Word of mouth bike shop offers repairs, space included

While garages are often a place where lots of bikes are stored, waiting to see the light of day, that’s not the case with Flowers Luna’s garage.

Luna, an Evanston resident for seven years, has been building and repairing bikes and teaching mechanics for 15 years. They now own Luna Alley Bike Shop in southwest Evanston, a full-service business they run from their garage.

Luna flowers. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Luna previously worked at the Recyclery Collective in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, an organization that works to create “self-driving cyclists” by teaching people how to fix their own bikes. Luna taught Spanish and mechanics at La Recyclerie and served on the board of directors.

After moving into the social services field for a while, Luna’s youngest child was born in 2018, so they decided to take some time off and be a stay-at-home parent. At the end of 2020, Luna began to replenish the shop. They were fixing bikes for their family and a few friends, so they thought of expanding and creating an inclusive space in Evanston for cyclists.

“It was an intentional decision on my part to work in my garage,” Luna said. They work 20 to 40 hours a week repairing bicycles.

Luna Alley Bike Shop, for the most part, is word of mouth. Luna recently launched a website for her labor services, but would like to keep the business small as they are still a full time stay-at-home parent, “I love being a little hidden bike shop in Evanston,” they said. .

While Luna is working in their garage, passers-by often ask about their business.

“People are really having fun, they see me and ask me questions and think it’s really cool,” they said.

Flowers Luna runs Luna Alley Bike Shop from her garage. (Photo by Sam Stroozas)

Luna, a non-binary queer Mexican resident of Evanston, wants her business to be accessible and accessible to all Evanston residents.

“It’s really important to me that people feel comfortable, especially in places where gay people are generally not comfortable,” they said. “I want people to not have to worry about it being a macho or aggressive space, they lead the conversation, and it’s okay not to know what’s going on with your bike.”

Luna’s approach is to work with customers and include them in the repair process. Customers book an appointment online and describe what’s wrong with their bike and can include photos, Luna then contacts via email and customers decide on a return time.

Some people ride or walk their bikes – Luna hopes to develop a mobile unit in the coming years to help with hard-to-carry bikes. They are usually done with the repairs in two to six days.

As Luna Alley Bike Shop grows, Luna wants to create a storefront and educational space to teach customers how to fix their own bikes.

“It’s not a monetary transaction, it’s all about knowledge and experience,” they said, describing the bike shop. “If someone loves their bike, I love it too.”