Sunday, May 3, 2009
West Town Bikes has found a new home at 2459 W. Division, just west of Western at the eastern end of Paseo Boricua. Hundreds of urban bikers, youth and residents of West Town and Humboldt Park turned out on Friday night to celebrate the grand opening of the new space, which will house a retail store as well as more space for West Town's well-known workshops in bike mechanics and training programs for youth in bike repair and safety while riding.
Longtime educator, advocate of Puerto Rican independence, and neighborhood leader Jose Lopez spoke during the opening ceremonies, welcoming Ciclo Urbano to the neighborhood and emphasizing how the new venture builds on the existing community. "Ciclo Urbano...is the very idea we can incorporate bicycling into Fiesta Boricua. We can integrate the experience of bicycling with tours of our murals." Lopez reminded the crowd that building community "cannot be [done] by erasing our history, erasing our murals, erasing and criminalizing our youth. ... There's a different way to build community."
Photo by Antonio Figueroa.
West Town Bikes has shown the way, bringing together a diverse group of bicyclists and reaching out to youth in underserved communities. Plus, they know how to throw a great party. Watch for more sights--and great sounds--from the opening festivites over at the New Communities Program web site.