April 15, 2015
By Jason Tanzman, Cycles for Change
Spring is here! And around this time of year, many people are out and biking again with the warming weather. Of course, many hearty Minnesotans never actually put their bikes away for the winter.
Located at 712 University Avenue just 1.5 blocks from the Dale Green Line station, Cycles for Change (C4C) works to support neighborhood residents in accessing the health, financial, and mobility benefits that bicycles offer. C4C provides opportunities for neighbors to access affordable, fee-for-service repairs. With support from volunteers and paid youth mechanics from the community, we offer drop-in open shop times when neighbors can repair their bicycles free of charge. Additionally, there are opportunities to earn a free bicycle by attending a series of classes and volunteering a few hours in the shop. In 2014, more than 100 friends and neighbors earned a free bicycle through C4C’s earn-a-bike program, and another 100 youth built bikes in our youth build-a-bike classes. C4C further got 175 bikes back on the road through our metro-wide bike library, and 200 more people picked up bicycles through our retail shop. That’s more than 500 people riding refurbished bikes through Cycles for Change!
With support from the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative last year, C4C was able to expand the scope of bicycle education and retail services offered to the Frogtown and Rondo communities. This year, you’ll see a whole set of new store fixtures, repair stands, and tools that help us better promote bicycling as a healthy, affordable, and fun transportation choice. And remember, all Metro Transit buses and trains – including the Green Line – allow you to take your bicycle with you! Just don’t forget to take your bike with you when you get off!
Thomas Nelson, one of C4C’s youth apprentices who transitioned into a staff role at C4C, tells this story about bicycling and Cycles for Change:
“As far back as I can remember, I loved to bike. The freedom is amazing. My friends and I would bike to places where most cars couldn't go or get to. I heard about Cycles for Change through a friend of mine. My first time coming here, I was able to help others and volunteer to get the parts that I needed for my bike. I love open shop because you get to hear everyone's stories about where they have biked and where they're from. I wouldn’t have come to an idea of what I really wanted to do if it wasn’t for Cycles for Change and everyone here who is so outgoing and fantastic to everyone around them!”
C4C’s Spring/Summer hours start April 15th (today!). Our retail shop will be open starting at noon every day except Friday; our open shop will be open Wednesday from 3-8pm and Saturday from 12-5pm; our Women’s and Transgender Shop Night is Tuesdays from 4-8pm; and we’ve got a variety of other classes and programs to support you in biking!
Stop into our shop and check us out! Visit our website at www.cyclesforchange.org for more info.