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Tuesday July 25th 2017

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SPOKES and CYCLES for CHANGE Merge

By Sheldon Mains, SPOKES’ founding director

On January 1, we had a big change: SPOKES (the community bike center just east of the LRT on 22nd Street) merged with Cycles for Change, a community bike center headquartered in St. Paul. The two community bike centers have very similar programs. Also, Cycles for Change provided fantastic support to SPOKES when it was starting two and a half years ago. We will keep SPOKES great staff, location, programs, and hours. (details at www.SpokesConnect.org)

Our Open Shop (where we help you fix your bike) stays on Saturday afternoons and Wednesday evenings,

Our Earn-a-Bike course continue,

Our Learn-to-Ride course will start again this spring

Our volunteer nights stay the same,

The Hub Mini Store @SPOKES will actually add hours this spring (adding Sunday to sell reconditioned used bikes)

SPOKES is actually merging with an old friend. There has been a long history of collaboration between SPOKES and Cycles for Change (as long as that a two and a half year old program can have):

Most of SPOKES’ programs and policies were designed using Cycles for Change’s programs as a template.

For its first year, SPOKES contracted with Cycles for Change to provide staff support for the Learn-to-Ride program and Open Shop.

SPOKES has been a branch of Cycles for Change’s Community Partners Bike Library Program for the last two years.

In addition, SPOKES is joining with a couple old friends: Cycles for Change’s current Executive Director (Jason Tanzman) and current board president (Katya Pilling) were the two people responsible for the original idea of starting a community bike center in Seward. Katya also wrote the grant application that funded the start-up of SPOKES.

For Seward Neighborhood Group, this change frees-up capacity to start other new and creative activities. And even though we are no longer a program of SNG, SPOKES will continue to partner with SNG on activities in the neighborhood.

For Cycles for Change and SPOKES, the benefits include:

SPOKES will be part of a larger organization that has a board and staff who are all about getting more people biking.

Cycles for Change has some exciting youth programs that will expand to the SPOKES location.

With locations on both sides of the river, Cycles for Change and SPOKES can work together to become a regional voice in bike advocacy.

SPOKES has an established record of working with the East African Community. Cycles for Change has an established record of working with the Latino/Latina community.

SPOKES’ adult Learn-to-Ride program (initially based on curriculum developed by Cycles for Change) will expand to serve more people who have never learned to ride a bike.

Volunteers from both organizations will have even more choices of ways and when to volunteer.

Cycles for Change and SPOKES will be able to share each others experience, expertise and enthusiasm.

With this merger, both organizations will be able to be even more effective in our work of building a diverse and empowered community of bicyclists in the Twin Cities.

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