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Buzz helps biking beekeeper injured in hit-run

Only two weeks after she was was hit dragged by an SUV while riding her bike Logan Square JanKinsman founder

Only two weeks after she was was hit and dragged by an SUV while riding her bike in Logan Square, Jana Kinsman, founder of Bike-A-Bee, rode her bicycle to check on her bees at Orozco Community Academy, at 1940 W. 18th St., on Wednesday. | Ashlee Rezin~for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 9, 2013 7:24PM



A San Diego graphic designer who never met Bike-A-Bee founder Jana Kinsman hoped an online fund-raiser would help the Chicagoan get back on her feet after a Logan Square hit-and-run.

Two weeks later, a $1,000 fund-raising goal on the GiveForward website multiplied quickly into $11,026.

“It’s amazing,” Kinsman, 27, said on Wednesday. “This shows the power of the Internet, really.”

The beekeeper and freelance graphic designer was injured early Aug. 20 as she rode her bike in the 2600 block of Kimball. Chicago Police say a maroon Chevy Tahoe apparently hit Kinsman, dragging her and sending her bike into a parked car as the SUV sped off.

“They’re yelling angrily at me, but also laughing,” Kinsman, who is active on social media, and in Chicago’s biking and design community, tweeted after the crash.

Kinsman said she is overwhelmed with the support she received: “Each facebook post, facebook message, tweet, news article, phone call, care package, text message, visit and street conversation was like a hand beneath me, lifting me up and keeping me up,” Kinsman wrote on the fund-raising site as a thank you to the 361 people who donated money to her.

She plans to use the money for medical bills but said she has pending plans to give back to the community in some fashion.

She gives a lot of credit to Chicago’s biking community: “I think that the cycling community really stood up, and started talking about it.”

But Kinsman also believes a large outpouring came from people who could relate to what happened to her.

“I was a victim of something and it was a sick crime, and people saw that and they were reacting to me,” Kinsman said. “I think this story was kind of universal and people could say, ‘It could happen to me. That could happen to my daughter. That could happen to my son.’ I think that made it kind of a universal thing.”

Kinsman has hired attorneys to represent her in the case, and has been in contact with Chicago Police as tips pour in. She’s also seeing a physical therapist — to loosen up her shoulder — and a counselor, to cope with the aftermath of the crash. She suffered road rash on her knee and bruising on her hips and arms.

On Wednesday, Kinsman was back in the swing of things, riding her bike to Pilsen’s Orozco Elementary School to check on one of 16 beehives she cares for throughout the city as part of her Bike-A-Bee project, which she created to maintain urban farms and gardens around town.

She got back on a bike for the first time last week, nine days after the crash, riding just a block away from her apartment to meet her roommate for dinner.

“I still get spooked when cars pull up next to me, sometimes playing loud music. That scares me, especially at night. It definitely makes me anxious.”

But there was never a doubt in her head that the crash would stop her from biking, something she loves.

“It’s not a fight. This is a lifestyle choice. I don’t have the kind of money for cabs or cars. I’m a safe cyclist and I don’t break any laws, and I consider myself a very safe and vigilant cyclist…I don’t think there was ever a time in my head where I was like, I’m never riding my bike again. I can’t wait to ride my bike again.”

Email: tsfondeles@suntimes.com

Twitter: @tinasfon



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