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

Bicycle accident lawyer group riding in COVID
Kurt Holzer May 15, 2020

Idaho’s Governor Little has issued the State’s planned staged transition away from his Stay-at-Home health order.  Road cyclists continue to wonder how we should engage in group riding under COVID. As a bicycle accident lawyer who deals with the negative aspects of cycling, I have been thinking a lot about when and how to ride safely […]

Read More
Felix Mayer Cyclist killed by car. NO VRU law
Bruce Hagen Apr 30, 2020

On May 1, 2020, the City of Dunwoody’s new Vulnerable Road User (“VRU”) ordinance will take effect, the first such law to be enacted anywhere in the State of Georgia.  Hopefully neighboring municipalities like Sandy Springs, Roswell and Chamblee will follow suit, and more importantly, the State of Georgia.   VRU laws recognize and prioritize […]

Read More
Minnesota Cycling
Daniel Brazil Apr 23, 2020

On March 6, Minneapolis released a 252-page Transportation Action Plan. The plan’s ultimate goal is to expand transportation options for those walking, biking and taking public transit to get where they need to go.  Through this expansion, Minneapolis hopes to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. One of the […]

Read More
Bike to Work Corona
Daniel Brazil Apr 14, 2020

Not long ago, I published a post highlighting the great efforts being made by the co-chairs of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition. One of the co-chairs, Andy Singer, has garnered attention not just for his work for the Coalition but for his policy-based cartoons.  I asked Andy if he’d oblige to another interview to highlight […]

Read More
Peter's Bike Tools
Peter Wilborn Apr 13, 2020

I love bikes as much as I love cycling. To me, a bike is moving sculpture, perfected technology, and gorgeous industrial design. In these lock-down days, I am out in the garage fiddling with my bikes.  Tuning them up, and overhauling one or two. Which got me thinking of bike tools.  And the ones I […]

Read More
Daniel Brazil Apr 07, 2020

Cyclists & Pedestrians Are Overrepresented in Crashes According to city data, an average of 95 people are killed or severely injured in Minneapolis each year. Cyclists and pedestrians make up 45% of those severe injuries and deaths. These groups are overrepresented in these crashes, as they only make up 19% of total trips in Minneapolis. […]

Read More
Load More