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!
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the shop to talk to Cali. Shop hours are 12 – 6P Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday or by appointment.