Park Ridge biking enthusiasts will have a local bike shop again, later this year, with the announced opening of a Wheel & Sprocket store in the Village Green Shopping Center, projected for this spring.
It will be the retailer’s third Chicago area location joining Oak Park and Evanston. The 48-year-old family-owned bicycle retailer has 10 locations throughout the region.
“Park Ridge was the perfect opportunity to open our next store because of the supportive bike and business community,” said Noel Kegel, president and co-owner of Wheel & Sprocket. “We look forward to becoming actively involved with the Park Ridge and surrounding communities to meet their biking needs.”
The city had lost long-time bike dealers in South Park and Bob’s Bike Shop, which closed several years ago on Vine Street near City Hall.
“I couldn’t be more excited to hear that Wheel & Sprocket had selected Park Ridge as the site for a new location,” said Marty Maloney, Park Ridge mayor. “We have seen such an increase in the number of people cycling in town over the last couple of years and one of the things I have consistently heard is the desire for a local bike shop. To have such a prominent company like Wheel & Sprocket choose Park Ridge says a lot for our city and the cyclists in it.”
Park Ridge benefited from its Bike Task Force, which made headway for two years in identifying and updating bike routes through the city, getting bike racks installed in Uptown and South Park, and advocating for developing links to other area bike trails. Members have continued to advocate bike-friendly projects, individually and as members of other local groups since the task force officially was retired.
A proposal for a “bike diet” from Hinkley Park to Dempster along Busse Highway was discussed several years ago which would have gone past the Busse side of Village Green.
The new Wheel & Sprocket Park Ridge in the Village Green Shopping Center, 672 Northwest Hwy., will include a full selection of bikes and accessories for all types of riders. The service department will offer complete maintenance and repairs on every type of bike.
The company is one of Trek’s top national bike retailers and carries a compliment of other brands including Electra, Giant, Liv, Salsa, Surly, and All-City brands. The store will include many specialty bikes such as trikes, recumbents, and cargo bikes.
Wheel & Sprocket has been an early adopter of electric bikes, gaining an expertise that has made them one of the country’s top shops for eBikes.
“Electric bikes are a game-changer to riders and the industry,” said Noel Kegel. “The Park Ridge store will be a destination location for eBike sales and service.”
“We’re going through a transformation with so many types of people discovering how bikes can change their lives and better our community,” said Amelia Kegel, vice president and co-owner. “Our company is committed to supporting Park Ridge and the surrounding community to create better and safer places to ride.”
Wheel & Sprocket has a long history of bike advocacy, including partnering with the Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance. The family had set up the Chris Kegel Foundation (CKF) in 2017 after the death of their father and former owner Chris Kegel, which supports bike infrastructure projects. CKF funded bike repair stations and racks around their stores in Evanston, Oak Park, and River Forest neighborhoods.
“We’re thrilled to hear that Wheel & Sprocket is opening a new location in Park Ridge, where biking has seen a surge in recent months,” said Heather Schady, senior transportation planner at the Active Transportation Alliance, a nonprofit that works to improve walking, biking, and public transit in the Chicago region. “Park Ridge has many things going for it — many bikeable streets and a plan for more bicycling improvements, close proximity to the Des Plaines River Trail, and a dedicated community of bike advocates.”
The Park Ridge store plans to employ about 20 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees including a store manager and service managers.