Working Bikes rescues discarded bicycles and gives them new life by redistributing them as tools of empowerment in local and global communities.


Countless bicycles are discarded or sit unused in garages in the United States every year. But in a developing country a bicycle can truly change the life of an individual, their family and their community. Bicycling is, of course, a form of transportation. But bicycles are also used for towing cargo, and even as a source of electricity through the creation of pedal-powered machines. In areas plagued by poverty, high levels of unemployment and lack of reliable, accessible transportation, a bicycle can help provide access to jobs, education, medical attention, and other resources.

Global Impact:  Working Bikes ships thousands of bicycles each year to our partners in countries throughout Latin America and Africa, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Uganda, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Ghana.

Local Impact:  Working Bikes donates to individuals and partner organizations here in Chicago, providing transportation to people in homeless transition, refugee resettlement, and youth empowerment programs in our own community.

Working Bikes donates over 6000 bicycles each year to our international and local partners.


Working Bikes is a 501(c)3 organization that was started in 1999 by Lee Ravenscroft, Amy Little and a group of volunteers dedicated to recycling bikes, supporting bike culture, and helping international and local projects. Since its inception, Working Bikes has recovered tens of thousands of discarded and donated bicycles from Chicago and the Midwest, and has redistributed more than 45,000 of them worldwide.



Working Bikes is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors.  Directors are elected by Working Bikes Members at our Annual Meeting in February and serve 2 year terms.  To view Working Bikes bylaws, click here.

For tax filings, visit Working Bikes’ entry on GuideStar.

Website Credits

Working Bikes would like to thank Creative Go-Around for designing this website, Fmondragon Creative Studios for developing it, and Lieutenant of BluTint Photography for providing many of the photographs.

Where Do Our Bikes Come From?

Working Bikes is able to do the work we do because of the generous support of hundreds of individual donors, recycle event organizers, and our bicycle drop off locations. A big big big thank you to all of these wonderful people, some of whom are listed below.

Chicagoland Environmental Network

SCARCESchool & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education

Beverly Bike and Ski

Newleaf Natural Grocery

Village CycleSport in Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village, & Barrington

Bloomington Cycle and Fitness

Higher Gear in Wilmette & Highland Park

Trek Bicycle Store in Naperville

Trek Bicycle Store in Highland Park

RRB Cycles, Ltd. in Kennilworth & Lake Geneva

The Wheel Thing

Libertyville Cyclery, The Cyclery, & George Garner Cyclery

Bicycles Etc. in Naperville & Lisle

Prospect Bikes & Trains

Mill Race Cyclery

Hobbs Brooke Management

Rockford Bicycle Company

Green Bay Cycles

Debbie’s Designs Florist and Gifts

Summit City

Cycle Smithy

L.L. Bean South Barrington

Glenview Cycle

Real Life Weddings

Sarah Schmidt

Jim Short

Kevin Cornett

Richard Atwell

Carol & Brian

Jack Millerick

Paul Fitzgerald

Christopher Smit

James Presley

Gary VanDeVusse

Dave Mauger

Barbara Hackel

Gary Gilbert

George Evans

Eric Wood

Laurette Grove

Dan Thompson

Rich Carriel

Jenny McBride

Kevin Cornett

Richard Atwell

Carol & Brian

Jack Millerick

Paul Fitzgerald

Christopher Smit

James Presley

Alan Lloyd

Lee Ravenscroft & Amy Little