Youth program rides bicycles to protest Rauner's grant freeze

May 21, 2015

A group of eleven people rode their bicycles 190 miles for three days from Chicago to Springfield to protest a loss of state funding. 

Bikes and Roses is a youth program that employs primarily low-income high school students. It trains young men and women how to work on bicycles and pays them for their work. 

The organization makes money by fixing bikes in the community, but the grant was used to hire even more students. They were laid off when Governor Bruce Rauner froze the grant.

Rashi Bates, a 17-year-old, volunteers there even though he isn't being paid anymore.

"We do a lot of stuff for the people in the community, helping them out with their bikes and everything, giving them a place to be, so it's not just about riding the bikes around, and yeah we don't... we ride, but we also help more than we do ride."

The youth coordinator says some of the students quit other jobs in order to join the program. He hopes funding can be restored.