CHICAGO — During the 2020 pandemic, Maxine Aguilar’s friend, who is trans and Black, got their bike stolen. They needed the bike to work but didn’t have money to replace it.
Aguilar, who was working at a bike shop on the North Side, stepped up to help. Customers donated used bikes to the shop, but they needed repairs and just sat in the garage. So Aguilar crowdfunded money to buy parts, repaired a used bike and gave it to their friend.
“They were experiencing a myriad of challenges,” said Aguilar, who is also trans and Black. “I can see how just having a bike can help them have access to employment and transportation and other things that they were disfranchised by.”
That prompted Aguilar, who just graduated from college and returned to Chicago this year, to start the Black Transport Project. The initiative gives away bikes to Black trans people in the Chicago area.
Eligible people who do not have a bike can apply for a free one through this form . They will enter a raffle system, and matched applicants will be paired with a bike that fits their size. Credit: Maxine Aguilar Aguilar, who grew up on the South Side, has been interested in bikes for five years, work at bike shops over the summer until they had to go back to school in the fall.
But Aguilar noticed a lack of Black trans representation in the biking industry, caused by a lack of accessibility to bikes, they said. Not everybody is […]