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TC Spotlight | Bike shops in the Twin Cities
Bike shops get the spotlight this week, which may seem odd considering the typical biking season is winding down. But we’re talking about the Twin Cities, where a sizeable portion of the bike community rides 365 days of the year. Around these parts, all seasons are bike seasons.
Below we've highlighted just a few of the many diverse bike shops in the Twin Cities. Use the comment section to tell us your favorite shops. If you’re a bike shop owner, feel free to use the comment section to tell us more about your shop, and use our calendar to spread the word about any upcoming events.
1621 Harmon Place, Ste 150B, Minneapolis, MN 55403 | 612-486-5807
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri 11am - 7pm; Sat & Sun 11am – 6pm; Closed Tuesdays
Alley Cat Cycles, formerly Kitsune Cycles, is a hidden gem tucked, appropriately enough, in the alley just south of Hennepin Ave., between Utrecht Art Supplies and Joe’s Garage near Loring Park. Owned by Cali Jirsa and Roger Koelker, the three year-old shop is a favorite among bike enthusiasts looking for custom builds, Old School BMX and other vintage parts. But you need not be a seasoned biker to visit the shop -- people of all levels of bike experience will feel welcomed and receive personal attention from the Alley Cat staff. The shop is easiest to get to by bike but limited parking exists in front of the store. Services range in price from $35 - $160, based on your needs, and both walk-ins and appointments are welcome. Visit the Alley Cat Facebook page for news and updates.
(Photo by Paige Elliott) Cali Jirsa, co-owner of Alley Cat Cycles.
1830 Glenwood Ave N., Minneapolis, MN 55405 | 612-377-3029
Hours: Tues - Fri 11 am - 7 pm; Sat 11 am – 6 pm; Closed Sun & Mon
Venture North is one of two bike shops chosen to provide maintenance for the new Nice Ride Neighborhood Bikes Program (the orange bikes); the shop has come a long way since opening in 2011.
The mission of the shop is to engage and empower youth in the community through programs, classes and employment. The Earn-A-Bike program, a safety and basic repair school for ages 6-12, gave away 200 bikes this summer, helmets and locks included. The shop is currently gearing up for All-About-Bikes, a bike mechanic apprenticeship program for youth ages 15 and up. Successful graduates from that program will be hired on to work at the shop.
Venture North accepts donations, including donations to the vinyl collection (last year there was a shortage of funk records, this year it’s reggae. Just an FYI). Make sure to check the Venture North Facebook page for updates, including news about the upcoming three-year celebration in the fall.
(Photo courtesy of Henry Hendricks)
712 University Avenue, St. Paul, 55104 | 651-222-2080
Hours: Mon & Wednes 12 - 9 pm; Tues 12 - 6 pm; Thurs 12 - 6 pm; Sat 12 - 5 pm; Sun 12 - 4 pm
Cycles for Change, formerly known as Sibley Bike Depot, is located on busy University Avenue in Saint Paul and its mission is two-fold: to empower and to educate. Through the Earn-a-Bike Program, you can earn a bike by volunteering, and learn valuable bike maintenance skills in the process.
The shop offers a bike-lending library, where members of 20 diverse organizations in the Twin Cities partner with Cycles for Change to provide bikes to members with needs. A free shop is also offered, where the public can learn free bike mechanics. Cycles for Change, along with Venture North, has been chosen to provide maintenance for the Nice Ride Neighborhood Bikes Program. Check the Cycles for Change Facebook page for updates and news.
(Photo courtesy of Cycles for Change)
253 E. 4th St., The Jax Building Saint Paul, MN 55101 | 651-222-0775
Hours: Tues, Wednes, Thurs: 1pm - 9pm; Sat: 10am - 6pm; Closed Mon & Sun
Lowertown Bike Shop (LBS) is a small non-profit bike shop that is dedicated to bringing new life to old bikes. The shop opened in 2011 and has thrived mostly due to strong word-of-mouth. Run by volunteers, the mission of LBS is to better connect communities through sustainable transportation options and promote health and wellness, safety, and environmental awareness in the community. LBS prides itself in offering reasonable prices, catering to budgets ranging from $40 – $2,000.
The broader vision of LBS is to one day offer vocational and educational programs to empower people with developmental disabilities. Visit the LBS Facebook page for news, including updates about the shop’s annual “Alley Bash” offering food, drinks, and of course, bikes!
(Photo courtesy of Lowertown Bike Shop)
Updated 8/25/2014 10:27 a.m.
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.
© 2014 Paige Elliott