Welcome Norman and Anne, our new Mpls Retail Managers!

 

Norman Whitfield and Anne Sombor have joined the Cycles for Change team as co-Retail Managers at our Minneapolis shop! Please help us in welcoming them to our team!

Norman (he/him/his, they/them) was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, and has been in love with bicycles since he first learned how to ride at age six. He has a thing for cruisers, but an absolute obsession with Aero-styled T.T. bikes. He enjoys studying, designing, and building one-of-kind custom art bikes.

Anne (they/them) started biking in high school because of a love of the outdoors. In 2010, they moved from their hometown in upstate New York to Minnesota where they now bike around with instruments or sewing machines. They play all the string instruments, study Hungarian as a hobby, sew cycling caps in their free time, and use Photoshop in German. You can find them wrenching at the Minneapolis shop using their favorite tool, the lever extender.

February Community Art

 

The newest set of art will soon be showing on the walls of our Minneapolis shop!

The artists: Tantrum Art Collective

“We are urban artists bonded by our resilient experiences, challenging society as it is through experimental arts, community education, relationships, and action. The skills amongst our collective include painting, puppet-making, curating shows and installations, photography, ceramics, sculpture, stencil art, murals painting and other mixed-media forms. Since 2010, we have organized shows on topics ranging from our love of Minneapolis, to the human impact on our environment, to confronting police violence and systemic injustice.”

Their art will be displayed during the month of February.

From the Mechanic’s Bench: Lubrication

 

During the winter months, our mechanics will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

In this article, Jacob Schile reports on the importance of–and difference between–wet and dry lubricants.

 

It’s been a wet and wild winter! If you’re riding out in the snow, or getting your bike ready to ride in the spring showers there’s no doubt that you and your bike will get a little wet! Fortunately, there are wet lubricants available which will resist water and prevent salt from wearing out a chain. There are even rad rust-resistant chains to stand up against St. Paul’s salt spray! Woohoo!

Frequently Asked Chain Lubrication Questions:

When should I reapply chain lubricant?

A dry chain lube should be reapplied when exposed to water, or applied weekly if riding daily.

A wet chain lubricant should be degreased and reapplied every week to two weeks. If the chain is not thoroughly degreased before new chain lube is applied, the old lubricant will get thicker and attract more dirt and grime. A wet lubricant is much better for wet riding, but will require more attention in degreasing and reapplications.

Do I have to use a wet chain lube if I’m only riding in the rain occasionally?

No, but you will have to reapply chain lubricant after drying the chain, as the rain and puddles have washed away the lubricant.

Example of chain and gears well past needing cleaning:

Rust-Proof Chains!

Is that such a thing? Yes! Well, mostly! KMC introduced their newest EcoProteq chains in 2013. We at the shop have been using the chains for our winter commuters with excellent results! KMC EcoProteq chains are tested with 650 HOURS of salt spray! They are a little louder, but a wet chain lube helps quiet them down! Available for all drivetrain types! Single speed up to 12!

Winter Overhaul Sale

 

Winter can be hard on your bike–keep it running smoothly!

We are offering a $100 Winter Overhaul for your bike ($145 value)! This includes bearing overhaul (cleaning and re-greasing bearing systems), drive train maintenance, braking system maintenance, and basic wheel truing. Price includes labor only–if parts are needed, those are sold separately. Additional charges may apply to some bikes. Your service mechanic will give you an estimate of the total cost when you drop your bike off. Stop by either retail location and get your bike ready to take on the rest of the winter!

Valid until March 1, 2018.

From the Mechanic’s Bench: Winter Self-Care

 

During the winter months, our mechanics will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

In this article, Anneka Kmiecik highlights self-care tips for winter and biking.

 

I think winter is beautiful. I love the soft snow piled on sleeping gardens and the steam rising off downtown in the morning sunlight. After a chilly bike ride–the wind nipping at my cheeks and my breath coming out in dragon puffs–I love walking into my home and feeling toasty. But even as much as I love winter, the short days, below zero temperatures, and howling Canadian winds can wear me down, especially when I’m out on a bike. So what to do? SELF CARE!

Here are some of my favorite self care tips:

 

  • FOOD: Your body burns more calories working to stay warm. I pack some nutrient-dense snacks–nuts, chocolate, dried fruits–in my bag so I can refuel after riding in the cold. I also cook more with cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, garlic, chili, cumin, pepper, and other spices associated with warming foods. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that foods have cooling, warming, or neutral characteristics. And in winter, I seek out warming foods to add to the warming effects of my body.
  • SKIN: Although we might not realize it, winter quickly dehydrates us. I make a concerted effort to drink lots of water, which is good for my brain and my skin. I carry lip balm with me (and use it frequently). And I have a tub of Shea butter to slather on my hands.
  • MUSCLES: It’s harder for our muscles to warm up when it’s only 15 degrees out. Taking a few moments to stretch calves, hamstrings, and quads can help a lot. And don’t forget a few shoulder and neck circles to get out the kinks from being hunched up in the cold!
  • MIND: Do things that help you relax and feel positive. I like putting a few drops of a favorite essential oil in the bathtub and then taking a warm shower. If you’re a bath person, a mineral salt soak is heavenly. Put up some bright colors in your room to keep the gloom away or consider adding a full spectrum light.
  • LET YOURSELF TAKE A BREAK: Not feeling the bike ride today? That’s OK! We all have days where we need to rest and let our bodies rejuvenate. Take time to listen to your body and rest when you need it.

Those are a few of my favorite tips. How about you? What do you do to take care of yourself in the winter?

– Anneka Kmiecik

From the Mechanic’s Bench: Light up the Night

 

During the winter months, our mechanics will be providing blog readers with maintenance and mechanics articles on different skills, knowledge, and tips for safe riding.

This month, Andrew “Light up the Night” Magill is highlighting the importance lighting.

 

As we enter the time of year where hours of daylight are few, it’s important for bicyclists to be visible when they are riding in the dark. This is accomplished by bicycle lights, reflectors on the bike, and reflective clothing. One easy way to make your bike more reflective is to purchase tires with a reflective strip on the sidewalls. The motion of the wheels helps drivers to see bicyclists. Many folks also add reflective tape or decals to their bike–more surface area equals more reflection. You can find reflective vests, jackets or pants, and gloves with reflective material.

Bike lights are also essential. Minnesota law requires that, at a minimum, bicyclists riding in the dark have a front light and a rear reflector. A rear light is highly recommended as well. A dim front light allow bicyclists to be seen by motorists, but it will not do much to light the path of travel. Bicyclists riding on dark roads away from ambient light or city lighting will want a brighter front light.  

Not able to spend a whole lot of money of lights? Cycles for Change carries a basic set (front and back) for about $15. We also sometimes have used lights for sale. The U of M’s Boynton Health services is a resource for free lights–check in their pharmacy. Want to spend a little more on lights? USB rechargeable lights are an option. Another option is generator lights–there are older models available: used and state of the art new ones (you will need a special hub or wheel for these). The brightness of bicycle lights is usually measured in lumens or in candlepower. A 50 lumen rear light will be relatively bright. Front lights can range for 50 to 800 or more lumens.  

Where folks mount their lights is important–lower on the bike helps a bicyclist to see the road or path better, while a helmet-mounted light shines in the direction they turn their head. For extra visibility, it is recommended to  mount a rear light on legs or wheels, as the movement will stand out to drivers (find wheel-mounted systems online). Multiple lights makes bicyclists more visible, and it’s nice to have a backup if one light runs out of juice or stops working. Also, many studies suggest blinking lights are more visible to motorists than a solid beam. When riding in the street, a bicyclist’s position in the lane of travel can also affect ability to be seen during the day or night.

Safe riding means being visible, and at night this means proper lighting and hi-viz (high visibility) or reflective clothing. For more information on this important and fascinating topic, try a simple internet search. I used the search term “car light reflection at night, bicycles.” C4C staff love to talk about riding, bikes, and lighting, so come visit us! In the meantime, ride visible, ride safe, and keep smiling. – Andrew Magill

First Artist Now Showing at Minneapolis Shop

 

As Cycles for Change developed a vision for the new Minneapolis shop, we dreamed of creating a warm, welcoming space not only for all types of bicyclists but also for everyone in our neighborhood communities. Cycles for Change is excited to announce another step in the evolution toward building a broad community space–a dedicated artwork area! Our focus will be on emerging Black, Indigenous, and people of color artists from neighborhoods near the Minneapolis shop.

For our first artist, Cycles for Change is excited to feature the prints of Kenneth Rivera.

Here is what Kenneth has to say about his art and his process:

“I use painting as a visual process to journal my dreams. Dreams occur involuntarily in the mind and they are fleeting. As a result, I am driven to capture the fleeting images, ideas, emotions and sensations of dreams. Over the last 13 years of painting I have noticed recurring dreams with intense opposition. Many of my paintings explore motifs such as identity, family, love and can interpreted as personal, reflective, and hopeful dreams. Nightmares on the other hand, have created paintings which convey a sense of despair, anger, and chaos. The challenge of painting the juxtaposition of my dreams has helped me develop a restorative and meditative insight about myself.”

Learn more about Kenneth and his work at https://solylunagallery.squarespace.com/ or follow him on Instagram: @solylunagallery.​

Kenneth’s prints will be up through mid-January and are for sale. (They are print versions of his larger paintings). They can be purchased (cash only, exact change) at the shop. Also, stop by the Seward Winter Frolic this weekend (December 2-3) to meet Kenneth.

Seward Winter Frolic is December 1-3!

The 

Seward Winter Frolic, an annual art crawl and festival, will take place December 1-3, 2017. On Saturday, December 2nd, stop by the C4C-Minneapolis shop for fun and holiday gifts. We’ll have refreshments and treats, fix-a-flat clinics at 2pm and 4pm, and a selection of Bench Pressed hand lettered cards for sale.

 Also during the Seward Winter Frolic, wonderful C4C community member and tile artist Leann E. Johnson will be selling “unique, colorful, hand-glazed ceramic tiles, tile coaster sets, Two-Way Tile Trays®, ornaments, and handmade tile jewelry” at Faith Mennonite Church (2720 E. 22nd St). During the Frolic, 5% of her sales will be donated to Cycles for Change. Many thanks to Leann for her continued support and generosity!

Give to the Max Day giving begins today!

Give to the Max Day is an annual day of giving in Minnesota. This year’s day of giving is on Thursday, November 16, 2017, and this is one of our biggest fundraising events of the year. Our goal this year is to raise $10,000 to continue our work into 2018.

Beginning today, you can donate at any time using this donation form. Why are we using this form and not the GiveMN form? By donating through this platform, more of your donation goes to C4C!

Many times the funding we receive has limiting parameters for how it can be used within the organization. These restrictions can present challenges with covering operational costs, providing social justice training for staff and youth apprentices, and increasing neighborhood programmatic impact. We rely on your gracious financial support and continued dedication to our efforts of building a diverse and empowered community of bicyclists. Your Give to the Max Day donation has no restrictions and can fund some of the more creative, on the ground work we do to create healthier spaces and environments.

Thank you again for being a part of our C4C community!

Small Business Saturday is November 25!

 

Small Business Saturday (SBS) is an annual day dedicated to celebrating and supporting small businesses across the United States. This year’s SBS is on November 25, 2017 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving).

Join us at both our Minneapolis and St. Paul shops for a 20% off sale (includes everything–even used bikes!). We’ll be doing a raffle at the Minneapolis location for portable bike speakers and two winter accessory packs.

We’ll have normal retail hours (1-6pm) and Open Shop hours (1-6pm) at both locations.

This is the perfect opportunity to find holiday gifts for your family, friends, or even yourself!