"Twenty-one years in the military," he said. "You ain't going to let nobody run over you."
The kids in the doorway on this day, he sensed, were up to no good. He shooed them off.
"We don't let the little punks in," he said.
They left. And in the time it took to say "thief," they stole the bike that belonged to the guy in the "Jesus Wept" hat. The guy chased them for a few blocks and got his bike back.
Ricks remains convinced, though, that biking's future is getting brighter in the neighborhood.
"Lot of good people here," he said. It doesn't hurt that gentrifiers are trickling in.
"More and more white people moving out this way," he said. "I don't call them white customers. I call it green money."
He tries to educate all customers. He tells them, for example, why they don't need a mountain bike in Chicago.
"You see any mountains around here?" he'll ask.
He explains the difference between a cheap Wal-Mart bike and the $350 kind he sells, between a $50 lock and a cheap one.
Not easy, but, maybe, getting a little easier.