“Our mission is to empower and educate,” said Marianne Baum, bike library program associate for Cycles for Change formerly known as Sibley Bike Depot. “With a bike you can get from A to B depending only on yourself. I don’t have to wait for a bus, pay for a car, or be stuck in traffic. It is very empowering and good for the environment.”
Cycles for Change encourages people with limited incomes to ride bikes. They also provide access to bikes through a bike-lending library. Participants learn how to maintain and repair their bicycles and to get needed parts.
This year, their bike library will lend out 250 bikes. “If we had more funds, we could lend out three times that,” said Micah Thompson, youth programs coordinator. The Community Partners Bike Library loans bikes for six months with on-going mechanical support classes. There are also a limited number of child trailers available.
The bike library collaborates with 20 diverse organizations in the Twin Cities to help underserved communities. If you are a part of a participating organization you can have a bike. Otherwise individuals can earn a bike by volunteering 12 hours of service.
Registration is now being taken for the spring class sessions. Classes include learn to ride, commuting by bicycle, complete bicycle overhaul, wheel building, basic bike maintenance, winter commuting, trailer construction and youth mechanics.
A Youth Apprenticeship Program is targeted specifically for youth ages 14 to 21. Young people gain extensive skills in bicycle mechanics, learn how a small non-profit business operates, teach classes and do outreach.
There is an open shop free to the public to learn bike mechanics.
Cycles for Change has been in St. Paul since 2001. Originally, it was Sibley Bike Depot located on Sibley Street in downtown St. Paul. Cycles for Change is now at 712 University Avenue. The new name was created to better reflect the work that they do with bikes in the Twin Cities. They have a vision of utilizing bikes as a tool for community building, sustainability, and leadership development and progressive social change.
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.