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April Shop Schedule and Updates

April Shop Schedule is as follows:

Sundays – April 2, 9, 23, and 30 – Shop open Noon to 4 PM (Closed April 16 for Easter)

Tuesdays – April 4, 11, 18, and 25 – Shop open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – April 6, 13, 20, and 27 – Shop open 5 PM to 8 PM

Saturday, April 22 – Green Expo at Schwann Center, National Sports Center, Blaine. We will have a booth there, stop by and see us.

Saturday, April 29 – Recycling events at Andover and St. Francis. Volunteers needed, call 651-641-1037 for more info.

Spring has sprung! Definitely an early spring for us, and the shop has been super busy with paid repairs and bicycle sales. The calls are coming in to get on our wait list for a gift bicycle. Sales-wise, March 2017 was the second largest revenue month in MMRB’s 9 year history. Speaking of 9 years, the 9-year anniversary of opening MMRB is coming up May 1. We will most likely celebrate on Sunday, April 30. Of course, every day is a celebration at MMRB – the most fun bike shop in town.

We have signed up for the 2017 Habitat 500 bike tour, so some of the charity portion of our revenue will go to build the bike.home. Every year a number of the riders on the tour earmark their donations toward raising enough money to build one house, which is designated as the bike.home. In 2016, MMRB provided free bicycles for the people moving into the bike.home, plus provided a bicycle for a Habitat homeowner to use so she could ride the tour. It is her way of helping to give back to Habitat. This will be the 25th anniversary for the Habitat 500.

We have several recycling events coming up. We will be at Andover and also a crew will go to St. Francis on April 29. Saturday, May 6 we will be at Fridley. We can use volunteers to help us do tear downs at the sites. If you are interested, call me at 651-641-1037, send email to info@mmrbstore.com, or post a message to our Facebook page. These events are a blast, and sometimes you can even score some great salvage item! This is a way for you to volunteer on one specific date.

We will again plan on doing a free bike repair day at a homeless shelter, and also at Shobi’s Table (street church that meets Thursdays on Payne Avenue in St. Paul). While our shop prices are the lowest in town, homeless folks cannot even afford that, so we try to give them opportunities to get their bicycles fixed for free. For many those bicycles are their only transportation. We want them to be safe to operate. Info about these events will be posted here as well as on our Facebook page. Volunteer mechanics are always welcome.

We know how busy people get at this time of the year, but we hope you will take a few minutes to come and see us at Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles.

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March Schedule and Updates

The shop schedule for March is as follows:

Sundays – March 5, 12, and 26 – Shop open noon to 4 PM (Closed March 19)

Tuesdays – March 7, 14, 21, and 28 – Shop open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – March 9, 23, and 30 – Shop open 5 PM to 8 PM (Closed March 16)

Warmer temperatures mean that the shop gets busy. This past month’s record warmth resulted in lots of you coming in to buy parts to complete your projects, to get your bicycles tuned up for spring, or to shop for a new (to you) bicycle! The place has been jumping! What’s ahead for March? Well, we just got back from the last swap of our season, which was in LaCrosse, WI, and we sold a bunch of stuff, along with two bicycles. March is already off to a great start financially. Our wait list is still short, but we anticipate that our phone will start ringing off the hook with requests, plus we have plenty of bicycles to repair for the U of M ReUse Program, so we have plenty to do. If you like fixing bicycles, stop by the shop any time that we are open and we will set you up at one of our repair stations. No appointment is needed. If you are not a mechanic and still want to help out, we have a lot of parts to sort. For those who want to really make a difference, we can use someone to keep the carpet swept and the bathroom clean. It isn’t glamorous work, but greatly needed. Finally, we want to train someone to work the front desk. This will take a special person – you must be social, good with numbers (you will write up sales receipts and collect money) and be able to manage the flow of customers. It is an important job. We want you to master this job so that you can run the front desk when we are gone. You don’t need to know a lot about bicycles, but knowledge of retail and customer service background is helpful. If you have what it takes, stop by the shop and we can discuss this. All jobs at the shop are volunteer, but we do pay out in chocolate, beer (malt or root), and all the laughs you can stand. We will even pick on you if you like. We are gearing up (pun intended) for our biggest year ever, so come be a part of it, either as a customer or as a volunteer. See you soon at the most fun bike shop in town, Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles!

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February Schedule and Updates

The February Shop Schedule is as follows:

Sundays – February 19 and 26 – Shop Open Noon to 4 PM (Shop closed Feb 5 and 12)

Tuesdays – February 21 and 28 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM (Shop closed Feb 7 and 14)

Thursdays – February 16 and 23 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM (Shop closed Feb 2 and 9)

Sunday, February 12 – Blaine Velo Swap

As we closed out 2016, we added things up and we gave away 616 bicycles. While that was quite a bit less than 2015, we have had a change in the mix of shop activity. Due to taking in a lot more paid repair work from the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as our contract to fix bicycles for the University of Minnesota ReUse Center, the shop income was up substantially from 2015. We ended 2015 with just under $19,000 in income. We ended 2016 with just over $30,000 in income! This is amazing growth. If we can keep shop income at this level, it will allow us to add some programming. We already added mechanic classes. The first series just ended, and several students learned quite a bit about bicycles and how to fix them. Of course, we are a bit selfish – it is our hope that some of our students go on to become volunteer mechanics at the shop. We believe that, in time, this will happen. Meanwhile, if you are into bicycle repair, consider volunteering at the shop. If you have basic bicycle mechanic skills, come to the shop any time that we are open and ask to volunteer. Mike will put you at a stand and give you a bicycle to repair. This gives him time to assess your skills and help you to get the most from your experience.

Note that on February 12 we will be taking our show on the road and will be selling stuff at the Blaine Velo Swap. This event is held at the National Sports Center in Blaine. There is an admission charge, but all proceeds go to benefit our local velodrome. There will be a lot of great local vendors there selling all manner of used bicycle parts and accessories. For those of you in the northern suburbs, here is a chance to shop the best of MMRB without having to drive all the way into St. Paul to get to our store. Of course, shopping at the store is much more fun than at the swap. We also will be doing a swap on Saturday, March 4 at LaCrosse, Wisconsin that benefits the Logan Bike Works. Again, a worthy cause and a fun swap, so if you are in the area, it is worth the time and price of admission. Last year I snagged brand-new bicycle shoes valued at over $100 for just $5!!! There are great bargains at these events.

Looking ahead, we will be doing the Coon Rapids Green Expo in April; our Free Bicycle Repair Day in Maiden Rock and Plum City, WI, also in April; recycling events at Andover and St. Francis on the last Saturday in April (volunteers needed); and a recycling event in Fridley in May. We haven’t schedule Free Repair Days for the Homeless yet, but we anticipate that those will be held sometime in May at the Dorothy Day Center and at Shobi’s Table (Payne Avenue in St. Paul).

Please note that we are collecting used recycling bins any time that the shop is open. We especially want the older style bins with the cut out on one side, but all types are welcomed. We will use them to store parts that are currently stored in cardboard boxes. If we get more bins than we can use, we will partner with another local organization and give them some.

Take advantage of the winter weather to come to the shop and check out all the great deals on used parts, used bicycles, and discounted repair service. We are offering our mini-tune package for just $25 – regular price is $40 – through the end of February. When the temperatures rise, so will the prices, so shop now to get our best deals. We hope to see you soon at the shop.

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December Schedule and Updates

Shop Schedule for December is as follows:

Sundays: December 4, 11, and 18 – Shop Open noon to 4 PM (Shop Closed on December 25 and January 1)

Tuesdays: December 13, 20, and 27 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM (Shop Closed on December 6)

Thursdays: December 1, 8, 15, and 22 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM (Not sure if we will be open on December 29)

Thursdays: December 8, 15, 22 and January 5, 12, 19, and 25 – Mechanic Class 8 PM to 9 PM (No class on December 29)

We have been busy getting our list caught up, bringing in loads of bicycles from our recycling partner cities, processing lots of tear-downs, cleaning out the garages, along with our paid repair work and some repairs for Free Bikes 4 Kidz. We also are planning on moving stuff around at the shop to make your shopping experience even better, and we will be purging some of the stuff in the parts bins. We always need help to do these kinds of tasks, so consider joining our volunteer crew.

Speaking of joining the crew – do you want to work on bicycles but don’t have the skills? Well, we have just the thing for you! We are offering a series of 7 classes on Thursday nights between 8 PM and 9 PM beginning on Thursday, December 8 and running through the end of January. You will get some hands-on training in various repair tasks so that by the time you finish the class, you should be ready to work with the mechanic crew at MMRB. This class will not turn you into a full-fledged bicycle mechanic, but it is your chance to learn the basics so you can practice what you’ve learned and become proficient over time. We especially encourage women and teens to attend this class. If demand exceeds available space we will offer the series again later next year.

We are not doing the Holiday Wishes Program this year because United Way is no longer running it. If you know someone who needs a bicycle for Christmas, please call 651-641-1037 and leave us a voice mail message. Unless demand is overwhelming, we should be able to have all bicycles requested by December 13 available for pickup at our shop by December 22. We also have a great selection of used bicycles available, and we are offering $50 off the price of several very nice bicycles. We are also offering our mini-tune package – regular $40 value – for just $25. These prices will be good through Christmas.

Since the beginning of 2016, we have given away 580 bicycles! We also gave Habitat for Humanity around $1,700, and spent $800 for Cranksgiving (to benefit the Joyce Food Shelf). We are having our best year ever for sales, so we are able to be more generous to local charities. Thanks for your business, and we look forward to serving your bicycle needs now and throughout the coming year.

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November Schedule and Updates

November Shop Schedule is as follows:

Sundays – November 13, 20, and 27 – Shop open noon to 4 PM (Shop closed November 6)

Tuesdays – November 1, 8, 15, and 22 – Shop open 4 PM to 9 PM – November 29 – Shop open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – November 3, 10, and 17 – Shop open 4 PM to 9 PM (Shop closed November 24 for Thanksgiving)

Saturday – November 26 – Shop open 10 AM to 4 PM for Blitz! and Small Business Saturday

A couple of items to note on our schedule – The shop is open on November 26 – a Saturday – for our annual Blitz! event. In past years, we worked on bicycles for the St. Paul Pioneer Press/United Way Holiday Wishes Program. However, the program is not going to operate this year, and we currently do not have a replacement program, so we don’t know for sure who we will fix bicycles for during this year’s Blitz! We are working on lining up one or more charities to receive bicycles, and we will announce a partnership if we get one in time. Otherwise we will repair bicycles for people on our regular wait list during Blitz!

Beginning Tuesday, November 29, we will cut back our shop hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The winter hours will be 5 PM to 8 PM. This will allow us to still serve late afternoon customers, but to also allow our weekday evening volunteers to still participate. The shop is typically not as busy on weekday evenings during the colder months, so we are cutting back our time spent there a little to give us some time for our personal commitments.

On Saturday, November 19, our crew will ride again in Cranksgiving. We will be using the 10% charity money generated from shop income to purchase food and sundries for a local food shelf. This event will be held at 2 PM on the 19th, and the location is Sunrise Cyclery, 2901 Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis. All are welcome to join the fun.

As we all gear up for the upcoming holiday season, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Please stop by the shop and join our special kind of fun. We truly are the most fun bike shop in town.

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October Schedule and Updates

The October shop schedule is as follows:

Sundays – October 2, 23, and 30 – Shop open noon to 4 PM (closed October 9 and 16)

Tuesdays – October 25 – Shop open 4 PM to 9 PM (closed October 4, 11, and 18)

Thursdays – October 27 – Shop open 4 PM to 9 PM (closed October 6, 13, and 20)

As you can see, the shop is about to close down for the next 3 weeks to give Mr. Michael and I some much needed time to recharge. Also, please note that we are temporarily closing our wait list until Monday, October 24 at 9 AM to allow for catch up time on orders.

We are making some changes to our telephone system. If you tried to call this past week and got a message saying the number was disconnected, do not fear. Please call back again on October 24. Also, we will attempt to update our voice mail system, so if you can’t leave a message, please call back, but it is best if you wait until October 24.

The Free Bikes 4 Kidz collection day is October 8. If you have kid size bicycles that need new homes, please feel free to give them to this worthy cause. We currently have far more kid size bicycles than we can use, so we will be giving over 100 of them to FB4K. Bring them to one of the Allina collection points on the 8th.

We love receiving bicycle donations from you, but please never leave bicycles outside the shop. We have no way of knowing if they are meant for us or not, and the likelihood is that the bicycle will be stolen before we get it, especially if it is a bicycle to fit a tall man. We always need those.

I will post updated bicycle give away numbers in next month’s update. Thanks to everyone – volunteers, donors, customers, and recipients – who help us at MMRB to achieve our mission to provide bicycles to people who need them.

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September Schedule and Updates

The list is now open. If you want to receive a gift bicycle, please call 651-641-1037 and leave us a voice mail that contains the following information: Your first and last name, your height, the style of bicycle you prefer, and a reliable (prefer local) number where we can reach you when your bicycle is done. Please be sure to speak clearly so we can understand your request.

The September schedule is as follows:

Sundays: September 11, 18, and 25 – Shop Open Noon to 4 PM (Closed September 4 for Labor Day holiday)

Tuesdays: September 6 and 13 – Shop Open 4 PM to 9 PM (Closed September 20 and 17 for Interbike and Bike!Bike!)

Thursdays: September 1, 8, and 15 – Shop Open 4 PM to 9 PM (Closed September 22 and 29 for Interbike and Bike!Bike!)

We are looking for a one or two very special volunteers. These folks need some understanding of bicycles, but do not have to be full-blown bicycle mechanics. However, these folks need to know how to write up sales, accept money, make change, etc. They also need to be friendly and enthusiastic when dealing with the customers at the shop. We need someone who wants to learn to work at the front desk. Eventually we want the desk volunteers to be able to run the desk when we are gone, as we do travel for our other business and don’t want to close the shop every time we are gone. If you are interested in this opportunity, please come to the store any time that we are open and ask for the Boss.

We will be closing the store a lot starting in mid-September until around the 3rd week in October, so be sure to check here or on our calendar to be sure that we will be open when you want to come.

As always, we want to thank our fabulous crew for all their hard work and dedication to Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles. We couldn’t do this without you.

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July Schedule and Updates – List is Closed

First off, the list to receive a bicycle is now closed. We plan to reopen it on September 1, 2016 at 9 AM.

The July shop schedule is as follows:

Sundays – July 3, 17, and 24 – Shop open noon to 4 PM (Closed July 10 and 31)

Tuesdays – July 5 and 19 – Shop open 4 PM to 9 PM (Closed July 12 and 26)

Thursdays – July 7, 21, and 28 – Shop open 4 PM to 9 PM (Closed July 14)

We have been very busy at the shop with repairing bicycles to give away, as well as paid repairs from customers. Revenue-wise, we are having our best year ever. We also anticipate a large work load in August for fixing bicycles for the University of Minnesota Re-Use Center. They take the abandoned bicycles on campus, fix those that make sense to fix, and then resell them to incoming students in the fall. This program is new for us, but will help us to keep the doors open, and the heat and lights running come winter.

We went deeper than ever into this year without closing the wait list. Normally it closes in mid-May, but this year we made it through the end of June. We don’t like turning anyone away, but we can’t manage a wait list longer than 60 people, so we finally had to close it. We normally allow 8 weeks to clear the backlog. This takes into account the times that we are away. Speaking of going away, we will be riding the Habitat 500 Bike Tour this year. Habitat for Humanity is our first and second quarter designated charity, and your purchases allowed us to donate $1,700 to HFH! The quarter 3 charity will be Cranksgiving, which is an alley cat race where participants ride from store to store and buy food items that are donated to area food shelves. Last year we gave $500. I hope we can top that this year.

There are a lot of closings in July, so plan accordingly. We will be there most of August, so you will have plenty of opportunities to visit the shop. Thanks for all of you who buy our stuff and make it possible for us to give away bicycles.

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June Schedule and Updates

The shop schedule for June is as follows:

Sundays – June 5, 12, 19, and 26 – Noon to 4 PM

Tuesdays – June 7, 14, 21, and 28 – 4 PM to 9 PM

Thursdays – June 9, 16, 23, and 30 – 4 PM to 9 PM

May was an amazing month at the shop. We broke another record and May 2016 is now the highest income month in the history of MMRB. Lots of people are visiting our shop for the first time, many of them to have us repair their bicycles, and that has helped our bottom line. Since we give 10% off the top to charity, the more you spend, the more we give. Our charity for Quarter 2 is Habitat for Humanity, so your purchases at our store are helping provide affordable housing to hard working, low income people. We appreciate your business, and the folks at HFH do too.

There are two big events in June. The first is on the 4th when we do the Burnsville recycling event for the first time. We will be partnering with Lowertown Bike Shop at this event. We have no idea how many bicycles will come in, or what kinds and sizes they will be. MMRB now provides bicycle recycling for 6 cities. Our other big June event is Mr. Michael’s birthday. Yup, the old man is turning 60. He loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and he likes to stuff it into a tall glass and pour milk over it, then eat it with a spoon.

I always like to mention our wonderful volunteers, but this month I want to give a shout out to a very special volunteer. You aren’t likely to see him at the shop unless you happen to be there when he stops by. Carl has been repairing bicycles for us for several years. He comes in once a week and picks up a bicycle to take to his home repair shop to work on, then brings it back the next week and takes home another one to fix. Carl often stops in on a weeknight to pick up any parts he may need for the bicycle that is in progress. He stays to socialize with the other volunteers for a little while, then heads back to his work. Carl also gets out and rides whenever he is able. The most amazing thing about him is that he is in his early 80s and is so productive! I hope I am still able to do as much for others as he does when I get to his age. A huge thanks to Carl and all the rest of the fantastic crew that makes MMRB the most fun bike shop in town.

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May Schedule and Updates

Shop schedule for May is as follows:

Sundays – May 1, 8, 15, and 29 – Shop Open Noon to 4 PM (Closed May 22)

Tuesdays – May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 – Shop Open 4 PM to 9 PM

Thursdays – May 5, 12, 19, and 26 – Shop Open 4 PM to 9 PM

We are well over 100 bicycles given away for this year, and we have a lot of people on the list, so will be adding quickly to the total. We also had our biggest month for sales ever in March, followed by a strong April. While our store doesn’t strive to make a profit, we do need to take in enough in sales during the busy times so that we have enough to make it through the lean times. Every time you buy our stuff, you are helping us to keep the store open so people in need can receive gift bicycles. We also make periodic investments to keep the store running well and to improve your experience as a shopper, so we appreciate all our customers who make this possible. The charities who receive the 10% contributions from our shop also appreciate our customers. Our quarter 2 charity is Habitat for Humanity, so 10% of everything you spend in the store will be donated to them. Help two great causes with just one purchase!

I always like to take time to thank our volunteer crew. No way could Mr. Michael and I do this by ourselves. Special shout outs to the 3 Toms – Tom R, Tom Y, and Tom L, as well as to Rob, Susan, Kendra, Zach, and Steve. You all rock!