Community Connections

This page highlights the projects, events, and relationships we’re investing in to create a more connected and progressive bicycle infrastructure in our city.

Hi there. This is Robbie, the owner. Just a quick thing to sort of explain where all this is coming from. I’ve lived a financially precarious life in adulthood. I’ve squatted. I’ve been on SNAP several winters. I’ve been late on rent almost as frequently as not, slept on porches, sold my only valuable possessions many times over, worked under the table for years. My early childhood as well was one of poverty, broken family, shelter instability, fear, and violence. That changed when I was adopted, but even at 32 I feel a strong connection to those situations I recall. Not overlooking certain privileges I probably benefitted from, credit where it is due, being adopted has shaped me as a person in a way that wouldn’t have been possible had I not been snatched from a dangerous situation. I would like to project through my business the concepts of stewardship and hard work, concepts which I learned from my adoptive family.



Primary: Our Repair Fund

I want to keep it accessible to those who are struggling with money, for whatever reason, so I developed this fund.

At first the tune up fund was unofficial and run on a GoFundme page. After two cycles, my accountant gave me some advice and I moved it to a more transparent system through which you can contribute, though you can also give informally as well. Your name will be listed on the embedded spreadsheet below to record that you have contributed. Otherwise, if you buy an e-gift card, you must use this link, send me the redemption at itswheelsimple@gmail.com, and anytime your gift card balance is used to assist someone, a real receipt will be saved, and you can aslo check your balance electronically to see its usage as well.

Read more about it below.

How does it work?

If I am dealing with a customer and they really seem to rely on a bicycle that needs essentially way more work than this person can afford, I may offer to cover the remainder of the bill with funds from this project.

What occurs next is that I have them pay their portion of the invoice and then use gift cards from our last gift card fundraiser to cover the rest. These tickets obviously do not have the possibility for tipping. The receipts are printed and placed within a signed form which the client has read and filled out, verifying that they’d received service and/or products purchased totally or partially with community tune up gift card balances. The person who bought the gift card may get an email notification or a call from me letting them know their money has gone to assist someone, or they can just look up the receipts using their redemption code.

I do not limit how many times a person may benefit from this assistance unless they have attempted to game the system or been disrespectful to myself or my staff.

Why isn’t this sort of thing done with the profits that occur through normal course of business?

Long answer short, this shop needs to keep all of the profits it can to secure for itself a long tenure in the community.

how do we stay informed?

Below are live Google Sheets summarizing ongoing and all funds raised once our gift card system kicked in. They tell us what kind of things are getting waived, or comped, and how much. I only use partial names on the Sheet and don’t really post pictures of beneficiaries unless they are ok with it. This is just to show a bit of transparency.

When can i “contribute?”

Use this link to contribute in any amount. Make sure to make the shop the recipient, itswheelsimple@gmail.com so that I get the redemption code and use it to apply balances to assist people! You can also contribute informally in cash or in the shop, but there will be much less transparency. It’s up to you.

My hope is that more shops see that it can be profitable to help people and copy this in some way, creating a network across the city. Stuff like this is bike infrastructure too.

What this isn’t

It’s not a charity. Wheel Simple is not a 501c(3) organization. This is a business.

Live Google Sheets

2022 Summer & Fall $1740

2021/2022 Winter/spring $1140.55

Spring/Summer 2021 $2,333.16 raised

Fall/Winter 2020 $1825 raised


Bicycle program

I don’t really have one, but I do accept bicycle donations from the community. I think this is pretty typical of most bicycle shops. Basically, if you have a bicycle you don’t want, you can definitely ask me to fix it up and give it away! I haven’t yet developed a good way for recording this or hyping it. It’s in the works though.


Learnin’ bikes!

Yes! I share bike repair knowledge!

Private sessions

One student at a time I will teach bike repair and maintenance based on whatever project you bring here to the shop – anything from a simple flat fixe to wheel building to aligning frames or bleeding brakes. My rate is $25/hour. You can approach me directly through email at itswheelsimple@gmail.com.

Bicycle mechanics series!

In the Spring of 2023 I will be partnering with Rag & Bones Bicycle Cooperative to bring a season long repair class to the North Ave. corridor of Brookland Park in North Side. Small groups will be able to learn about working on bicycles starting with beginner level tasks, moving on to much more advanced level repairs which would even be done at pro level shops. If you are trying to get a job at a shop, this might be a really really smart first step. Each student will donate between $15 and $25 per session, all of which goes to the Coop. Workshop scheduling will be posted on both of our websites when finalized. If the upbeat setting of Rag & Bone’s DIY style open hours seems a little too intense, or lacking in guidance for your level of knowledge, consider signing up for these more specific sessions. Seeya in the Spring!


Free public repair stands

We are set to install the first free public bicycle repair stand in Jefferson Park before the year is out! I want to make it easier for people to handle smaller maintenance and repair on their own! I’m even writing a guide to be tethered to the stand for those who can’t scan a QR code!

The second stand may go to Rag & Bones Bicycle Cooperative, or it may go in Petronius Jones park in Randolph! stay tuned!