The Importance of Space

By: Tom Parker, Program Associate

As the child of a deceased father, I often find my dad in the people and places around me. It is this inherent, daily means of keeping him close to me and allowing the parts of him that I knew to continue to live. One way that I have done this since his death is by riding my bike. My dad’s bike was his only means of transportation for a large part of my life, and it often served as a tool to assure me of his love and commitment as a father. I remember as a kid, my dad taught me to ride my bike in the street, and we would take long rides to the budget movie theater to see some goofy action flick for a buck fifty. I can’t name a single film we saw, but I so vividly remember the rides. After my parents divorce, he would ride across town to see me as much as possible and continued to do so when I became an adult and lived even further away. We would then hop back on our bikes and ride to the park to play cribbage or walk by the river. My dad didn’t have much, but all the way into his 60’s he would use his bike as a means to reach me.

When I work shifts in our Open Shop space at C4C, I continually see little pieces of my dad: In the rigid mountain bike frames with duct tape-affixed bike lights and other “work with what you have” type semi-permanent fixes that most mechanics would chuckle at. I also see him? in the relationships that folks have with their bikes;this sense of friendship based on the sharing of personal space and the intimate time spent together in between, and on the way to, better remembered events. For isn’t the time spent in between destinations the most defining of our experiences, containing both the means and the will to get there in the first place?

These friendships, similar to the ones we have with one another, are not without disagreements. This is where C4C’s Open Shop comes into play. A bike used for daily transportation will undoubtedly require a substantial amount of maintenance and when this sort of care is not accessible to the rider, more serious and irksome injuries can occur. When the friend you rely on to get to work or school, to get groceries, or to go see your kids breaks down, it can cause a major strain on your quality of life. I am happy to say that our Open Shop space is a place that can help to remedy this ailment. Whether you have experience working on your bike or not, we will do our best to help you get it up and running by the time you leave. I frequently witness folks come in to Open Shop with a busted bike and a long list of problems, and leave with a running bike and a cohesive order of operations for which problems to work on next time. And people come back! It is such a joy to share space with someone who originally brought in a project that overwhelmed them but has since made actual headway on it and who can see the end in sight!

I feel a deep sense of pride to work somewhere that can provide these services and often let myself imagine how useful someone like my dad would find our space. There is always something new to be learned in Open Shop and our staff and dedicated volunteers are here to help!

March Community Artist in the Shop


Our next community artist on display at our shop is Nancy Musinguzi.

BIO

Nancy Musinguzi is a visual storyteller, teaching artist and freelance photojournalist working and living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a documentary photographer chronicling the contemporary American experience through a first-generation Black Queer lens, their artist practice consists of experimenting with both traditional and emerging processes in image-making, utilizing an array of analog and digital formats – DSLR, mobile, disposable film, 35mm film and instant analog film – blending and juxtaposing distinct their textures to best reflect the authentic experiences, expressions and moments of subjects, landscapes, interactions and events.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Letter Formally Known As “Q” is an intergenerational portrait of the Queer American immigrant community and their experiences living and working in Minnesota. The first installment of the series focuses on the stories of 5 phenomenal human beings and how they use their unique definitions of “Queer” to expand and challenge the term’s meaning to go beyond sexuality and aesthetics. Combining environmental portraiture, typography and graphic design, the project’s aim is to produce an accurate public record of these individuals whom have planted themselves into the Western World to provide a better life for their families and build evidence for others whom would have been erased or forgotten in history without their efforts.

Contact: [email protected]
Website: www.nmusinguzi.com
Social Media: @afrikansniper

What Are E-Bikes and Should YOU Try One?

Throughout the year, our staff members will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

In this article, Andrew Magill informs us on E-Bikes.

E-Bikes, or electric assist bicycles, are rapidly becoming a more common sight on streets and bike trails. They have already been popular in Europe and some parts of Asia and Australia. But what exactly is an E-Bike? It is a bicycle with a battery-powered motor that either assists the rider while they are generating force from pedaling or may power the bike without pedaling (up to specified speeds). While the motor is active, these bikes won’t travel faster than 28 mph.    E-Bikes use rechargeable batteries and small computer systems that function as information and control modules. There are E-commuting bikes, E-mountain bikes, E-adult tricycles, E-cargo bikes, and more. Motors will either be integrated into one of the bicycle’s wheels (usually the rear) or can provide torque to the pedals through the bottom bracket (this setup is often called mid-drive). Batteries are also affixed to the bicycle in various locations depending on the model.

E-Bikes are designed to handle almost exactly like traditional bicycles, however, the electric motor means that users may travel with less effort and cover more distance in less time. E- Bikes can be an excellent choice for those using a bike for transit, and make riding easier for anyone who might shy away from using a bike for reasons such as health, fitness level, age, disability, or the need to carry heavy cargo.

E-Bikes do come with some interesting challenges. They are more expensive to buy than their non-electric counterparts. Also, batteries need to be charged regularly and occasional maintenance or repairs will be needed to the drive units and computer systems. This requires some education for users and bicycle repair shops. E-Bikes are often much heavier than traditional bicycles due to the motor and batteries, so lifting them up stairs can be challenging. However, many E-Bikes have “walk modes” which allow the motor to assist the user in pushing the bike up a steep hill or ramp. The frequency with which the user will need to charge an E-Bike battery depends on the specific battery and motor, as well as the duration and load that are required from these components, but they can usually run for multiple trips. The batteries can be charged in almost any electrical outlet, however, manufacturers recommend using the specific charger designed for their battery.

The hope of individuals and advocacy groups who support bicycling is that E-Bikes will mean that more people can bike more regularly for fun, transit, or fitness benefits. This can increase public health, reduce traffic congestion, and reduce vehicle emissions. It can make it possible for friends and families to bike together as a group. Another goal is to ensure that E-Bikes remain classified as bicycles and are not confused with other electric-powered vehicles such as electric scooters or E-Motorcycles. If you find E-Bikes fascinating or want more information, stay tuned. Expect to see E-Bikes available for rent or demo in the near future at locations around the Twin Cities. Alternatively, stop in at our 2010 26th Ave South location. I’d love to talk with you about E-Bikes. After recently attending a four-day E-Bike design and repair training, I am really charged up about this topic!

From the Mechanic’s Bench: Bikes in Pop Culture

Throughout the year, our staff members will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

In this article, Skye Vang takes a different spin on things with three cool bike things to check out.

Wind Breaker, comic by Yongseok Jo

“Jay is the Student Body President of Sunny High. Not only is he a smart student, but he is also an extreme biker with extraordinary technique. Trail his bike to encounter his friends, loves, and adventures.”

Wind Breaker is a Korean comic (with English translations) I just discovered a few months ago on Webtoon. There are over 200 episodes currently on the Webtoons platform with new episodes up weekly on Mondays! They can be read online or through the Webtoons app. My favorite parts of this comic are the bikes, the illustration, and the way the action scenes are conveyed. Also, nearly everyone wears helmets, they compete in a variety of street races and competitions, and there’s just a bit a teen angst–we all remember those times, right? Check out some screen shots of the comic below.


You can read the comic here: https://www.webtoons.com/en/action/wind-breaker/list?title_no=372


Biking (solo) by Frank Ocean, Biking by Frank Ocean ft. Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator

Content warning for explicit language.

Frank Ocean is one of my top 5 favorite artists so when I heard this song I was so geeked. It came out summer 2017 and I can’t tell you how many times I rode to this song that summer with arms sprawled out catching a sweet lil tan and all the fresh air filling my lungs. “Biking” is smooth and relaxing, puts you in just the right mood to cruise–it’s really feel good. Also, look at how relatable these lyrics are: “I’m biking uphill and it’s burning my quads/I’m biking downhill and it sound like a fishing rod.” My quads are burning right now just thinking about biking up those pesky St. Paul hills. There’s two versions–one with Frank Ocean alone and the other with Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator. Both are great but I do have a favorite. Listen to both below and let me know which one is yours.

Biking (solo) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKY8-c5CRgU
Biking – ft. Jay-Z and Tyler the Creator – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYGPcfUqzL0


Yowamushi Pedal, anime by Discotek Media

“Onoda Sakamichi is a rather timid, anime-loving first-year student at Sohoku High School. Upon entering high school, he tried to join the anime research club, but after meeting Imaizumi Shunsuke, a renowned cyclist since middle school, and Naruko Shoukichi, who swept the Kansai cycling championship, he ended up joining the competitive cycling club. “

If you like more moving-action rather than comic-style action, you should check out Yowamushi Pedal. I’ll admit I haven’t watched this one yet, but it caught my eye on Crunchyroll, so I’m going to be watching it soon! So, why don’t you join me? I do know one thing, though–sports anime are super intense and usually packed with tons of character development that really makes you root for the underdog. You can catch this on Crunchyroll, both online or in app form. Episodes are in Japanese with English subtitles. This is season 1, and there are multiple seasons and films. Watch the promotional video here (sorry, no English subtitles for the promotional video): https://www.crunchyroll.com/yowamushi-pedal/yowamushi-pedal-pv-1-644851

If you want to check out more anime featuring cycling, check out this list here: https://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/cycling

That’s all I have for you today. Feel free to send your favorite bike comics, songs, or anime/tv show/movies to [email protected] Hope you all enjoy.


Re-Opening January 15, 2019

 

Consolidating two shops is a lot of work. And our staff is taking this week off to rest. That said, we are pushing back our reopen date to Tuesday, January 15, 2019, so we have a little more time to get our space organized and ready. We are looking forward to our shop being the best it can be for you, and to be able to offer retail sales and service, Open Shop, and Grease Rag again in the new year. Thank you!

Looking Forward to 2019

After 3 weeks of intensive moving, we are nearly cleared out of our old St. Paul space. Leaving this building after 10 years is bittersweet. We will miss our neighbors and community members dearly. Nonetheless, 2019 is a new beginning for C4C, and we look forward to taking positive steps with you all throughout the coming year.

St. Paul Shop Closure Timeline and a Call for Volunteers

 

ICYMI: We will be closing our St. Paul shop in the coming weeks. Below is a timeline and dates for the last days of Open Shop, Grease Rag, and Retail in our St. Paul shop.

Wednesday, November 21: Last Day of Open Shop, 1-7pm
Saturday, November 24: Small Business Saturday in Retail, 12-6pm
Tuesday, November 27: Last Day of Grease Rag, 5-8pm
Tuesday, Nov 27-Saturday, Dec 1: Liquidation sale in Retail, 12-7pm, 12-6pm
Saturday, December 1: Last Day of Retail in St. Paul, 12-6pm

Additionally, we will be closing our Minneapolis shop during the month of December so that all staff may help with the St. Paul shop closure. The Minneapolis Shop will be closed December 3, 2018 – January 1, 2019.

We will be in need of volunteer help during December to help us clear out and move our St. Paul shop and office. Although we do not yet have specific dates and times for this, if you are interested in helping, please sign up here and we will contact you as soon as we do have dates and times.

Let’s Raise $15,000 on Give to the Max Day!

 

It’s end-of-year fundraising time for Cycles for Change, and this year it’s more important and pressing than ever that we reach our goal of raising $15,000 on Give to the Max Day on November 15, 2018!

2018 has seen very happy highs and some unfortunate lows. This summer, we:

  • Welcomed our new Executive Director Tina Cho to Cycles for Change
  • Held 6 awesome Slow Roll St. Paul rides
  • Taught bike mechanics to 7 new youth apprentices in our 8-week Summer Program
  • Tripled our number of Learn to Ride classes and taught over 200 adults how to ride a bike

Each year, we strive to increase our sustaining donor base–generous people like you–who believe in our mission and our work to continue building a diverse and empowered community of bicyclists in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Recent tax reforms have led to some major changes in foundational funding, and many small nonprofits (including C4C) have been directly impacted. Your generous support builds the foundation for our work and directly funds our ability to continue our Youth Apprenticeship program, Learn to Ride classes, weekly Open Shop nights, and social enterprise bike shop. Now, more than ever, we need to sustain and build on these important resources to our community.

Please support Cycles for Change on Give to the Max Day this year by making a financial contribution, or by becoming a sustaining donor. Your tax-deductible donation directly supports programming, as well as general operating expenses like rent, marketing costs, staff professional development, and team building time. Together we can use bicycles to impact our community.

This year, our board of directors will match every donation of $75 or more, up to a total of $3,000. Please consider increasing your contribution this year; it will double your impact.

Thank you again for your continued support of Cycles for Change.

Donate here: https://www.givemn.org/organization/Cycles-For-Change