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.

C4C Staff Attend Youth-led Climate Strike

By: Gunther Melander

Last Friday, September 20, Cycles for Change staff attended the Global Climate Strike, an international youth-led action to stop climate change. With the Minnesota capitol lawn full of young and old alike, we heard stories from young Black and Indigenous leaders about how climate change is destroying their communities and about the need to fight together for a better future.

Why is it important to come to actions like the climate strike? One march or protest will never stop injustice on its own, but each protest is an important step to create lasting change. First, attending an action can foster a sense of community and give people an opportunity to stay involved. There is a lot of work that goes into running a movement and there is always room for more hands. Second, the more people in a crowd, the better the message for the movement. From names on a petition, to people in a crowd, every person involved increases the the momentum to influence change for any movement. 

Why do you participate in actions? What does climate change look like in our community here in Seward? Email Gunther Melander, Administrative Coordinator, at [email protected] with your stories and thoughts.

Pre-Winter Specials

Studded Tires
Get your studded tires before the snow flies! We’ve got new and used studded tires for sale in the shop.

Our stock of new studded tires are $77/each. We can also order different studded tires for you at any time.

Used studded tires are $20/each or $35/pair. Used studded tires tend to sell quickly, so if you’re looking for a pair for this winter, stop by sooner rather than later!

The days are getting shorter and Daylight Savings ends on November 3. Lighting is important to keep yourself visible while biking in the dark. Minnesota law requires that, at a minimum, bicyclists riding in the dark have a front light and a rear reflector. But a rear light is highly recommended as well. We have many lighting options for sale in our shop in a variety of price ranges. Come check out our selection so you can light up the night on your bike.

(And a reminder: we still have FREE headlights for BIPOC folks!)

Fall, winter, and deep winter gloves
As the weather changes, you may need different protection for your hands as you ride. We have fall, winter, and deep winter glove options for sale in the shop ranging from $40-$80. Each of these options protect your hands to different temperature degrees. The deep winter gloves are meant to be worn as a second layer over a base pair of gloves.

Kali City Helmet
We’re doing a limited run of the Kali City Helmet ($125). This great winter helmet comes in three colorways: matte bronze, matte cement, black; and two sizes: small/medium and large/extra large. The best feature is the drop-down visor for winter eye protection!

Nalgene bottles and cages
We now carry Nalgene 32oz water bottles ($14) and wide bottle cages ($32) in the shop! You’ll also get a C4C sticker to put on the water bottle.

Bikes, Sustainability, and Climate Change

“Climate change is just one on a long list of reasons why you should swap out your four wheels for two. Commuting to work or school by bike instead of car results in a significant reduction of your carbon footprint on a daily basis. From production, to use and maintenance, every step in the life of this form of transit reaches the same conclusion. If you want an easy way to help protect our climate, hop on your bike and go for a ride.” – Gunther Melander, C4C Administrative Coordinator

Want to hear more about bikes, sustainability, and climate change? Email Gunther Melander at [email protected] with questions and article requests.

Sources: Palmer, B. (2011, August 9). How soon does a bike pay back its initial carbon footprint? Retrieved from https://slate.com/technology/2011/08/how-soon-does-a-bike-pay-back-its-initial-carbon-footprint.html

Pre-Season Specials: Winter Bikes

We aren’t thinking about winter yet. No, not yet. But we do have a great ready-to-go winter bike option for sale in the shop! This bike is a Reid Cruiser Winter Single Speed with studded tires. Available in women’s small, medium, large and men’s medium and large, and pink and blue colorways. Pre-season sale price is $335.98.

Thinking about biking in the snow this winter but don’t have the right bike for it? We’ve got another great option with a pre-season special in the shop: the Reid Alpha 26×4.0 Fat Bike in a gunmetal colorway. Regular price is $642.99, but we’re giving 10% off to the first 5 special orders ($578.09 sale price). We have one of these Alpha Fat Bikes on display at the shop for fitting and test rides. Stop by and check it out!

Light Up the Night

The days are getting shorter and Daylight Savings ends on November 3. Lighting is important to keep yourself visible while biking in the dark. Minnesota law requires that, at a minimum, bicyclists riding in the dark have a front light and a rear reflector. But a rear light is highly recommended as well. We have many lighting options for sale in our shop in a variety of price ranges. Come check out our selection so you can light up the night on your bike.

(And a reminder: we still have FREE headlights for BIPOC folks!)

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.”