Chicago book bike "BiblioTreka" stolen

  • The custom built bike was stolen from Logan Square over the weekend.
The custom built bike was stolen from Logan Square over the weekend. (Amanda Meeks / Read/Write…)
August 26, 2013|By Mick Swasko, @swasko | RedEye

A thief in Logan Square didn’t just steal a bike over the weekend, he or she took a whole library.

The “BiblioTreka,” a custom tricycle custom built to carry a collection of literary works from Humboldt Park’s Read/Write Library, was stolen sometime in the late hours of Saturday night and Sunday morning. Nell Taylor, the executive director of the non-profit that collects all kinds of Chicago stories, small-publications, poetry and zines, said the organization is simply seeking a safe return of its library on wheels.

“When I heard about it, I just started shaking,” she said. “It’s so discouraging, it takes more than everything we have just to keep this going. To have something further taken away from is just incredibly difficult.”

Taylor said the bike was being stored near Comfort Station at 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave. Saturday night, ahead of its weekly Sunday appearance at the multi-purpose art space. Each week, the BiblioTreka brings a portion of its collection for visitors to browse. Sometime during the night or early morning, the lock was cut, and the heavy, three wheeled bike with a bright blue and white box on the front was taken.

Taylor said anyone with information should call Read/Write at 773-336-2516, and the group is offering $100 to anyone who makes an arrangement to anonymously return the bike.

“Maybe once this person gets home, they will see it’s not usable for them, that it contains books,” she said, adding the bike weighs on the upwards of 200 pounds. “If they can return it to us, we would be overjoyed.”

Taylor said the bike is an important part of Read/Write’s mission to share small, sometimes one-of-a-kind Chicago literary creations with neighborhoods all over Chicago. The group had planned to bring the bike to more neighborhoods in order to showcase the unique voices of Chicago authors who often fly under the radar.

The group has been in possession of the bike for about six months, a loan from Chicago author and publisher Gabriel Levinson. Previously, Levinson would ride “The Book Bike” around Chicago parks distributing free books to anyone that requested them. He moved away from the city about a year ago and loaned the bike to Read/Write Library.

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