Slow Roll Chicago is a bicycle movement. We ride bikes to make our neighborhoods better. This is why we exist. This is why we ride.
Slow Roll Chicago’s vision is equal bicycle usage across the City of Chicago with respect to race, income and neighborhood. We envision bicycles as a form of effective transportation, contributing to reducing violence, improving health, creating jobs and ultimately making our neighborhoods more livable. Slow Roll Chicago’s mission is to connect a diverse group of people who utilize bikes and the activity of cycling as vehicles for social justice and social change, transforming lives and improving the condition of our communities by organizing community bicycle rides, advocating for bicycle equity and implementing cycling-related programs throughout Chicago. Slow Roll Chicago’s target audience is people of color, low- to moderate-income people, primarily serving neighborhoods on the Southside and Westside of Chicago.
Slow Roll Chicago seeks to address the problem of bicycle inequity in Chicago. This problem is exemplified in the inequitable distribution of bicycle resources in Chicago, as well as the exclusion of people of color and low- to moderate-income people from the broader Chicago cycling and transportation advocacy communities. In addition, Slow Roll Chicago seeks to contribute to reducing violence, improving health and creating jobs in our neighborhoods. Low- to moderate-income, communities of color are the most adversely, disproportionately impacted by many forms of inequities, such as lack of access to mobility, healthcare disparities, unemployment, poverty, poor education, poor quality of life, lack of access to healthy foods, and disproportionately impacted by police violence, traffic violence and interpersonal, gun violence.
Signature Ride Series: Slow Roll Chicago’s primary thrust as an organization is our Signature Ride Series, riding weekly during our ride season from May to September. Each ride is neighborhood-based and hosted in partnership with community-based organizations. Every ride is thematic and explicitly designed to serve as a vehicle for social justice and social change. The rides incorporate neighborhood outreach, community partners and a route to express a mobil story on bikes. The ride highlights the beauty or the challenges which exist on the South and West sides of Chicago.
Bicycle Advocacy: Slow Roll Chicago advocates on behalf of communities of color and low- to moderate-income communities for three public commitments here in Chicago from local, state, and federal policymakers:
- Bicycle equity as the equitable distribution of bicycle resources (funding, protected bike lanes, Divvy stations, other infrastructure, programs, services, etc.) to communities which need them the most and which can benefit from them the most. In Chicago, these are communities of color and low- to moderate-income communities on the Southside and Westside of our city.
- Community ownership of the transportation planning process, creating meaningful community engagement opportunities for neighborhood residents to express an authentic voice in the decision-making process surrounding transportation infrastructure projects in their neighborhoods.
- Respect for the current needs, culture, and history in neighborhoods today, in order to achieve greater engagement and investment from residents who live there now.
Community: Create community by connecting communities across racial, geographical and social divides.
Culture: Build an equitable, diverse, and inclusive bicycle culture in Chicago. Establish a vibrant bicycle culture in communities of color and low- to moderate-income neighborhoods on the Southside and Westside of Chicago.
Context: Host neighborhood-based, thematic, community bicycle rides in partnership with community organizations. Host group bike rides as vehicles to explore the beauty and the challenges which exist in our neighborhoods.
Clarity: Express in consistent, inspiring and clear terms who we are, what we do and why we do it. Slow Roll Chicago is a bicycle movement. We ride bikes to make our neighborhoods better.
The Slow Roll Chicago Capacity Building Campaign
After being founded in 2014, Slow Roll Chicago is currently undergoing an extensive strategic planning and organizational development process. For the first time, Slow Roll Chicago now has an Interim Executive Director, longtime volunteer and ride season manager Romina Castillo. This online, crowdfunding campaign is primarily focused on intentionally, deliberately moving Slow Roll Chicago from a volunteer-driven, grassroots organization to a financially sound, well funded, adequately staffed and properly managed organization, while still staying passionately true to our original purpose statement, mission, vision and continuing to serve our target audience.
The $85,000 Goal
- Staffing: Hire a full time Executive Director with a competitive salary and benefits.
- Professional Services: Contract for professional services, such as accounting, legal, branding, printing and travel.
- Online Services: Purchase online services, such as website domain registration, website hosting, email newsletter, file storage, productivity software subscriptions and accounting software subscription.
- Loaner Bike Fleet and Accessories: Re-establish our full fleet of 100 loaner bikes and accessories (helmets, lights and locks), as well as the the necessary parts, tools, equipment and supplies to manage the loaner fleet and our ride series.
- Equipment & Supplies: Acquire the necessary office equipment and supplies to effectively manage Slow Roll Chicago, our full ride season, our bicycle advocacy work and other strategic projects.
The +$150,000 Long Term Stretch Goal
Three-Year Roadmap to Financial Sustainability: We are not content with the annual grind of fundraising and being susceptible to the evolving priorities of traditional philanthropy. While we certainly respect the philanthropic and business community and their support of our movement, we are intensely interested in serving as the controllers of our own fundraising fate. To this end, Slow Roll Chicago is developing a three-year roadmap to financial sustainability. This roadmap will include, though not limited to, the creation of a for-profit social enterprise with two vital aims: financially support Slow Roll Chicago and generate job opportunities in our target neighborhoods.
Additional Staffing Capacity: Our movement exists to transform lives and improve the condition of communities. We ride bicycles to reduce violence, improve health and create jobs. Inspired by this intent, we are actively working to grow the organization’s capacity in order to effectively develop, organize and execute our weekly Signature Ride Series. Our movement is complementing our citywide strategy with a hyper-local, neighborhood-focused, concentrated engagement strategy. In addition, our movement will grow our bicycle advocacy work and campaigns, both citywide and at the hyper-local, neighborhood level. Our weekly Signature Ride Series, hyper-local engagement strategy and increased focus on bicycle advocacy are all centered around creating a bicycle culture where none previously existed and significantly increasing bicycle mode share in communities of color on the Southside and Westside of Chicago. This long term goal requires additional staffing capacity at Slow Roll Chicago, such as a Ride Season Manager, Community Engagement Manager and an Advocacy Manager.
Storage & Transportation: We are currently searching for both storage and transportation for our loaner fleet of bikes, helmets, lights and locks. Our storage needs include a secure space, about 3,500 square feet and 24/7 access. We also are in need of a box truck (approximately 20 feet) to transport our loaner bicycle fleet to our community bike rides. We manage and distribute our fleet of loaner bikes and accessories in order to provide bikes to our target audience, reducing the barriers to the activity of cycling and allowing for full participation in our community bicycle rides.
Physical Headquarters Space: Slow Roll Chicago is working to establish a multi-use, office headquarters as the long-term physical home of our movement in a predominantly low- to moderate-income community of color on the Southside or Westside of Chicago. Working with a number of business and community partners, our HQ building will serve as a bicycle community center and home to our bicycle advocacy coalition.
Slow Roll Chicago is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
Thank you and happy holidays,
Oboi, Jamal, Romina and Dan
The Slow Roll Chicago Leadership Team