Resources for Further Learning

Cycles for Change:

Cycles for Change is a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of social justice and the bicycle movement. We are grounded in the values of equity, justice, inclusion, and self-empowerment. We believe it is essential to establish gender equity and safer spaces for underrepresented and marginalized people on bikes. Cycles for Change centers femme, trans, women, and gender non-conforming peoples; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; and youth within our work.

What to do instead of calling the police, because most situations need different expertise:

  1. Get to know your neighbors.
  2. Rewrite your internal script about the police.
  3. Start where you can, build from there.

A local, crowd-sourced zine of alternatives to calling the police:

We call the police for so many things, when there are other resources and organizations more capable of helping us, without the threat of violence or death. Let’s use our community resources. Let’s lessen our reliance on the police.

Acknowledge and model normalizing implicit racial bias, because we all have it.

Implicit (a.k.a. unconscious) bias comes from the socially designed construction of race— specifically, designed racial segregation, including colonization, reservations, slavery, racial restrictive covenants, legal segregation, Japanese Internment, Chinese Exclusion laws, Jim Crow, and now the current evolution of those explicit policies – displacement, segregation, etc. Repeat after me. It is human to have bias. I am not a bad person if I admit I have bias.

MPD150 proposes meaningful structural change following their study of the Minneapolis Police Department, which found:

  1. The police were established to protect the interests of the wealthy and racialized violence has always been a part of that mission.
  2. The police cannot be reformed away from their core function.
  3. The police criminalize dark skin and poverty, channeling millions of people into the prison system, depriving them of voting and employment rights and thereby preserve privileged access to housing, jobs, land, credit and education for whites.
  4. The police militarize and escalate situations that call for social service intervention.
  5. There are viable existing and potential alternatives to policing for every area in which police engage.

MPD150 also has compiled a list of local alternatives to calling the police for:

Domestic violence
Mental Health Crisis Response 
Property Crime 
Responding to Violence 
Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation 
Sex Work 
Sexual Assault

Public Response to 8/8/2019 Incident


Dear Seward neighborhood and community members:

We must protect our most vulnerable from police violence. Stop calling the cops on people who are just existing. Stop criminalizing people for being Black.

On Thursday, August 8, 2019 outside of Cycles for Change, the police were called by an employee of a nearby Fairview-associated business because they saw one of our employees parked in a nearby church parking lot. Three Fairview security officers arrived and aggressively interrogated our staff member, who was trying to move their car, before staff from C4C and our neighbors, Voices for Racial Justice, arrived to vouch for them. Eventually, they were persuaded to cancel the call to the police.

The stated reason for involving the police is that our employee parked in an unapproved spot. If that were the whole story, a parking ticket could have been issued, or at worst, their car could have been towed. The police should never have been called. When pressed, the Fairview employee cited that there are often “homeless” people “doing drugs” in the parking lot. None of those things were happening. The police were called because our employee is Black and was singled out as someone who didn’t “belong.”

Cycles for Change’s focus is to empower and uplift marginalized people and communities. We center Black, Indigenous, People of Color; and Femme, Trans, Women in our work. We work to make places where we “belong.” 

We share our building with the only barber shop in the neighborhood. As well as organizations doing racial justice and prison justice work. C4C serves diverse people as they buy bikes, redeem bike vouchers, and attend our free Open Shop. Our neighbors live in the Seward Towers and walk, bike, and use transit on Franklin Ave. We employ Black and Brown, queer and trans, and autistic people. Calling the police does not keep us safe; it can likely escalate into deadly situations.

Join us in creating a safe neighborhood:

  • Come into our shop, meet our wonderful staff, volunteer, and see what a great community space we have for getting your bicycle needs met. 
  • Attend our upcoming Community Safety Conversation in October. More info TBA. You can donate to C4C and say it is a tribute to “community safety conversation” if you want to help us pay for staff time, childcare, food, etc.
  • Familiarize yourself with alternatives to calling the police. 
  • Unpack your implicit bias and learn to recognize dog whistle racism.
  • Fairview and University of Minnesota employees: make administration aware of this and other incidents of racialized violence.

Black Lives Matter. We are asking our community to do better. Stop calling cops on people who are just existing because you think we don’t “belong.” We belong here, and we deserve safety and respect.

Please click here for resources for further learning.

Meet Our Bike Voucher Recipients

This bike voucher program is a collaboration between Cycles for Change’s Learn to Ride Program and Grease Rag: FOR US. We received a Bike Connector grant from Our Streets Minneapolis to give away 40 (LTR: 25,  BIPOC FTW: 15) bike vouchers (valued at $400 each).

Requirements for Learn to Ride participants applying for a bike voucher:

  • attend 3+ Learn to Ride classes
  • do not have a working bike
  • attend “How to Buy a Bike” skill share
  • commit to riding to three places with your bike
  • commit to attending 2 rides this season

Requirements for BIPOC FTW applying for a bike voucher:

  • do not have a working bike
  • attend “How to Buy a Bike” skill share
  • participate in social media (taking a selfie or a photo of your bike at a place, with a sentence about what you’re doing) after getting your bike
  • commit to riding to three places with your bike
  • Not required: join us on some BIPOC FTW bike rides

Corenia Smith

“The three places I have ridden my bike is to work, meetings in the area, and to the store near my house. This is my second bike ride, to a meeting at Dogwood Coffee in St. Paul. This ride was 1.5 miles and such a wonderful experience! Thank you Cycles for Change for manifesting this experience.”

Ming Hsu

“This picture was taken and the end of my first day completely replacing driving with biking! I biked from my home to MayDay Cafe at noon, from MayDay Cafe to my friends house at 4:30pm, and from my friends house back to my home at 9pm! It was scary to be out on the road just me and bike all day but I was lucky enough to have some pals join me for parts it. I feel really proud of myself and grateful for my community. In addition to biking to MayDay Cafe and my friends house, I want to bike to my work, the grocery store, and to my therapists office.”

Zeam Porter

“I use Charlene (my beautiful bike/baby) to get to work, therapy and parks (mostly)!  Thanks to the grant I can even incorporate my bike lifestyle with my friends and family because I was able to also purchase a bike rack! Everyone I know refers to it as Charlene‘s car seat!”


“Thus far I’ve done several leisurely rides on my bike for exercise on the parkway. I also joined the Slow Roll Glow Roll during FLOW. This was a group ride in North with bike lights and glow wear in honor of FLOW, the Northside Arts Crawl, and included some points of history on Penn Ave. My next ride will be a family group ride before summer ends.”

Youth Summer Program Wraps Up

Our Youth Apprenticeship Summer Program wrapped up last Friday after 8 weeks of mechanic training, sessions on social justice and community building, and tours of bike industry businesses.

On the last day of the Summer Program, the youth took a bike ride to Minnehaha Falls (pictured above), went through a debrief of the summer, and ended the day with ice cream cake to celebrate their successes.

What were the apprentices’ favorite parts of the summer? They said:

“I enjoyed the bike rides to different bike shops.”
“I liked learning about bike mechanics from Alex.”
“The tour to QBP and Park Tool were really informative.”

Thank you to Jonathan Grad, Taco Cat, and The Herbivorous Butcher for donating lunch this summer. Thank you to Quality Bicycle Products, Park Tool, Saris Infrastructure, and Full Cycle for welcoming us into your spaces this summer. And shout out to the Sundance Family Foundation for their continued support of Youth Programming at Cycles for Change.