While garages are often a place where many bicycles are stashed away, waiting to see the light of day, that is not the case for Flowers Luna’s garage.
Luna, a seven-year Evanston resident, has been building and fixing bikes as well as teaching mechanics for 15 years. Now they’re the owner of Luna Alley Bike Shop in southwest Evanston, a full-service operation they run from their garage.
Luna previously worked at the Recyclery Collective in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, an organization that works to create “self-reliant cyclists” by teaching people how to fix their own bicycles. Luna taught Spanish and mechanics at the Recyclery and was on the board of directors.
After moving to the social services field for a while, Luna’s youngest child was born in 2018 so they decided to take time off and be a stay-at-home parent. In late 2020, Luna started piecing together the shop. They were fixing their family’s bikes and some friends’, so they thought to expand and create an inclusive space in Evanston for cyclists.
“It was an intentional move for me to work out of my garage,” Luna said. They work 20 to 40 hours a week fixing bicycles.
Luna Alley Bike Shop, for the most part, is word of mouth. Luna launched a website recently for their labor services but would like to keep the business on the small end as they are still a full-time stay-at-home parent, “I love being a little hidden bike shop in Evanston,” they said.
While Luna works in their garage, passersby often ask about their business.
“People really get a kick out of it, they see me and ask questions and think it’s really cool,” they said.
Luna, a Mexican nonbinary queer Evanston resident, wants their business to be approachable and accessible for all Evanston residents.
“It’s really important for me that people feel comfortable, especially in places queer folks aren’t usually comfortable,” they said. “I want people to not have to worry about this being a macho or aggressive space, they lead the conversation, and it’s OK to not know what’s happening with your bicycle.”
Luna’s approach is working with clients and including them in the repair process. Clients make an appointment online and describe what is wrong with their bicycle and may include photos, Luna then reaches out via email and clients decide on a drop-off time.
Some people drive up or walk their bikes – Luna is hoping to develop a mobile unit in the coming years to assist with bikes that are difficult to transport. They are usually done with the repairs in two to six days.
As Luna Alley Bike Shop expands, Luna wants to work toward a storefront and educational space to teach clients how to fix their own bikes.
“It isn’t a monetary transaction, it is focused on knowledge and experience,” they said, describing the bicycle shop. “If someone loves their bike, I love it too.”