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.

20 Nov


Hearty Breakfast for Cold Mornings


on November 20, 2015   comments 0

Well, it appears that the winter winds are finally howling towards us (at least for a few days). Just in time, I made a batch of Spicy Apple Porridge to fuel me up. It turned out so well that I wanted to share the recipe. Minnesota apples, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, and cardamom combine with grains of your choice for a breakfast delicious enough to pull you out of a cozy bed. Plus you can make it ahead of time.  



  • 4-5 tart apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 brown sugar, palm sugar, maple syrup, OR honey
  • juice of 1/2 medium lemon
  • a whole star anise
  • 3 green cardamom pods, split open
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups mixed grains such as millet, barley, wheat berries, rye berries (I used millet and barley)

Put the star anise and cardamom pods into a spice bag or tie up in cheese cloth for easy removal at the end. Then combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about an hour, until grains are tender and mixture looks porridge-y. While cooking, periodically check to make sure there is still enough liquid. You can eat this hot, warm, room temperature, or cold. Rewarm with a little water or milk for a hot breakfast or lunch. Try toping it with yogurt, raisins, nuts, lemon zest, or more maple syrup for even more tastiness. You can also experiment with adding cranberries, ginger, or dried fruits while you cook the apples and grains. This recipe makes about 5-6 cups of porridge.

(My porridge was inspired by Martha Shulman's Apple-Spice Breakfast soup)

07 Feb


Day 7 of Loving Winter 2015


on February 7, 2015   comments 1

I#lovemnwinter. Today I love a jumble tumble of winter thoughts.

I’ve been biking the streets of Minneapolis now for almost ten years. Which, in its own way, is becoming a long time.

I love bicycling in this city. Through bicycling so many days, I have fallen even more in love with Minneapolis and with our seasons, the ever-changing balance of day and night, the minute shifts noticeable to those who walk, run, or bicycle the world day after day.

At times, I fully admit that Winter does present an extra challenge or two to my love and admiration. Blizzards in May bring a groan to my lips. But that is, as folks say, the manner of life. A year or so ago, a romantic interest of mine had a contagious, outrageous, amazing optimism towards rain, Winter, and all kinds of inclement weather. While that romantic interest didn’t stick, the infectious way of greeting everyday with optimism did. Which, come to think of it, is quite a nice gift to be left with.

Here is a jumble of somethings I love about bicycling in the Minnesota winter:


admiring the steam clouds – tangerine, mauve, and pink pillars -  glowing in the cold air and early morning sun * * * * * * dragon-puff breaths as I wait at a stoplight * * * * * * *  coming in from the cold and feeling warmth on my cheeks * * * * * * * the quiet of the winter Greenway * * * * * * * sharing smiles with parka and scarf-swaddled walkers and bus stop standers

Whether you bicycle only once this winter or everyday, whether it’s going to work, school, a friend’s house or the river bottoms, whether you choose studded tires, fat tires, or are a crazy slicks person – I hope you too have an inner list of at least one thing you loved on your ride.

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

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