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Timbuk2 Opening Next Week, Will Launch Bike Share Program

WICKER PARK — San Francisco-based messenger bag company Timbuk2 has big plans for its upcoming Chicago location, including an eventual free bike-sharing program.

Timbuk2 expects to open in the 2,100-square-foot former firehouse at 1623 N. Damen Ave. with a big bash from 2-8 p.m. on May 17.

The party will include beer from Revolution Brewery, free tamales from the Tamale Spaceship food truck, Uber ride deals, a photobooth, Made in San Francisco gifts and $5 Miir pint glasses that benefit Chicago's Active Transportation Alliance, according to a statement from Timbuk2.

Wicker Park will mark the company's fifth location, including its flagship in San Francisco, another in Seattle, one in Singapore and one that it just opened in Denver.

Like many a successful California startup, Timbuk2 started in a garage. Founder Rob Honeycutt was a bike messenger when he launched the company in 1989 from the city's Mission District.

The shop plans on tapping into the city's cycling crowd by partnering with Active Trans for a series of events, including a "Bike From Work Day" party on June 20. 

Timbuk2 also plans to launch a mini bike-sharing program in June. During store hours, customers can fill out a form, and Timbuk2 will hand over a free loaner bike, bag, helmet and lock, depending on availability.

The company has already implemented the program in its San Francisco and Seattle stores and expects to start one at its Denver shop around the same time as in Chicago.

Timbuk2's Chicago store will also provide an indoor, San Francisco-style "parklet," inspired by public green areas about the size of a few parking spaces, for "relaxing and refueling," as well as an array of tools, bike pumps and extra tubes for cyclists to use.

The store will have a custom station where bags or accessories can be designed using more than 60 fabrics that are made-to-order in the San Francisco factory.

Other eco-friendly efforts include producing a portion of its products in the states and recycling used bags.

It'll be at least the second San Francisco import to hit Damen Avenue this month, the first of which was the Peek children's store that opened at 1723 N. Damen Ave. on May 1.

“We’re thrilled to open our first national store outside of the West in Chicago,” Timbuk2 spokeswoman Lizzy Fallows said in a statement. “As one of the most progressive cities for bike commuters, Chicago is a natural fit for Timbuk2. We’re excited to evolve with city’s bike culture, and serve as a go-to destination for all things cycling, lifestyle and beyond.”

After May 17, Timbuk2 will be open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.