Chicago’s Pedal to the People proprietor Adam Clark had an epiphany back in 2001. He sold his ’89 Plymouth Horizon and started pedaling to work every morning as the sun rose in the east. “I felt much more alive and empowered,” remembers Adam. Since that summer, he has followed many paths but bicycles have remained constant in his life. He spent years as a bike messenger on the streets of Chicago before pursuing a bike mechanic certification from the United Bicycle Institute. With a certificate in hand, he launched his Pedal to the People mobile mechanic business which services the Windy City neighborhoods from Rogers Park to Hyde Park and over to Pulaski.
Adam’s experience of the city on a bike is one that he wants to share. He started Pedal to the People as a way to promote and encourage cycling. Adam is proving that it’s possible to successfully run a car-free business and he is making it incredibly easy for his patrons to keep their bikes in good working order.
In addition to his 10 mile daily commute to work, Adam logs up to 20 miles pulling his custom 250 pound trailer directly to his customers’ homes and offices (year-round!). When asked if he was active in any advocacy work, Adam modestly said that his “advocacy work is simply riding my bike every day.” Clearly he underestimates his impact. Aside from providing his mobile service, Adam always encourages his customers to watch, learn and ask questions while he wrenches on their bikes. He also generously offers advice about bike products and commuting. His enthusiasm for biking in the city is contagious and his message to would-be cyclists is “You can do it! I will help you! I love you!”
If you have a little more time to spare, check out Adam’s appearance on the Craftsman Down & Dirty radio show.