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!

Slow Roll St. Paul Season Recap

 

2017 was St. Paul-centered season, birthing a separate and new chapter of Slow Roll: Slow Roll St. Paul. Slow Roll St. Paul’s focus was practicing safe(r) and more inclusive spaces, supporting local businesses, partnering with community organizations and leaders, highlighting community organizations and initiatives, and raising awareness surrounding local projects while staying true to being a slow, no-drop all-ages and -abilities ride. These rides took place in Frogtown/Rondo and East St. Paul every second and fourth Wednesday of the month – resulting in 8 projected Slow Roll St. Paul events. Slow Roll St. Paul was driven forward collectively by Cycles for Change and Smart-Trips & Transit for Livable Communities (smart-trips.org, tlcminnesota.org).

Here are some highlights of the season and ways we achieved our vision for Slow Roll St. Paul:

For the kick-off ride in Frogtown, Slow Roll St. Paul partnered with local artist, designer, and educator Donald Thomas (donaldthomasdesign.com) for the kick-off posters and Slow Roll St. Paul spokes cards. Donald designed Frogtown and East Side specific spokes cards.

Along our ride we brought participants to a community mural painted by St. Paul Smart-Trips youth, green spaces along Dale Street and Victoria Avenue, and a tour at the Hmong Cultural Center.Another event, were graciously hosted out of the brand new Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, admired the amazing art, and enjoyed “Huh?” a 30-minute wordless performance by Ten Thousand Things Theater.

Slow Roll St. Paul had the opportunity to have the Executive Director of the Hallie Q Brown center speak to participants about the history and importance of the center. Later, the group biked to the proposed location for the Rondo Land Bridge while one of the groups behind the project, ReConnect Rondo, gave some background on the neighborhood and the space the project aims to give back to the predominantly black community that was torn apart by the construction of highway 94 between 1956 to 1968.

 

 

Through Slow Roll St. Paul, participants explored how riding can look on busier streets, residential roads, and trails particularly throughout East Saint Paul – even having the opportunity to cross the new 3-lane initiative on Maryland. Urban Roots brought participants along a route highlighting the locations where they do their work throughout East St. Paul.

 

Our rides always end in a community meal. Slow Roll St. Paul made an intentional decision to support local restaurants – the majority of them owned by immigrants and refugees, black, Indigenous, people of color. We had food from Silhouette Bakery & Bistro (silhouettebakery.com), Judy’s Kitchen (judyskitchenstpaul.com/40492), Golden Thyme Coffee & Cafe (goldenthymeonselby.com), Urban Roots – Cook Fresh Crew, Flamingo Restaurant (flamingorestaurantmn.com), Homi Restaurant (homirestaurant.com), Union Kitchen (unionkitchenmn.com), and Fire on the Bluff (fireonthebluff.com). Thank you to all these businesses for filling our bodies with delicious foods!

 

 

This season has truly been a hub for many new, inexperienced, and infrequent bicyclists to ride along with more experienced, often commuter, or solo bicyclists. This allowed all participants to experience what community group bicycle rides can achieve through Slow Roll St. Paul rides. Participants got to meet their neighbors, learn more about who is doing work in their community and what work they are doing, and explore the beautiful city of St. Paul. There were families, young children, and even tiny dogs. The largest ride was about 50 riders with our youngest participant being one and a half years old! About a third of participants were frequent Slow Rollers who came to more than one of our rides this season. Here’s what three of them have to say:

“I first stumbled upon Slow Roll this past summer through social media. After learning more about its purpose, to be intentional about creating safe spaces, I was excited to come out to partake, support and be welcomed. There’s a beauty in exploring your community on two wheels that connects you to your surroundings in a different way, especially with a group of fellow cyclists. It was empowering to take up space on the roads that are generally dominated by automobiles. I truly appreciated having the opportunity to participate in Slow Roll this summer and I hope it continues!” –Leah Htet

 

“I recently bought a home (our first!) on the east side of St. Paul, and to be honest, we didn’t know our new neighborhood all that well.  I’ve appreciated Slow Roll rides, especially on the East Side; I am glad I was able to participate in all of the East Side rides. The neighborhoods and the community on the east side are as unique and charming as other parts of St Paul. I was actually surprised by all of the participants and loved the energy and the enthusiasm they brought with them.  I am traditionally a “bike for commuting purposes” or solo rider only sort of person, but I really enjoy these rides: they are well organized, they are inclusive, the leaders stress following the rules of the road, and they allow members of the community to interact with and get to know one another.  I now have a better sense of bike boulevards and bike routes across in many parts of St Paul thanks to participating to various rides over the last 2 years and I feel more empowered to confidently bike in my new neighborhood.  Thank you Slow Roll!” –Melissa Wenzel

 

“For me, partaking in the events with Slow Roll St. Paul has been a wonderful way to meet new people, explore various neighborhoods via biking while the crew keeps us safe along the way. I notice citizens on the streets and in cars friendly wave or beep  us to show they acknowledge us on the roads. I like the connection that we all work as part of a team to promote our existence on the road in a safe way and then after our leisure ride, we enjoy a wonderful yummy hot meal that a local business accommodates us with. A big thank you goes to all the organizers that run this program. I am looking forward to the new season to explore some new neighborhoods.” –Moon Cox

We hope you all enjoyed riding with us this season of Slow Roll St. Paul! It was a beautiful summer of 2017–thank you all for riding with us! If you have any photos, suggestions, comments, or would love to share a quote of your experience please feel free to message Slow Roll St. Paul Coordinator Skye at [email protected] or fill out our survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/pfZxo2MrZVq1eyBH2

 

A special thanks to all the organizations that hosted and/or partnered with Slow Roll St. Paul: Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center (indigenous-roots.org), Urban Roots (urbanrootsmn.org), Hallie Q Brown Center (hallieqbrown.org), Sun Ray Library, East Side Freedom Library (eastsidefreedomlibrary.org), District 1 Community Council (district1council.org), Payne-Phalen Planning Council (paynephalen.org), Dayton’s Bluff Community Council (daytonsbluff.org), NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Inc – Neighborhood Orange Bike Program (northpointhealth.org), Ten Thousand Things Theater (tenthousandthings.org), Hmong Cultural Center (hmongcc.org), and ReConnect Rondo (reconnectrondo.org).

Meet Paj and Olivia, new faces at C4C!

Matthew “Paj” Pajunen (he/him/his) is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving a year of national service at C4C as our Volunteer Coordinator. Coming from a background in Anthropology, Paj has studied bioarchaeology, education, and environmental sustainability. Throughout all this work, the only things that stood solid was his love for bicycling and a firm belief in the emancipatory power of the bicycle. As Volunteer Coordinator, he intends to broaden and deepen community participation in Cycles for Change’s programming.


Olivia Tarlton (she/her/hers) is a MN GreenCorps member serving a year at C4C as our Program and Outreach Associate. Olivia is new to the Twin Cities, living in Green Bay for the past five years and Dallas for the 18 before that. She is excited to spend the year serving at an organization that is both inclusive and empowering. Beyond the walls of Cycles for Change, Olivia chooses to spend her time goofing with her roommates, reading, eating tasty food, and going on outdoor adventures (biking included).

If you see them around our St. Paul and Minneapolis shops, say hello!

Sylvia Fowles, 2017 WNBA MVP, to partner with C4C

Photo credit: Monica Bryand

2017 WNBA Most Valuable Player Sylvia Fowles­ is donating a portion of her MVP bonus to local nonprofit Cycles for Change in support of giving middle and high school girls access to bicycles.

Sylvia’s partnership with Cycles for Change and the Minneapolis Foundation was born from her desire to give back, and provide opportunity and encouragement to underserved youth and other marginalized people in the Minneapolis area.

“It’s more important than ever for people to use their platform for good and I have always wanted to find a way to share my love of cycling with others. Really, I wanted to say thank you,” said Fowles. “It was important to me to work with an organization based in Minneapolis, since this community has welcomed me with such open arms. Winning MVP is such a special honor and I wanted to be sure and recognize how important the Minneapolis community has been to this achievement. I feel an obligation to return the energy to them, and it’s in the spirit of our team and our amazing fans that I’m now working with Cycles for Change.”

Cycles for Change, a nonprofit bicycle education and advocacy organization, works to support low-income youth and youth of color in riding bikes as a way of living healthy lifestyles, expanding mobility, and having fun. Sylvia’s donation will support girls from the Seward neighborhood in getting a bicycle, safe cycling education, and an introduction to basic bike maintenance. Kids in the program will also have a chance to explore their neighborhood through riding bikes with C4C mentors.

Sylvia, Cycles for Change, the Minneapolis Foundation, and the Minnesota Lynx invite people to join her in supporting this partnership to help girls get a free bike by making a contribution to grow the impact of this effort here.

Read more about this exciting partnership:

https://www.apnews.com/2550f369811d4d039253c069a64fbbc2/Fowles-donates-some-of-MVP-bonus-to-provide-bikes-to-girls

http://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/20781552/sylvia-fowles-minnesota-lynx-donating-some-wnba-mvp-bonus-cycles-change

Thank you to 3M for another successful bike drive!

 

The 5th annual 3M Bike Drive benefiting Cycles for Change was held on Tuesday, September 19 at the 3M campus in Maplewood. Employees donated 225 bikes at the event this year! These donations will support the sustainability of our retail and community programs at Cycles for Change. Thank you 3M for their continued support of Cycles for Change and for helping to increase bicycle accessibility in the Twin Cities!

Watch 3M Newsroom special on the event here.