ALBANY PARK — A women-led bicycle club is hosting a summer ride this Wednesday, offering cyclists a chance to meet new riders.
Bikes N’ Roses is a nonprofit, youth-focused bike shop with locations in Albany Park and Belmont Cragin. The shop offers programing to show kids how biking can benefit them and Chicago communities.
“We really have all these different programs that run throughout the year. Either summer or after school programs, for youth ages eight or nine. Though some of our groups go all the way up through 18 years old,” Erin Scheffler, one of the shop’s youth instructors, said.
“We get youths into our shop, we teach them bike mechanics and how to run a bicycle shop. How to be more confident, sort of take initiative, feel good about the work you do, and see results.”
The shop is also home to a women focused bike club called the Rose Pedals of BNR. Both Scheffler and Junella Gabriel, a volunteer at the shop, are members of the club and are coordinating Wednesday’s group ride.
Wednesday’s ride is a part of the summer series that the Rose Pedals organized since June. It departs from the the Albany Park shop at 4747 N. Sawyer Ave. at 6:15 p.m.
“We decided to do something a little playful with the group rides and get more women involved since in some groups bicycling can be sort of dominated by men, or we don’t see as often women in those spaces,” Scheffler said. “So, we wanted to make it a more inclusive space where women could show up, and enjoy themselves, meet other women who are cyclists, and feel good about that.”
Previous rides have gone to Lickity Split Frozen Custard & Sweets and La Michoacana and have toured the North Branch and North Shore Channel trails. Cyclists who want to join the ride are being asked to bring a helmet and lock.
“We’ve actually done the women’s bike club since last year in September, and that’s when it was more youth focused,” Scheffler said. “But since a lot of youth are out of school, and they’re doing other jobs, we’ve had more of our mentors come in and women over 18 come in for the group rides, and that’s really what is going on this summer.”
Last week Bikes N’ Roses also hosted a new event at the Albany Park location where cyclists could drop by and learn more about how to maintain their bikes like fixing a flat, changing an inner tube, adjusting the brakes and checking the chain for wear.
“We were testing it out. It was like a shop night or shop demo night, through the Rose Pedals, and we wanted to just get some really basic mechanics out there,” Scheffler said. “Things that you should be doing after every ride essentially. So, we wanted to make that easier for people, and build that confidence without bringing the bike into the shop every time something goes wrong.”
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