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Green Machine Cycles: Bringing Cargo Bikes to Chicago

Updated: May 24

Situated on the border of Chicago neighborhoods of Ravenswood and Lakeview is Green Machine Cycles. The bike shop opened in September of 2013 and is unique in its support for individuals interested in hauling cargo, bike touring and commuting, and off-road riding. I recently met with the founder, Ezra Hozinsky, to learn more about the shop and his vision.

Focus on Bike Shop Service and Repair

Founder of Green Machine Cycles

Ezra's passion for quality and fair service came across clearly in the interview. As an experienced mechanic, he possesses a deep understanding of bicycles and this permeates the strong service-orientation at the shop. To back-up their work, Green Machine Cycles offers a service guarantee.

​Ezra pointed out, there is no certification or official training for bike mechanics. This leads to situations where bike shops may use trial and error to repair a bike. He believes its critical for a bike shop to understand the bikes and have the proper expertise to support riders' needs and bike repairs.

Genesis of Green Machine Cycles

For Ezra, starting the Chicago bike shop was a way to integrate his interests in environmental awareness, design and architecture. Using his experience as a bike mechanic, Ezra saw an opportunity to deliver a better bike shop experience and bring more cargo bike options to Chicago.

The name Green Machine Cycles represents three layers of meanings:

  1. Green is a nod to the environment, and sustainable practices. For instance the shop uses less toxic cleansers or lubricants than is standard practice. The shop also reflects the Green ethos by committing to a Life Cycle Assessment of each of the products and practices at the shop.

  2. Machine is an extension of the human body, and fills the gap between our body and desire for locomotion and going faster.

  3. Cycles is a reference to bicycles and reflects a British influence as well as lends itself to multiple images of rotation.

Growth of Cargo Bikes

Multiple brands of cargo bikes feature prominently at Green Machine Cycles.

Long a presence in European cities, cargo bikes are a growing phenomenon in the US, enabling riders to ferry kids, groceries and supplies. Green Machine Cycles addresses this trend as well as the growth in cycling for transportation.

Cargo bikes allows individuals to carry a substantial volume of stuff, more than is possible on a regular 2-wheel bike. Some bikes can carry up to 400 lbs. The bike is designed to carry a lot more weight and may include an extended wheel base or a frame design that supports larger racks. Green Machine Cycles carries Xtracycle, CETMA, Bike Friday, Soma and Kona brands of cargo bikes and frames.

Advice to Bike Riders

The shop sells Bike Friday cargo bikes which are adjustable.

In addition, the shop sells touring and commuter bikes. Ezra recommends people test ride a bike to truly know if it's for them. There's no substitute for the experience and feel of actually riding different bikes.

This experience is especially true if you are trying to move into a new style of riding for instance transporting children, or delivering food or any number of riding activities.

At the store, they help you evaluate these experiences to learn which ride is the best for you. For example, they will put an extra load on the bike so you can envision what its like to carry a child on the bike. It is a unique experience for each person and exactly what you want from a bike shop!

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