Why winter is the perfect time to visit your local bike shop

Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to fix your oven or for spring to fix your bike. In winter, workshops can complete repairs/tune-ups fairly quickly, assuming parts are available. Bad weather is the time to visit your local bike shop.

Sixteen Chicago-area stores surveyed reveal tune-ups are now measured in days, with more than half reporting one to three days for turnaround time. As spring approaches, days can turn into weeks.

The typical response from Jeff Provisor, owner of Main Street Bicycles in Carpentersville: “Currently our tune-up time is one to two days on the medium bikes. Last season when March came around, over the month, we were kicked out several more weeks, staying that way most of the summer.”

Nearly 40% of stores mentioned winter tune-up programs, specials or discounts. Service manager Brett Dightman points out that Evanston Wheel & Sprocket is “running our special ‘love your bike’ offer, including labor discounts, through the end of February.”

Sure, promotions intentionally generate more bike repairs, but they only extend the turnaround time by days, not weeks.

Liam Doyle, Service Technician at Winfield’s Prairie Path Cycles, said, “Now is definitely a great time to get out there and get your bike tuned up. We currently have a 48-72 hour turnaround for standard tune ups as we are in the middle of a special service. until the end of the month.”

Some stores add technologies

Jeremy Lamb, owner of Crank Revolution in Hoffman Estates, lists both a base air and a pro air as winter specials with a 24-48 hour lead time.


“As we get closer to the season, we are increasing the staff to keep it at around 72 hours. Many stores end up having one to two weeks for an in-season tune-up.”

Other stores are also hiring more mechanics as needed. Bike rack owner Hal Honeyman in St. Charles said, “I’ve just added two additional bike technicians who will only work on tune-ups, stored in the back without interruption” from customers.

Honeyman offers subtlety in discussing service turnaround time.

“We always have space in the system for customers who ride every day or have trips planned. We can also reserve a space for the bike to enter and exit on the same day.”

Translation: Make friends with your local bike shop.

International Women’s Day Rides

Cyclists from the Highland Park Women’s Group Trek Bicycle Store stop at the women-owned Stompin’ Ground Cafe in Lake Zurich on International Women’s Day 2021, Together We Ride.
– Courtesy of Sheri Rosenbaum

The third annual Together We Ride International Women’s Day event runs from March 5-8 with several activities planned for the Chicago area.

Elmhurst Bicycle Club (EBC) is hosting its 25 Mile on Saturday March 5, led by Kelli Morgan, Newsletter Editor and Race Manager. Cyclists will gather at 10 a.m. behind Whole Foods on West Avenue and cycle to Wheaton’s My Half of the Sky, a social justice cafe.

In its third year, Morgan notes that it will definitely be a mixed group.

“We have a lot of riders supporting each other and a lot of men who want more women to ride.”

Morgan said it was not necessary to register. “Just give me a heads up, cause I’m working on giveaways.”

Everyone is welcome to the Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club event on Sunday, March 6, the club’s second IWD ride. The 50 km (31 mile) no-drop ride begins at 9 a.m. from the Batavia River Walk parking lot.

Sheri Rosenbaum, manager of the Highland Park women’s group Trek bike shop, will host a 10 a.m. ride on March 5 from the store, as well as a 6 a.m. Zwift ride on March 8 on International Day. of the woman.

A global movement

Not just local rides, IWD’s “Together We Ride” involves impressive global participation. Ridership for 2021 has grown from 18 states to 33 and from four countries to 11 since its debut.

Dawn Piech, Lombard physiotherapist, long-distance cyclist and member of the EBC, founded this event in 2020.

“I’m overwhelmed with how it’s taken off, not just locally, but globally. In 2021, amid the pandemic, we nearly tripled participation. As the world embraced cycling as a way healthy and safe to enjoy the outdoors, our Empowerment Platoon has grown to nearly 800 cyclists worldwide,” said Piech.

As a board member of Randonneurs USA, dedicated to unassisted endurance cycling, Piech promotes long-distance rides across the country. This year, 16 regions will host 22 IWD events with lengths ranging from 100K to 400K (62 to 248 miles).

2021 Grand Illinois Bike Tour rider crossing Lockmann Road Bridge on Madison County trails.

2021 Grand Illinois Bike Tour rider crossing Lockmann Road Bridge on Madison County trails.
– Courtesy of Ride Illinois

All event participants are encouraged to share their summaries and photos on the public Facebook group (International Women’s Day Together We Ride Bike Ride), Instagram (#togetherweride1) and Twitter (@TogetherWeRide3).

The IWD Together We Ride event is the initial activity involved with Inspyrd Movement™, a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) organization also founded by Piech.

Dedicated to inspiring individuals to elevate diversity, equity and inclusion, he advocates for positive social change by creating a more equitable world through movement.

Cycling shorts

Warmer times are coming. If, like me, you dream of future adventures, consider the Grand Illinois Bike Tour June 12-17. Limited to the first 250 runners registered, it is already two-thirds full.

Sponsored by Ride Illinois, the statewide nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization, GIBT 2022 begins and ends in McLean County’s Comlara Park with overnight camping or hotel stays in East Peoria, Normal (two nights) and Pontiac (two). As its largest annual fundraiser, GIBT enables Ride Illinois to improve Illinois through bicycling.

Like previous tours, the 19th edition traces generally quiet rural roads and trails. Distances vary daily. Riders choose basic routes of 40 miles or longer 50-70 miles.

Registration includes accommodation, breakfasts, dinners, daily showers, luggage transport, emergency SAG assistance and refueling stops. Accommodation alternatives include camping in the city park and hotels, which fill up quickly. Visit Ride Illinois for more details, volunteer discounts and to register.

• Join the ride. Contact Ralph Banasiak at [email protected]