About Us

Chicago Bike Buddies is a volunteer organization with the simple goal of increasing the amount of cyclists on Chicago streets.  We do this by improving rider confidence through free one-on-one meetings between trained, seasoned cyclists and anyone who feels they would benefit from the service.  Ride meetings incorporate a conversation component that reviews laws, safety and proper etiquette and a riding component that puts it all to practice.  Urban cycling can intimidate and scare some and we are here to help riders overcome this feeling while showing how fun it actually is.

Chicago Bike Buddies was formed in February 2012 by a group of three friends who thought that this service was not yet developed in the city.  Since its initiation, we have trained 20 volunteers and served many, many more.  It operates without any budget; any expenditures have come from the pockets of those who run the organization.  While we have no formal affiliations with any corporation, business, government or larger organization, we do partner with groups for any cycling printed materials, promotional opportunities and meeting spaces.

Below, you will find the Chicago Bike Buddies Board of Directors biographies.  We are the folks who run the organization, train volunteers, promote, answer emails and connect new riders with volunteers.

Alan Gagne
Alan got his first experience on two wheels at a young age, the freedom and thrill took over and he never looked back. Growing up in Detroit he developed an affinity for cars and customization and mechanical function. In college he basically never got off his bike, weekends were filled with road-trips to riding destinations and cruising campus with friends. Upon moving to the city he traded the mountain bike and single track for a road bike and busy streets. The thrill of urban exploration and efficient transportation propelled him into advocacy and turning the bicycle into his profession. You can find him 7 days a week at Heritage Bicycles General Store, talking about, riding on, wrenching over, living, breathing, bicycles.

Bliss Buter-Thompson
After moving to Chicago from Boston, Bliss retired her snowboard for the more terrain friendly bicycle and has been a year round cyclist ever since. She is an active member of the community and takes part in several bike groups including Active Trans as well as Critical Lass. She also volunteers with Chicago Cares.

Interested in combining her love of biking with her dedication to volunteer work, Bliss joined CBB this year.  When not biking or volunteering, Bliss is a Creative Director and a freelance designer.

Kevin Swanson
Kevin began his cycling lifestyle at the age of 18 and hasn’t looked back ever since.  While attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he joined the Illini 4000, a non-profit that raises money for cancer research and bikes across the US to document the story that the disease has created.  While he rides during all Chicago seasons, he can also be found at work as an elementary school teaching assistant and performing in a couple of music groups.

Kevin is one of the founding directors of CBB and is loving the adventure that it has taken since.

Michelle Ouellette
Michelle began her city-biking/commuting career 12 years ago in Boston. Working her way up from parking lot training to busy city streets, she has been loving cycling ever since. After having traveled around the country for work and partaking in group and individual rides in various cities, Michelle made her way to Chicago, where she had been known to attend Critical Mass and has learned basic bike maintenance and repair. Much of her spare time is spent performing in 2 West African drum/dance companies. One day, she WILL do a road race!

She joined CBB because she knows how scary city riding can be and how fun it actually is! She wants to be a part in helping others along this same journey.

Wilbur Chang
Wilbur started getting involved with the biking community whilst attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a member and active volunteer of the Urbana Bike Project, a non-profit community bike co-op. From there he learned the fundamentals of bicycle repair mechanics and proper cycling etiquette. Wilbur moved to Chicago after his graduate studies and is working as a mechanical engineer.

Wilbur is also a member and volunteer of the Active Transportation Alliance and a seasonal volunteer for The Recyclery non-profit bike shop in Rogers Park.
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