2019 Learn to Ride Season Recap

Learn to Ride is a very special program at Cycles for Change. It is a class aimed at adult learners, with the goal of getting people up to speed on how to ride a bike safely in Minneapolis. With the support of some great staff and volunteers, the Learn to Ride program assisted in 100 people learning how to pedal this year!

Learning how to bike as an adult is daunting. Whether we are traumatized from falling while trying to learn when we were younger, or trying and failing to teach ourselves, or we have embarrassment or shame about not being able to ride, it takes a lot of courage to sign up for a class. We build our classes to be supportive, encouraging environments. We have staff and volunteers who are enthusiastic about biking and just want to help people achieve their goals of riding with their kids and partners, going to work, or for fun.

This year we hosted 19 learn to ride classes in Minneapolis and St. Paul from May through September, totaling 252 hours practicing with new riders. We went on group rides on neighborhood streets where we practiced spacing, controlled braking and shifting, signaling, scanning, and rules of the road. This program is a life-changing experience for many of our participants and extremely rewarding for volunteers.

Kaja, bike voucher recipient

2019 was especially wonderful for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) who were also FTW (Femme, Trans, Women). BIPOC FTW who learned how to bike were given a $400 voucher to buy a bike, lock, lights, and helmet from Cycles for Change. This was made possible by a Community Connectors grant from Our Streets Minneapolis, a local bike advocacy group. We were able to give these vouchers to new riders, allowing them to pick bikes that fit their bodies and tastes. We are so happy we were able to connect so many people with bikes after they worked hard for the skills to ride them.

Learn to Ride is an important program that impacts many lives, mostly Black/African American, over 75% as BIPOC, and almost as many FTW. Not to mention, how encouraging new riders affects the richness of our bike community. Please support this program specifically by donating $90 (which is the cost of teaching one adult to ride a bike in Learn to Ride) and help us continue changing people’s lives. Donate here.

C4C Staff Member Attends Trans Equity Summit

By: Tom Parker

On Thursday, September 26, Cycles for Change Operations Coordinator, Tom Parker, attended the 6th Annual Minneapolis Tran Equity Summit at the Walker Art Center. The event started with an opening plenary session during which Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey pledged his allegiance to the Transgender community here in the Twin Cities. He acknowledged that while Minneapolis has often led the way nationally in creating trans-positive legislation and policy, there is still so much more work to be done. Mayor Frey then introduced City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. Vice President Jenkins was an absolute inspiration and began her address by naming the 19 different trans women of color who have been killed in the U.S. in 2019. She not only listed their names, but their ages, where they lived, and their race, bringing attention to the fact that while the quality of life for many trans folks has improved in the last decade, violence towards Black trans women, especially, continues to escalate due to systemic racism, anti-blackness, and police/ICE brutality. 

After Vice President Jenkins’ address, a panel of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) transgender, gender non-conforming, and Two Spirit folks spoke to their own experiences and encouraged the crowd to pay reparations to Black trans women. This important call to action closed the address and attendees were then able to attend educational breakout sessions of their choosing which covered a wide array of topics including a BIPOC caucus, a listening session with the Trans Equity Council, a DIY Oral History project, a poetry workshop for queer and trans youth and many others. Simultaneously, in the Walker pavilion, there was a job fair and healing tent offering free massage, acupuncture, and Reiki. 

All in all, the summit was an interesting contrast of inspiration and oppression. Held at the Walker, an institution known historically for its racism, classism, and colonial structures, it felt a bit incohesive to be a part of a group of individuals who would most likely not find themselves welcome or safe at the Walker otherwise. Meanwhile, many BIPOC trans folks led immensely impactful panels and breakout sessions which further solidified the necessity for action from allies and white folks to do our part in taking reparative action against the forces of white supremacy and colonialism that perpetuate transphobia and to give up power and policy making decisions to our Black and Indigenous community members. As an organization by and for BIPOC, queer, transgender, and disabled folks, Cycles for Change will continue to grow and strive in lifting up ourselves and our community members.