Share and Share a Bike

 Photo courtesy of Full Cycle, a non-profit bike shop in South Minneapolis that gives bikes and paid internships to homeless youth.

Photo courtesy of Full Cycle, a non-profit bike shop in South Minneapolis that gives bikes and paid internships to homeless youth.

Donate Your Bike and Support 5 Twin Cities Organizations That go beyond the gift

What to do when that old bike of yours gets dusty and rusty in a dark corner of your garage? Maybe you aren’t riding as much. Or maybe you’re riding more, but on another bike—off joyriding on something cooler, flashier and feather-light while your old adventure machine sits lonely, neglected and love-lorn, its tires flat, its chain dry.

You know what to do, Dear Rider, especially in this season of thanksgiving and goodwill: Donate that bike! Release it from its dark corner! Here are five Minneapolis–Saint Paul organizations that will accept or recycle donated bikes and put them to good use (with tiny foodie recommendations mixed in, because we love eating).

All donations are tax-deductible unless otherwise mentioned.

 
  1. Venture North (1830 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405) Founded in 2011 by Redeemer Center for Life, this full-service bike shop and café in North Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood is working to make biking a “viable option for healthy, affordable, and sustainable transportation,” while developing programs that further racial, economic and gender equity in Minneapolis.

    Venture North accepts bike donations no matter the condition, and your bike could be used to train a future mechanic, given to a student who’s learning bike maintenance skills, or refurbished for the sales floor. Don’t forget to get a latte and treat from the café when you donate, and also check out the store’s five-star vinyl collection. http://www.venturenorthbwc.org
     

  2. Full Cycle (3515 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407) This non-profit employs, trains and supports homeless youth, teaching everything from bike maintenance to résumé writing and interviewing skills. Every year through its Free Bike Program, Full Cycle gives more than 250 bicycles to homeless youth, and that donation acts as the first touchpoint for connecting youths with social services.

    According to Full Cycle: “The bicycle [that recipients] choose to build or repair themselves is often the first bike they have owned, and their primary means of getting around.” The shop accepts bikes in good to fair condition, plus locks, helmets, and parts. For $10, they’ll recycle your bike if it doesn’t meet their donation standards. https://fullcyclebikeshop.org/
     

  3. Cycles for Change (Minneapolis & Saint Paul locales) works where social justice and bicycles meet, emphasizing equity, justice, inclusion and self-empowerment; establishing safer spaces for underrepresented and marginalized people on bikes; and centering black and indigenous people of color and femme, trans, women and gender non-conforming people.

    When you donate to C4C, they’ll put your bike to awesome use—it could be repaired and readied for the sales floor, donated to someone in need, stripped for parts and used to train a new mechanic, or be the first bike someone has ever pedaled in a Learn to Ride class. C4C recommends including $10 with your donation to cover repair and parts costs.

    Also, if you visit the Saint Paul C4C, get a donut from nearby SugaRush Bakery. Trust us on this.  
     

  4. Express Bike Shop (1158 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55104) Right across the street from Pizza Lucé—important because incredible pizza aromas permeate the air for blocks outside—this locally owned business operates like a traditional LBS (Local Bike Shop).

    But behind the scenes is a Learning Lab for young people discovering how to fix bikes, side-by-side with expert mechanics. Since 1995, the shop has collected and refurbished, repurposed or recycled more than 30,000 bicycles and apprenticed almost 500 young people, aged 14 and older.

    Express is eager to save your bike from the scrapyard and get it rolling again under an apprentice’s dutiful care, and all shop proceeds go toward its apprenticeship program. http://exbike.com/
     

  5. Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles (20 N. Prior Avenue, St Paul, MN 55104) Right off the Green Line, this Saint Paul bike shop is operated by Benita and Michael Warns. The Warns’ break-even shop—run entirely by volunteer efforts and supported by labor and sales of bike art—gathers abandoned bikes, gets them working, and gives them to people who need them.

    The Warns operate MMRB “primarily as a ministry, and our calling is to give away bicycles.” To receive a bike, applicants call the shop and leave a voicemail requesting a bicycle. To donate a bike, you should also contact the shop directly (their number is 651-641-1037) and include a small cash donation to help with repair costs.

    Your donation won’t be tax-deductible, as MMRB isn’t a non-profit, but you’ll be passing your bike on to someone who couldn’t otherwise have one. What better way to kick off the holiday season? http://mmrbstore.com/

 

A special shout-out to Free Bikes 4 Kidz, which invites you to “turn a dusty bike into a shiny smile.” During their donation period this October, they collected more than 9,000 bikes from local do-gooders! The organization won’t be accepting bike donations again until October 2018, but you can volunteer to fix up and help distribute the massive number of bikes they collected this past autumn. Details here.


Any other organizations you recommend for a bike donation? Tell us on Twitter @joyridemn.

 

Patrick Stephenson