Posted on

March Updates and Schedule

The March shop schedule is as follows:

Sundays – March 11, 18, and 25 – Shop Open Noon to 4 PM (closed March 4)

Tuesdays – March 6, 13, 20, and 27 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – March 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM

We also have two special events. First is our final swap of the season at LaCrosse, WI on Saturday, March 3. If you are in the area, come to the LaCrosse swap at Logan Middle School between 10 AM and 2 PM. They always have some great deals, including closeouts and technical clothing samples from Team Borah. You won’t find better prices anywhere on new jerseys, shorts, tights, and jackets, all first quality clothing at thrift store prices. What’s not to love? We also will have the best of MMRB at our booth.

Our other special event is our first-ever pop-up sale at Zion Lutheran Church. This is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 and no bicycle will be priced over $100!! We also will offer free minor repairs on a walk-in, first come first serve basis. Pastor John always hosts fun events, and we’re sure that there will be some fun activities in addition to our sale. Anyone wishing to help us with this sale or with the repairs should contact us at 651-641-1037 to volunteer.

We are gearing up for spring. One issue we have is that all our garages are stuffed to the max with bicycles, and we are getting calls from our city partners that they have bicycles waiting for pickup at the recycling centers. We don’t know where we will put them. However, we do know that we will be offering a really huge sale on almost everything we have at MMRB just as soon as the weather cooperates.

If you know how to repair bicycles, we can always use your help. Just stop by the shop any time that we are open and Mr. Michael will find you a bicycle to repair. If you don’t know how to repair bicycles but still want to volunteer, we have parts that need sorting and plenty of things that need cleaning. Whatever your talents, we’re sure we can find you a way to contribute to our mission of giving bicycles to people in need.

As always, a huge thanks to our faithful volunteers. There is no way we could do everything that we do without them. We hope you will consider joining them. Hope to see you soon at the shop.

Posted on

January Update and Schedule

The shop schedule for January is as follows:

Sundays – January 7, 14, 21, and 28 – Shop Open Noon to 4 PM

Tuesdays – January 9, 16, 23, and 30 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – January 11, 18, and 25 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – January 11, 18, and 25 – Repair Class 8 PM to 9:30 PM

A quick recap of 2017. First, we set a new record for bicycles given away in one year. In 2017 we gave away 869 bicycles!!! Our old record was 842. Second, we set a new income record. In 2017 we took in over $36,000! Our old record was $31,000 set in 2016. Third, we set a new record for individual bicycles repaired to give away. In 2017 we repaired 405 bicycles to give away! We repaired 404 bicycles in 2016. We also did a lot of paid repairs for customers, and a whole bunch of contract repair work for the University of Minnesota Re-Use Center.

This month we continue our repair classes. Our topic for January 11 is bottom brackets and drive trains. We will rebuild a bottom bracket in class. January 18 is our wrap up instruction session where we cover accessories, and any other topic that students want to know about. On January 25, we will have some open shop time for the students who have attended at least two classes can work on their own bicycles in our shop. Discounted parts will be available for that night only.

Swap season is here! On Saturday, January 13, we take our show on the road to Madison, Wisconsin for the Crono-Metro Swap. This event is fun and we usually score a few good deals for ourselves, as well as sell a whole bunch of stuff from the shop. However, you don’t need to go to Madison to shop our full selection. Just come in to the shop. We will also set up shop at the Blaine Velo Swap on February 10, and the LaCrosse Swap in March.

We have so much planned for this year, so watch this space for details. Hope to see you soon at our shop.

Posted on

December Update and Schedule

The shop schedule for the rest of December is as follows:

Sundays – December 10 and 17, shop open noon to 4 PM (closed December 24 and 31)

Tuesdays – December 12, 19, and 26, shop open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – December 7, 14, 21, and 28, shop open 5 PM to 8 PM

Also on Thursdays – December 7, 14, and 21, beginning bicycle repair and maintenance class, 8 PM to 9:30 PM (No class on December 28)

We have been so busy at the shop that I haven’t had much time for updates. We have broken our record for bicycles given away in a calendar year. Our biggest year was 2015 when we gave away 842! In 2017 we have given away 857 bicycles and the year isn’t quite over yet! We also are closing in on the record for bicycles repaired for give away, as well as have blown away our record for shop income. We increased the number of city partners from 6 to 8, and have processed around 2,000 bicycles! The extended streak of mild fall weather in late November and early December brought with it a whole lot of bicycles to recycle because people had more time to clean out their garages. We have been swimming in tear-downs. We can always use help dismantling bicycles. Just show up whenever we are open and we can give you some bikes to tear down.

This year we are partnering with two neighborhood groups to provide bicycles as Christmas gifts through adopt-a-family programs. We have already fulfilled a number of requests from East Side Christmas and Little Hope for Christmas bicycles. We are currently caught up on our orders, so we can take a few more Christmas requests. Call 651-641-1037 and leave your first and last name, your telephone number, and the height and gender of each recipient. We will call you to come and pick up your order when it is ready. It is really that simple!

We have some big plans for next year! University of Minnesota’s ReUse Center wants to have two of their popular mega-bike sales. The first will be on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, and the second will be the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. This means that we will need to up our production of repairing bicycles for the U, which means we can use plenty of help from mechanics. This effort pays a lot of the bills at the shop, so anyone who helps us provides an important contribution to our success.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you. We hope to see you soon at the shop.

Posted on

August Schedule and Updates

The shop schedule for August 2017 is as follows:

Sundays – August 6, 13, and 20 – Shop Open Noon to 4 PM (closed August 27)

Tuesdays – August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM

Thursdays – August 3, 10, 17, and 31 – Shop Open 5 PM to 8 PM (closed August 24)

The 2017 bicycle give away count is now over 500!! Over half of those have been given away to individuals at the shop, and the rest have been donated to Free Bikes 4 Kidz. They have a generous supporter who has supplied free storage space so we are able to send our over abundance of kid bikes to them. This has been a great help to us, as we have been buried in kid bikes in past years and have struggled to store them. We also have supplied some bicycles to Family Means, which operates a couple of earn-a-bike programs in Washington County.

We have a lot of events coming up in August. First, we will be traveling to Winnipeg for the 2017 North American Bike! Bike! conference. This is where various community bike shops, non-profits, and bike program operators get together to teach each other skills to help all of us become more effective at what we do. We attended last year’s event in Detroit, and are eagerly looking forward to going to Winnipeg. We have never been there, so this is exciting.

Right on the heels of Bike! Bike!, we have two events scheduled with the University of Minnesota. We will bring some of our ready-to-ride bicycles to the U of M Welcome Week event on August 29, and then more of them to the September 2 bike sale at the U of M’s ReUse Center. At last year’s re-use event, over 100 bicycles were sold in just 3 hours! This is a major fund generator for MMRB. This sale is open to the general public, and hundreds of ready-to-ride bicycles will be available for sale at bargain-basement prices. People start lining up at least a couple of hours in advance of the noon sale start time, but it is worth it to get a shot at buying a ready-to-ride bike for around $100. There are seriously good deals at this sale.

We also will be at the Eco Building at the Minnesota State Fair on Friday, September 1 at the ReUse Minnesota booth. Stop by and chat with us about bikes, re-use, or whatever is on your mind. If you come at the right time, you just might meet junior roller derby’s own Pop Star! She helped us out at last year’s booth, and plans a repeat appearance. We always have a great time at this event, so plan your visit to the Fair on September 1 and come see us!

September starts cleanup season again, and we have recycling events schedule for the cities of Andover and Inver Grove Heights. This is our first trip to IGH, so if you live there and haven’t had the chance to visit us yet, bring your excess bicycles to us. September is also the St. Paul Classic, and we will again have an information table at the ride’s start/end at University of St. Thomas. Stop by our booth and say Hi.

As always, all are welcome at the shop, so if you haven’t been there for awhile, or have been meaning to visit, we look forward to seeing you there. Have a great month.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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!

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.