People repair a bike together

Nonprofit bike collective gives back by educating cyclers

By Angel Idowu and Jane Bodmer

One nonprofit bike shop is not only giving back, but also teaching members of its community to be self-sufficient cyclists.

The Recyclery, a nonprofit bike shop in Rogers Park, repairs and donates used bikes to local nonprofits. It also hosts a variety of youth programs and “open shop” hours where community members are free to bring in their bikes and learn to fix them on their own. Through collaboration and education, the Recyclery has become a gathering place for Chicagoans interested in cycling.


The Recyclery is a collective, meaning it has only a few regular employees and relies mainly on volunteers. There are 10 collective members and around 20 regular volunteers.

“We were trying to do something good in the neighborhood that engaged neighbors and brought different people together,” said Jesse Miller, a founding member of the Recyclery.

Photo at top: a volunteer teaches someone to repair their own bike at the Recyclery. (Angel Idowu/MEDILL)