Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl cut the ribbon Thursday to officially launch the city’s newest bike shop, Wheel & Sprocket, located at 1027 Davis St.

On hand for the opening at the former location of Ten27 Cycles, was 4th Ward Alderman Don Wilson and Chris Kegel, the store’s sole owner and president, who started out as a bicycle mechanic just two weeks after the company’s first store opened in Hales Corners, Wis., in 1973.

Since then, according to the company’s website, Kegel has worked in every position, from sales to management to cleaning bathrooms. Eventually he became a partner and then bought the company in 1989.

He said that Evanston is a great cycling town that considers the needs of its cyclists seriously.

Patrons inspect the store’s interior after the official ribbon-cutting.

In fact, as part of Friday’s opening ceremonies, Evanston’s Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation, Jim Maiworm, delivered a presentation about the city’s new bike plan, including the extension of bike lanes from downtown to McCormick Boulevard, along Church Street.

When entering a new market, Kegel said he prefers to acquire an existing store, such as Ten27 Cycles, rather than attempting to compete with stores that are already there.

He said he knew both partners of Ten27 and was pleased that one of them, Chris Mailing, agreed to stay on as manager of the new store, as did several of the employees.

In addition to the new Evanston store, Wheel & Sprocket has four stores in the Milwaukee area and two in the Fox Valley.

Top: Mayor Tisdahl and owner Kegel cut the ceremonial ribbon as store manager Mailing looks on.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Welcome to Evanston W&S! 

    Welcome to Evanston W&S!  I've been a satisfied customer for Nordic Ski's and equipment at your Delafield, WI location and am happy to see you enter the market here.

  2. Judy Fiske, enemy of bicycle stores

    It's nice to see a new business opening. I hope that they do well.

    Unfortunately, one of their neighbors – Judy Fiske , who runs a nearby store and happens to be an alderman, is creating an unfriendly enviroment for businesses – in particular bike stores.


    Well, Judy has tried to stop downtown residential development.  More downtown residents would mean more people shopping in stores – grocery stores, restaurants, CVS, bicycles, GAP, whatever…

    more people=more customers

    What does that have to do with bicycles , specifically?

    In addition to her general dislike of residential development, Judy has a particular dislike for the kind of people that are likely to be shopping for bicycles:   young people ( like students or downtown renters), and people who don't live in R1 detached houses.  Judy prefers the minivan and Volvo set….but others aren't welcome.  

    In particular, Judy doesn't like Northwestern students – who often ride bikes.

    Are there other ways that Judy harasses cyclists?

    Yes, there are.  For example, readers of Evanston Now may remember this story from December 2009, 

    "Alderman targets bikes" :

    Fiske, who says she was shaken up some weeks back when she was hit by a bicycle as she stood in Davis Street downtown, said the way things are now people could get hit and have no way to identify the bike that hit them.

    Fiske raised the issue after one resident, Bob Atkins, the president of Northwestern Neighbors, complained that police weren't enforcing a ban on bike riding on the sidewalks of Foster Street between Sheridan Road and Maple Avenue, something Atkins said residents fought to get and a rule he said Northwestern students regularly ignore.

    See?  Northwestern again.  Riding bikes on the sidewalks isn't the real issue…it's just that we don't like Northwestern.  [ Bob Atkins is listed as a contributor to Citizens for Judy Fiske]

    And then there is this story about Judy Fiske and  the annual bicycle race  from the Sun Times/Northbrook Star, March 29 2012:

    Following last year’s race, Alderman Judy Fiske, whose 1st Ward includes a portion of downtown, asked officials to look at the impact of the race on downtown businesses, because several streets are closed off for the event.

    Some merchants occasionally would express concerns, but businesses along the race course, as well as the downtown restaurants, “did very well and were hugely supportive,” Mailing said. “Many restaurants put on extra staff that day. We figured we generated something like 10,000 restaurant meals,” with “something like two-thirds of the spectators saying they had their meal out when watching the race.”

    So there…the bike race generates visitors and business for Evanston. 

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