02

Blog

Chicago Bike Shop Continues Fight Against Wealthy Condo Owners

Big City Bikes

Bike City Bikes, Courtesy Google Street View, November 2015

 

There are things the world needs less of.  Poverty.  Traffic.  Condominiums.

Bike shops would not make the list.  Fixers and sellers of bicycles are folks who only the most irascible curmudgeon would wish to see fewer in number.  Yet, battle lines have been drawn in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood between the owners of high end condominiums and a bike shop owner whose store occupies the ground floor of the building.  Recently I spoke with the owner of Big City Bikes, Saurabh Patel, who is fighting for his shop’s financial life.  Before opening Big City in the summer of 2015, Saurabh asked the residential owners of the building at 2425 North Ashland Avenue to remove awnings in front of the commercial space.  He wanted the awnings gone in order to enhance the visibility of his shop’s signage.  Also, he felt that they were in disrepair, creating a safety hazard.  The residents, through their condo association refused.  Saurabh hired an attorney to make sure that he was within his rights to go ahead and remove the awnings.  He was, so he did.  The condominium residents sued him, threatening the shop’s existence.  The matter is presently pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  Saurabh’s attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the case and both sides are presently submitting written briefs.  The circuit court’s website does not state a hearing date for the dismissal motion, but it appears that all briefs have now been submitted to the court.  It seems likely that the judge will render a decision sometime this summer.

Big City Bikes’s focus is on single and fixed gear bikes that students and other young adults with modest budgets can afford.  The retail shop remains open for business.  But it is a struggle.  In January DNAinfo.com profiled the shop and its current legal troubles.  Saurabh told me that he appreciated the publicity but that despite the media outlet’s good intentions, the story gave the impression that Big City is closing.  “We’re not shutting down,” Saurabh said.  “We’re still open for business.”  The legal bills are taking a big toll though.  Though he and his attorneys feel confident that they are in the right, it is costing a lot of money to prove it.  He has had to pay his attorney thousands to defend his rights.  That’s a rough start for any new business, let alone a bike shop where profit margins are modest.

Through all of this Saurabh remains hopeful.  His primary reason for contacting me (our law firm has no involvement in the case) was to say that Big City will continue.  How many folks would have caved in to the wealthy condo owners?  Saurabh vows to fight on to continue living his dream of owning and running a bike shop.

Comments

Women on Bikes Rachael
Peter Wilborn Oct 11, 2020

Rachael Maney is the Director of the Bike Law Network and of the non-profit Bike Law Foundation. As most of you know, she has spent the last two weeks on these pages profiling 16 Women on Bikes leading up to yesterday’s inaugural Women’s Cycling Day. If you haven’t yet, read her profiles of and conversations with […]

Read More
Heather Jackson Dusk and Dawn
Rachael Maney Oct 10, 2020

If I didn’t know her parents well, I would put Heather Jackson on top of a podium so tall that it would be hard for her to climb down. (That’s not a dig at her height, by the way. There’s no one as mighty — she probably gets that from her mother, too.) Her mom, […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Timberley
Rachael Maney Oct 09, 2020

We tend to take for granted the things and people that are always around. Some of that is normal — an unfortunate part of being human — and some of it is willfully ignorant but can be remedied the moment we decide to see and appreciate more, and see them more clearly. The Invisible Cyclist […]

Read More
E681DE6B E273 4651 9881 1200592DFFE8
Rachael Maney Oct 08, 2020

When I began compiling a list of Women on Bikes who’ve made invaluable positive contributions to our cycling community, I realized how lucky I am to be in the unique position of aspiring to, knowing, and riding and working closely with so many different SPOKESwomen. The women attorneys in the Bike Law Network and the […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Charleston Moves
Rachael Maney Oct 05, 2020

It’s not everyday that a small non-profit organization — and by small I don’t mean in stature or accomplishment but rather the number of working staff that can be counted with two fingers — in Charleston, SC gets a U.S. Senator to help secure $18.1M from the Federal DOT for a bicycle and pedestrian lane […]

Read More
Women on Bikes Bike Law
Rachael Maney Oct 04, 2020

There’s something magical about this time of year for most competitive long course triathletes. While it’s an honor earned by/bestowed upon a relative few, there is a powerful experience to be had, even as a spectator or supporting member of the racing athlete’s team or crew. For the elite age-group participant, the Ironman World Championships […]

Read More
Load More