Why Mundelein police are donating 28 bicycles to charitable group

Instead of selling more than two dozen unclaimed bicycles at auction for a relative pittance, Mundelein police are going to donate them to a nonprofit group that will give them to people who are poor or experiencing other hardships.

The village board on Monday night approved the plan to give the two-wheelers to Working Bikes, an organization based in a warehouse and shop at 2434 S. Western Ave in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood.

The police department has 28 unclaimed bicycles, Police Chief John Monahan said in a memo. The department has sold bicycles at auction in the past, typically getting between $1 and $35 per bike, he said.

The last auction netted the department less than $232 for 27 bikes, Monahan said.

The company that ran bike auctions for the department shifted to online sales because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is inconvenient for the department, Monahan said.

Searching for an alternative, police learned many area departments donate unclaimed bicycles to charities, Monahan said. That led police to Working Bikes.

Since its inception in 1999, Working Bikes has given away an estimated 100,000 bicycles worldwide, according to the group's website.

About one-third of the bicycles Working Bikes receives stay in the Chicago area, Executive Director Trevor Clarke said in an email. They're fixed by volunteer mechanics and donated or sold, with proceeds benefiting the group, he said.

The bulk of the bikes donated to the group are sent to Africa or Central America, where they're repaired by local mechanics and then delivered to people in need, Clarke said.

Locally, the group teams with veteran hospitals, health and human service agencies, transitional housing facilities, youth organizations, community centers and schools to find adults and kids who need bikes.

One found its way to a Mundelein High School student in 2021.

Clarke said the group is excited to partner with Mundelein.

"(We) are looking forward to giving those bikes new homes," he said.

For more on Working Bikes, visit, call (773) 847-5440 or email

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