Cycles for Change is a nonprofit community bike shop with locations in St. Paul (712 University Ave W) and Minneapolis (2010 26th Ave S). Our mission is to build a diverse and empowered community of bicyclists.
Cycles for Change Operations staff help operate our retail sales and service area, as well as Open Shop and Grease Rag. We have welcomed several new members to the team this summer! They join Arlo Sombor, Operations Director; Will Supanhnapom and Tom Parker, Operations Coordinators; and Norman Whitfield, Selby Verrar, and Alex Modic, Retail Associates.
Austin Austin, Operations Manager
Austin (he/him/his) is a California native who has been working on bikes in Minneapolis since 2009. He is a creative and writer, and was a 2018 Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarship recipient from Quality Bike Products. Austin’s graduate work at San Francisco State University and Berkeley in Women Studies focused on issues of race and environmental justice in underground hip hop culture in Los Angeles. Austin formerly worked as a volunteer for Cycles for Change (Sibley Bike Depot). He has returned to C4C to collectively advocate with coworkers goals to increase the visibility of non-binary people of color cyclists in Minneapolis.
Isabella Krompegel-Anliker, Retail Mechanic
Izzy (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Colorado. Her first self-supported ride, at age 2, was a 1.5 mile slow crawl on a pimped-out pink 12” bike. She fell in love with the way her training wheels bounced off every piece of gravel and hasn’t stopped pedaling since. Izzy’s other interests include mountains, books, ice cream sandwiches, and the color turquoise.
Our Youth Summer Program will engage 6 youth this summer in bicycle mechanics, neighborhood history, bike industries tours, and social justice trainings over the course of 8 weeks.
Gunther Melander, Youth Programs Coordinator
Gunther (he/him/his) hails from Wisconsin and has been riding his bike as a commuter for three years. He moved to Minneapolis in 2018 to organize young people to stop climate change, and still does that work on the side. When not working, Gunther can be found practicing martial arts, drinking coffee, or eating copious amounts of ice cream with friends.
Nancy Musinguzi, Youth Programs Associate
Nancy Musinguzi (they/them/theirs) 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 Immigrant Queer lens, they primarily photograph portraits of emerging musicians, artists, performers, community organizers, educators, public figures and others. Their artist practice consists of blending traditional and experimental approaches to visual storytelling to capture authentic experiences of QTBIPOC folks with dignity, attentiveness and patience.
Our Learn to Ride Coaches are with us this summer to help prepare and execute Learn to Ride classes. They help recruit and coordinate Learn to Ride volunteers, publicize Learn to Ride classes to neighborhood communities, register participants, and co-facilitate classes.
Megan Schwartz (she/her/hers) is currently an Environmental Science major at the University of St. Thomas and is very involved with environmental research and field work. In her free time, Megan like to fix bikes, brew beer, and play the drums!
Karl Hedlund (he/him/his) has been an avid year-round cyclist centered in South Minneapolis his entire life. His budding career in active transportation has included biking, mapping, and documenting every paved mile of Minnesota state bike trail. The back of his helmet can be seen throughout Google Street View. Prior to directing professional pursuits towards cycling, Karl crafted an education from the University of Minnesota with a premium on facilitating cross-sector and cross-cultural projects. He can most likely be spotted around local farmers markets.
Susan Kikuchi is a visual artist, writer, and organizer based in the Twin Cities. She draws on personal history, people’s movements, and life in Asian America as inspiration for her work. You may contact her for sales at email@example.com. Prints start at just $5!
Susan’s work will be on display in the shop throughout May!
We’ve welcomed two new retail staff to C4C! Please hello to Selby Verrar, Retail Associate, and Alex Modic, Retail Mechanic, when you see them around the shop!
Selby (they/them) is a year-round bike commuter who’s not from around here, loves seeing the sheer variety of rides that come through the doors, and got involved with Cycles for Change as a Build a Bike volunteer in The Before-Time when it was still called Sibley Bike Depot. They know a lot of weird facts that eventually get inserted into conversation at interesting points, likes reading nonfiction, and lots of different kinds of music. Also, yes they wear that hat a lot.
Alex (he/him) grew up in Virginia and has spent the last 5 years biking the streets of Minneapolis. He is an Education major at Metro State with a focus on American history. When not fixing bikes, he works as a paraprofessional for a K-6 special needs elementary charter school. He loves baking for friends, watching bad movie with his boyfriend and running with a his dog Leia.
This month we welcomed Low Kling, our new Program Coordinator for Learn to Ride!
Low (they/them) has been biking in Minneapolis for ten years. They like to get groceries, go on slower-paced rides, and camp using their bicycle. They live with two cats and a human in South Minneapolis, enjoy all four seasons, and are probably thinking about snacks right now.
In March, we welcomed our new Retail Sales and Service Manager, Andrew Thomas, to the C4C team!
From his bio: Raised by wolves, Andrew (he/him/his) has been slow to socialize with people and even slower to integrate usefully into society. C4C lets him turn wrenches and we think he can probably make coffee. He was rescued from a corporate environment and seems happy here. We have assurances now that he uses his talents for good. We have been told he enjoys reading literature, knows smatterings of a couple languages, and has traveled, but there is little evidence. He is perhaps prone to verbal outbursts but is harmless. He will babble about wool, mountain biking, efficient biomechanics, vintage steel, and tubulars if you pretend to listen. We recommend that you do not.
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!
Our next community artist on display at our shop is Nancy Musinguzi.
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.
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.
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!