08 Aug


Cycles for Change Minneapolis is Moving


on August 8, 2017   comments 0

Cycles for Change Minneapolis is Moving

Grand Reopening of Grease Rag Open Shop at Cycles for Change Minneapolis Is Nearing

As many readers know, Grease Rag has had a long Open Shop partnership with the community bike shop at 1915 E 22nd St - first when it was Spokes and then with Cycles for Change when the two organizations merged. With the help of many wonderful facilitators and mechanics, many a wheel was trued, headset adjusted, bike chain lubed, flat fixed, and much much more in that brightly painted little spot off Minnehaha Ave.

Times change, organizations grow, and bike shops move! Cycles for Change in Minneapolis is excited to be moving to a new space in Seward. As both a Cycles for Change staff member and a Grease Rag facilitator, I'm pretty excited for our new Grease Rag Open Shop home at 2010 26th Avenue South (on the corner of Franklin Ave and 26th Ave S).

It's been kind of tough having Grease Rag open shop closed so long but I think it will be worth the wait. So while we're closed, I thought I'd share a few photos of what it looks like to pack up a community bike shop and a sneak preview of what's happening in the new space.

So many used parts and wheels leads to boxes, boxes everywhere!



Building walls and our new service counter at 2010 26th Ave S



Time to do some unpacking!


In addition to being in a new spot, Cycles for Change Minneapolis Grease Rag will be switching to Tuesday nights and expanding our hours to 5 - 8pm (more time to work on those tough to loosen bottom brackets or tricky to true wheels). Our first night in the new shop will be Tuesday, September 12th. I hope to see some of you there!

03 Feb


Day 3 of Loving Winter 2017


on February 3, 2017   comments 23

I #lovemnwinter! 

This year, I love the fierceness of winter - the winds from the plains stinging my lungs and pushing back at me with every pedal forward. I love that no one can predict winter. We pretend to know what might follow today but really, who are we kidding. I love the dark on my commute, it is a quiet cloak I wrap myself in to think, plan, or maybe just be. I love the snow snarling and stopping the oil-guzzling traffic. I power through on my bicycle. Or perhaps my bike and I watch the chaos from a train window. The snow briefly gets the better of our cities. (Perhaps this a harbinger of things to come.)

I love the midwest winter because, more than ever, this is how I want to be: fierce, unpredictable in my tactics, disrupting the system so that there is space and fertile ground for new seeds to grow come spring.


Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

04 Jul


2016 Beginner Camping Trip - Anneka's recap


on July 4, 2016   comments 0

A little over a year ago I went on my first ever bike camping trip. Not only was it my first time bike touring but it was also my first camping trip in years!


Was I nervous? A bit. My old sleeping bag had gobbled up an entire pannier, thunder storms had awoken me in the wee morning hours, and I’d accidentally loaded up my bike inside my apartment and was barely able  to keep it from escaping me down the half flight of steps to the outside!


Was I excited? HECK YEAH! I was going on the Grease Rag WTF newbies’ Bike Camping Trip. I’d been wanting to try bike touring for a while and here was my chance to see what it was all about with a group of supportive, caring, and fun-loving WTFs. 


Fast forward to this year. Had I become a bike camping fiend, logging miles near and far? Well…not really. But I did now have my own touring panniers, a new warmer and smaller sleeping bag, and some terrific pack lists. Even more importantly, last year's trip gave me the confidence and know-how to organize this year’s Grease Rag Beginner Camping trip.  So on an early June afternoon, our crew – myself, my co-leader Luci, and eight bike camping rookies ­­– set off on a small touring adventure.

Here we are at the Hopkin's Depot ready to roll on after a water, snack, and pee break.


And here we are taking a lunch break outside the Excelsior Library. (PS Across the trail is a tiny history museum that would love to have you stop in and say hi!)


After we got into camp, the sunshine took a rest for several rainy hours. Luckily we were able to set up our tents before it began raining in earnest.


There's nothing like an evening sunset after the rain!


Even though we'd forgotten our fire-starting kits, Frances came though with some dry sheets of newspaper. Thank goodness, roasting smores over a camp stove just wouldn't have felt the same!


The next morning, we headed back to Minneapolis.


Are you interested in exploring bike camping and/or riding with other WTFs? Check out the Grease Rag facebook page and the Grease Rag calendar for upcoming events, rides, and workshops.


08 Feb


Day 8 #lovemnwinter 2016: A Photo Essay


on February 8, 2016   comments 2

I #lovemnwinter! Today I love winter in photos.



After one of the first snowfalls of the season, someone in Loring Park left a love letter to winter, squirrels, and all the park walkers and bikers. 



I look forward to bicycling over the Mississippi River in winter - the dance of ice, water and sun is so beautiful!



After a week of frigid temperatures, the Minnehaha Creek waterfall was finally frozen enough to capture the colors of the minerals that normally tumble over the rocks too quickly to be glimpsed.



Another warm stretch and the creek was again a haven for ducks seeking open water. Their tracks crowded the snowy Minnehaha banks.



If you're going to live in a cold place, it's fun to have a variety of boot choices!



The Art Shanties have become a well-loved tradition winter. I finally got a chance to pedal the Polar Bear and get a close-up look out its maw.



Even though it wasn't too cold the day I visited the Art Shanties, a spot of tea at the Botanical ShanTea was a terrific way to warm my insides.


Winter is a part of my little home making its yearly trek through the vastness of the universe to circle the sun. Thanks for sharing this month of lovingMNwinter together and I hope that you too are building a trove of beloved winter moments!




The author on White Bear Lake enjoying some MN winter fun. Photo credit: Linda Pate


11 Jan


New Open Shop Location at Cherry Cycles


on January 11, 2016   comments 0

A visit to the newest Open Shop location, Cherry Cycles!

Grease Rag is adding another location – Cherry Cycles – to its list of bicycle shops with Grease Rag Open Shop nights. Last Saturday I, along with a group of Grease Raggers, visited Cherry Cycle’s space and talked with Cherry’s owner Cali Jirsa about the exciting projects she’s working on.

After introductions and our go-around, we began with a tour of the Cherry Cycles space. Cherry Cycles is located right by Loring Park; you enter from the alley between Harmon Place and Hennepin Avenue. Upstairs there is a small shop and wrenching space with two stands (and some very clever uses of hanging baskets!). The surprise comes as you get to the bottom of the stairs leading to the basement. There is a whole other world down there! 

The subterranean universe at Cherry

Cherry Cycles’ basement houses a number of awesome spaces. There is a lounge and small kitchen area. Nearby bikes are set up on trainers for Cherry’s Cycling Club. The Cycling Club not only rides together but also holds social events, bike mechanic classes, potlucks and more. The Club’s motto is “Ride Respect Repeat.” How awesome is that?!


Training area at Cherry Cycles. Photography by Holly Santiago.

Go past the training area, and there’s a spot where Cherry is in the process of setting up a frame building workshop. The goal is to start building a production line of Cherry frames and a custom line called Vanguard. Additionally Cali wants to use this space to increase the number of women frame builders (currently only at 2% of bicycle frame builders) by offering education and employment to women in frame building. 

And the basement has even more! There is an area for used parts and a spot to store customer frames that await work or pick up. Cherry’s basement even has an area where a friend is working on his hydroponics project!

Cherry Cycle's vision

There are so many exciting things going on at Cherry Cycles. But perhaps the most exciting is Cali’s mission for Cherry:

Cherry Cycles operates to provide educational, thorough, and compassionate service especially to people of color, women, GLBT, and other underserved cyclists.  In creating a no-pressure environment, we work to establish each individual's needs in order to sell the best bikes, products, and services available.  Through our shop, club, and team we work to be non-judgmental, willing to learn as-well-as teach, and to support and grow a diverse cycling population because, honestly, its more fun that way and needs to be done.

I am honored that I am going to be a part of Grease Rag’s Open Shop facilitation team at Cherry and I can hardly wait to welcome, wrench, and learn with you!

The details

Grease Rag Open Shop @ Cherry is the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 6:30 – 8:30PM

A couple of notes: Cherry Cycles does not have ADA accessibility, there is a gender neutral bathroom for participants, and this is a Spanish-language friendly shop night.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cycle Club, Cherry's future artist-in-residence program, or Cherry’s apprenticeship program for people of color, women, and GLBT people you can email Cherry Cycle, info@cherrycycles.com, or stop by the shop to talk to Cali. Shop hours are 12 – 6P Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday or by appointment.

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