How can bikes address people's larger concerns?" How can they help
communities with issues about safety, crime, employment, education,
housing, and healthcare, just to name a few. Isn't bicycling in comparison
a concern for those who can afford it?

I believe that bicycles can be part of a simple solution for these complex
issues. Using them as a tool to work with Chicago communities, we address
many of these concerns. This has put more people on bikes to get around and
make the city a better place to live. The work is far from done and we look
forward to the continued use of bikes as our tool. We also look forward to
keeping you updated, informed and engaged with this our newest tool, the
West Town Bikes e-Newsletter!

-Alex Wilson, Founder & Executive Director, West Town Bikes

Our first-ever Annual Report Card
   Youth Programs

The Summer 2014 Bicycle Safety and Repair program yielded the greatest
number of participants in West Town Bikes history. With 14 Apprentices and
15 Interns the program saw fresh faces and experienced ones.  The youth
hosted information tents at community farmers markets as well as managed
our Bicycles Valet Parking Service at local events. They also hosted
mechanic stations, helping other youth learn to fix there own bicycles. We
had several participants that really stood out. Jose is an excellent
example of the many leaders our organization produces. He has been
participating in our programing for the last three years, taking everything
that he learns and putting it into immediate use. As a leader among his
peers, he guides them in their own bicycle build, showing them what they
can do. He has also taken his bicycle mechanic skills to the next level as
an Apprentice at Ciclo Urbano, the West Town Bikes retail shop. Jose has
taken all of our programs and utilized them to the fullest, embodying what
we want for all our youth.

-Lebster Pabon

 Cyclocross Racing Program
   Our program kicks off on September 3rd with a meeting and open discussion
 about who is interested in racing this year. Cyclcoross is a hybrid
between mountain bike and road racing. Chicago has a great local series,
the Chicago Cross Cup
and our first race is in Caldwell Woods
 on September 28th. This program will provide sponsorship, mentorship and
coaching to juniors and young adults that would otherwise not have the
opportunity to participate in cyclocross events. Racing cyclocross requires
fitness and teaches commitment and perseverance. The skills, knowledge and
friendships gained through participation can help form a socially
intelligent and responsible, physically fit, person.  The sport of
cyclocross benefits from our attendance as it creates diversity and new
interest that will help it grow. A few photos from our previous season can
be found here
. I guarantee we will be having a lot of fun!  If you have any questions
about the program or sport, contact Michael Young at
michael at westtownbikes.org or 312-656-1953.
 -Michael Young
   Bike Shop
 We celebrated our 5th year in business back in May! We're are proud to
claim that over half our full-time staff are graduates of WTB youth
programs. Here's what one of our customers, Jose N., said about us recently
on Yelp:

 "Unfortunately, on my first ride this summer, I got stranded with
a non-working bike in the middle of a forest with mosquitoes
voraciously attacking me ... Luckily, I came across Ciclo Urbano. As soon
as I explained my problem, Jean Carlos and Felix knew what was causing it.
Jean Carlos replaced the part within 30 minutes ... He let me watch while
he worked and answered all of my questions. You could tell he loves what
he's doing. He also replaced my rear shifter cable, my chain and adjusted
my brakes for much less than my previous estimates. You could sense the
camaraderie amongst the young mechanics. I love the fact that West Town
Bikes and its store Ciclo Urbano support the youth of the community by
teaching them bicycle repairs. I will definitely return to Ciclo Urbano for
any future repairs and purchases."

Thanks to for the nice review!

-Michael Bush
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West Town Bikes | 2459 W Division St | Chicago | IL | 60622
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