Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who Wants a Bike Shop in NoMi? I Do, I Do!

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Now that spring is here, I've been doing some biking again. I also did my best to participate in the first "Unofficial Shop Northside First Month." That ended yesterday, so the Facebook link isn't live anymore, but we're sure to have another one soon!

But what if I blow a tire? What if I want to buy an attachment for my water bottle? I can't repair my bike or buy basic accessories here in NoMi. And I'm sure there are others just like me. That's why one week from today there will be a community focus group meeting around the possibilities of a bike shop in NoMi. The meeting will be Thursday, April 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center. A possible site, just off of Penn and Broadway, is pictured above.

Questions to be discussed at the meeting include...

...What would a successful bike shop in the Jordan neighborhood look like? Describe what kinds of merchandise and services would most likely be purchased by those in the community?

How many bikes do you have at your house? How do you use your bikes? How did you acquire your bikes? Approximately how many miles a year do you ride? Who do you ride with?

Do you pay to have your bikes serviced? How often and where? What would be important about this shop for you to change your purchasing patterns? What is missing from other urban bike shops?

What might the bike shop do and/or sell in the winter to make it a year-round business?

If the bike shop was also a community gathering place, what might it also sell, e.g. coffee, ice cream, art, clothes, sandwiches….? What combination would most likely be successful? Why?

How many ways can you think to promote a bike shop in this neighborhood?

How many ways can you think to positively engage youth in the bike shop’s operations?

Three locations are being considered and we will want the community’s input regarding the strengths and concerns regarding each of the potential sites. One is on the north side of Broadway, one on the south side of Lowry and one on the corner of Penn and 26th.

I hope to see you there, and I hope to see a bike shop in our neck of the woods soon!


Patrick said...

This is a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to John Hoff for being
named the "Mayor of North Minneapolis" after secession from
"The South" by Dyna Sluyter on
she should guest blog here sometime...
TOPEKA it to find the post;)

Homewood Confidential said...

It would be nice. That said, I don't mind running over to the Erik's location in Dinkytown, particularly since their service staff have bent over backwards to help me in the past.

A successful bike shop would have to compete with the high level of service and the late hours of a place like Erik's - their 9PM weeknight close is fantastic.

The seasonality of a bike shop is obviously a concern. I just don't see a ski/snowboard biz happening just yet in NoMi.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Yes, the questions "Do I want a bike shop?" (yes) and "Can we make a bike shop financially viable?" (maybe...I hope so) are quite different.

Johnny Northside! said...

One spam comment rejected with a link to a Chinese language personals site.

Emily said...

I don't want to goto "uptown" only to get a new tire. It's not about convenience it's about making NoMi a place like every other part of minneapolis. i just got a 1970 peugeot bike so i will so need a shop close!

Anonymous said...

Dyna says:

Now that April 1st is passed and we're part of Minneapolis again, take a look at the Midtown Greenway Bike Station. The city blew damn near a million dollars on that project which included a bike shop, coffee shop, bike parking, showers, etc.. We deserve as much, though being thrifty Northsiders we can do it for a lot less money.

The city set precedent when they spent darn near a million dollars to subsidize a privately owned bike mecca on the southside. We deserve and demand as much, though we'd prefer community ownership through a co-op or nonprofit model.

M. Clinton said...

I would absolutely LOVE to have a bike shop here. Actually, I need to buy a new bike right now. I was reading through the focus group questions and found the one about "Where you have your bike serviced" very interesting because I had never even thought of it - my bikes always get stolen before the get tot the point of needing any servicing!

Bryan Thao Worra said...

Great idea. Offering coffee and a bookshelf selection of local writers, zines and community newspapers would be in order so people have something to do while waiting? Healthy snacks would also be good.

geektopia's keeper said...

I would love a bike shop near by! I also need a tune up on my bike, and am not looking forward to lugging it over south to have work done.
I would add, also, that with our proximity to Theo Worth, snowboarding and skiing supplies might do well.

Patrick said...

Would the used bed store property work for a bike shop? It seems like a good location to me, and that used bed store has GOT TO GO!


You mean J&H? What's wrong with that store?


Pardon my ignorance, but what is wrong with "that used bed store"?

Angela said...

I would like to see motorized vehicle free zones in NoMi like in some of the nicer cities in Europe. There is no reason anyone should be expelling deadly carbon when they can walk or ride a bike. I do not support skateboarding, however and would support cops on bicycles to stop any attempted skateboarding.

Ranty said...

OMG I LOVELOVELOVE that adorable little building... I don't care if it becomes a bike shop, coffee shop, garden shop, ice cream parlor, etc. I just want to see it put to a good retail use! It's SO cute.

Eloise said...

Patrick, I find it very upsetting that you want to close the used furniture store so that a bike store can go there. The fact is there are poor people in NoMi who can't afford new furniture and are well served by a place like this. Your attitude is unfortunately typical of a lot of the people who think they are "improving" NoMi by making it unaffordable for the people who already live there. I am poor and disabled. I live mostly on SSI. I need stores like this because I can't afford to live in your yuppie utopia.

veg*nation said...

we do have a bike shop not too far away--one on one bike studio in the warehouse district.

i think they're successful because it grew out of a particular biking/racing network of people. if you go there on saturday morning, people are often gathering for a ride.

they have a coffee shop, great soup, and artwork.

Ranty said...

I would like to point out that the Hawkman himself sleeps on a used bed, which was given to him by me, after I acquired it on craigslist from a swinger.

I think it's on the blog somewhere, actually.

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

There will be an opportunity to learn how to maintain your bike right here on the northside, as well as a guided tour of the local bikeways and tips for connecting with the citywide system. Check out these classes offered at Patrick Henry High School:

Biking: Tune-up Your Bike & Yourself
Are you itching to go out biking after a long winter? Get ready to hit the ground riding. Dust off and grease up that bike. Learn how to patch tires and adjust the brakes. Get your helmet properly fitted. Review safe riding practices. Get tips on route planning and find out about online resources. Bring your helmet and your bike.
Wednesday, April 21 from 6:00-8:30 pm $5

Saturday Bike Rides with a Bike Walk Ambassador
Minneapolis is a great city for biking. These guided trips go through popular bikeways in your neighborhood and show you how to connect with the citywide trail system. Rides will begin with a basic ABC quick check to make sure your bike is ready to go and safety overview. Come with a bike in good repair and a helmet.
Saturday, May 22 from 10:00 am-1:00 pm $5.

For more information or to sign up, see

I know it's not the same as a local shop, but maybe this will do until that local bike shop opens.


Jay W said...

there is also a bike shop in NE, about 3 blocks north of Broadway, I dunno, 3 blocks off University....

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

LOL! I was just thinking about that little vignette from way back when. Here's that link.

Gilbert said...

The City should make a major investment in a bike store in NoMi. It would create much-needed "green" jobs.

Emily said...

Why do people think that people are trying to turn north minneapolis in to the next uptown? People are hurting financially everywhere... We are not judging anyone. Hell i got my couch from the side of the road.... But a bed? How do you clean it? Do they clean it before they sell it to you? Just think about it.... But don't think too hard... cause it can get pretty gross...

la_vie_en_rose said...

Emily, I've slept on used beds all of my life. I don't have some sort of disease thanks to it; as you can see, I'm very much alive. It's as I said before, you need to check out the mattress thoroughly before you take it (whether it's free or you're buying it). Even noticeable stains are a no-no to me.

Even people with money should think about buying used furniture. This country already has a problem with tossing old things aside when something new and sparkly comes along.

Anonymous said...

Yes I agree, the city owes NOMI a bike shop that creates Green Jobs. Another thing I always thought Minneapolis should do is hire the ex-gang bangers to green up NOMI house by house. Those old houses have a long way to go to being energy efficient. I would argue the carbon footprint of NOMI is the highest of any residential area in Minneapolis. By taking underserved youth and giving them an opportunity to work on their neighbors homes to green up the neighborhood it teaches them to invest in their neighborhood as well as respect the earth and themselves.

Got it all figured out... said...

North Minneapolis will never be Uptown. Seward isn't Uptown. Northeast isn't Uptown. Southeast isn't Uptown. Longfellow isn't Uptown. Only Uptown is Uptown. I doubt that the individuals whining about North Minneapolis becoming Uptown have ever been to some of the neighborhoods I just mentioned.

In my opinion, what North Minneapolis needs is not wholesale change. There are many many things that make North Minneapolis unique and valuable as it is. What we need to do is focus on the things that decrease the overall value of our experience in North Minneapolis. Here are the things that I believe deserve our immediate attention:

Crime of all types, but especially violent crime.

Anti-social behavior (behavior that causes harm to other members of society)- In this category, I include rude behaviors such as loud music or human activity that interferes with others' enjoyment of their own space. Littering, failing to maintain your property, failure to obey traffic laws-- the time for these activities has passed.

Immediate attention to the items I've noted above will improve all of our lives immediately. Attention to these items will make North Minneapolis a more livable, more enjoyable place, and will result in the overall improvement of our neighborhood.

A more livable neighborhood will attract and create a more economically stable population. A more economically stable population will attract investment. Investment will result in more commerce and more commerce will result in an increase in our communal standard of living.

If you want to share in this, start by picking up the trash in front of your house. Be courteous and think about how your actions will affect those around you.

Anonymous said...

The day Lowry Avenue N becomes West Lake Street is the day I move out of North. I lived in uptown for a number of years and in my opinion it's only good for crowded lake paths and overpriced bars, restaurants and shops. I want a North side that is affordable, which is exactly why I purchased a home here.

MeganG. said...

Well said, GIAFO, I'm totally on board - how can we push this agenda further? Let me know.

veg*nation said...

wouldn't that building be awesome as a kind of urban gardening and/or home energy efficiency resource center--with a bike info/repair component?

i can totally see teaching vermiculture in the car bays.

a multi-use center like that might draw in a broader spectrum of recessionistas & frugalistas, and maybe even get some xcel or other stakeholders involved.

Tre Tre said...

I like the idea of employing the brothers to make our hood more efficient. Me and my crew blowing insulation into these old houses yes sir! Bring on the jobs folks.

Anonymous said...

I think that the reference to the used bed store is about what takes place in and around the store besides the selling of used beds. In fact, if they sold more used beds, they'd be a fine business neighbor.

Shaniqua said...

A Youth Corps of under-served youth to clean up homes door by door and make them more "Green" is an excellent idea. This would create much needed jobs and improve the area significantly.

If we start taking NoMi's carbon footprint more seriously, the rest of the issues in the neighborhood will also improve. A rising tide of green jobs will lift all boats. People will be forced to comply with the Youth Corps Green job initiative. If they don't, they will receive citations and lose their property to someone who will appreciate and take care of the property. If people are delinquent on taxes or repairs,a division of this youth corps could deal with these people as well.

Pond-dragon said...

This is a good one A Red hand in the N.Irish Flag of Ulster!

I can see if you taking offense if for example you were an Irish Catholic and someone referred to you as "Red Handed" them would be fighting words.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm green or not i'm not letting some pants on the ground gang banger up in my attic. Thanks but no thanks.

Lance said...


I think that is a fantastic idea. It's about time that we put some teeth into the green jobs initiatives.

The neighborhood should be divided up into sectors and each sector could have a leader. Every house would have a designated time to be inspected. After the inspection the list would be provided to the green Youth Corps and they would be responsible for greening the property. The costs could be specially assessed to the home and paid over the course of years.

If the homeowner doesn't cooperate she would face large fines assessed by the IRS.

NoMi should make its mark by being the greenest parts of the Cities.

Common Sense said...

I don't understand why "the City should make a major investment in a bike store in NoMi."

Since when is it the City's role to open and operate bike shops?

Get a clue. Some enterprising biker should open a bike shop in NoMi, and perhaps the City can do it's part to incent the investment.

With or without City involvement, short of the necessary approvals, any bike shop should be opened, owned, and operated by a private individual or entity- NOT by the City.

The government can't do everything for us. Suck it up and take some risk.

Ranty is right, btw. This building is cool.

Anonymous said...

Normally i'd side with you but the city OWES NOMI and needs to start putting in some fundamental items here. The Green Jobs program would be a good start to upgrade the housing stock. A city operated bike shop would be an excellent way for the city to put in businesses it deems healthy for NOMI. I think a co-op would be next on the list on corners much like the inconvenience stores that need to go. If the US can own GM then Minneapolis can own a bike shop and any other business it things the resident should have.

Common Sense said...

Anon 2:17:
The City doesn't owe NOMI anything.
I do not have the figures but I would be interested to see them.
Can anyone confirm or refute the following statement:

"North Minneapolis is a net recipient (as opposed to net contributor) of City resources?"

The people of NOMI owe it to themselves to suck it up and take ownership of their neighborhood, and quit waiting for the public sector to hand everything to them.

As has always been the case, hard work, and Common Sense will carry the day; not handouts.

We can start by picking up the trash in front of our houses, and going to bed at a decent hour so we can get up and go to work in the morning.

Yes... It's going to require work, hard work.

Tre Tre said...

Ok but how can we go to work WHEN THERE ARE NO JOBS IN NOMI. Heck I can't even work at Urban Exposure now. Bring on the bike shop!

Lynn said...

NoMi has long been neglected by the City. RT Rybak bravely put up over 800 video cameras to solve crime, but not enough of them are located in NoMi, many of them are in parks, where the elite recreate.

If you live in the City of Minneapolis, your consent to be monitored by a video camera is IMPLIED. This is the law.

If people have delinquent taxes, delinquent repairs, or any police, fire or EMS calls to their property, their consent to have the City install a camera INSIDE their home is IMPLIED. This is the law - it's the same as owning a drivers license. You can't occupy your home without a building license, and this is the same thing. If you don't want this, don't be a deadbeat. No one on this blog would have to worry about a camera in their house, but the thugs would. With these in-house cameras, the City could watch what people are doing and keep them honest.

If the City is lacking in manpower, the Green Corps could do the work of enforcement and contracting for the installation of the cameras.

NoMi's crime, and carbon footprint, are not going to be cleaned up unless we take some serious action.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I'm more or less with Common Sense on this one. I do think the city owes NoMi in the sense that where there is the greatest need, there should also be the greatest allocation of resources.

However, ideally I don't want a bike shop that's heavily subsidized in order to succeed. I want a bike shop that is successful on its own terms in my community. The $64,000 question is how to do that. (And ironically, it may require some form of subsidy or tax break to get STARTED, but that should be only to start.)

In terms of the "let's give the kids hammers and have them fix up houses" thread:

I hear variations of this proposal quite frequently. I've never seen it work well and I've never known anyone who wanted a bunch of apprentices working on their house instead of seasoned experts. I would LOVE to see a win-win situation where homes are rehabbed/made energy-efficient and our kids get training and jobs. I just haven't seen this happen here or anywhere else.

Any ideas? Who's done this before? How would we make it happen here?

Common Sense said...

4th Amendment.
Check into it.

I still say North Minneapolis gets back more than it pays in, regardless of the what the "poor me," "poor North Minneapolis" victim-centric losers think.

CMarie said...

I haven't read through all the comments, but just some thoughts about the AWESOME idea for a bike shop in NOMI... How about the area around Plymouth and Sheridan for the shop? There are a few vacant lots and buildings that are in need of an overhaul, this location is right by the Grand Rounds trail that goes through Theo Wirth Park and the new Luce Line Trail, and within the park is the Theodore Wirth Off-Road Cycling trail for mountain bikes. I constantly see mountain bikers shoot down Plymouth toward the park. Also, I think it would be a good idea to partner with the Minneapolis Off-Road Cycling Advocates (MOCA) or the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclist (MORC) groups to get their thoughts and support of the idea. These organizations are huge and communicate a lot on their website and discussion boards. With the right idea and purpose for the shop, I think this would be an amazing addition to the community!!!

Just my $ .02 said...

The city of Mpls owes us nothing especially not a bike shop that will in reality serve only a small portion of NoMi's population. If the city does indeed OWE NoMi anything it should be improved safety, infrastructure and public transportation.

Rather than the city owning a bike shop, which seems asinine to me, why don't residents and neighborhood associations team up and start a bike co-op. Personally, I would love to see some type of garden coop where one could come for info, hold a plant swap/sale, etc. Dream big!

Lynn said...

Common Sense:

The 4th Amendment does not apply when people's consent is implied (such as living in a house or driving), when there is a police need (such as for fighting crime or terrorism), or in exigent circumstances (such as fighting climate change and carbon reduction efforts). Your citation to the 4th Amendment is quaint and outdated in this age of climate change and terrorism.

Anonymous said...

Maybe JNS can referee the debate about the 4th Amendment. He's a law school graduate after all.

It seems to me that maybe people shouldn't have a camera in their home if they aren't in trouble, but once they're found to be in violation of a law, ordinance, or building code it could be put in. I also think that landlords could put cameras in their rental properties. That would go a long way towards cleaning up the neighborhood trash.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, you certainly lack some common sense if you are trying to tell us that the city of mpls is, or even has any chance in hades of putting a camera inside someone's home to monitor them, especially b/c of things like unpaid taxes or crime convictions or whatever it is you are spouting.

Common Sense said...

If you can bat better than .340 Delmon Young should give you his spot in left field.

Lance said...

I think what Lynn is suggesting is probably illegal, but that's not to say it isn't a GOOD IDEA!!!

If you're not breaking the law then you have no reason to oppose this.

Bore me to death said...

Our taxes aren't high enough to pay someone to sit and watch the "Lance Cam."

Anonymous said...

I think you are all forgetting about another problem facing NOMI. Cigarette smoking. Think of not only the carbon footprint but the accidental fires and of course the danger of 2nd hand smoke to residents or other tenants. I'd like to see smoke detectors/alarms that call 911 in any of these "greened up" units where minors live. If you can't smoke until 18 you shouldn't have to breath it either. Landlords who receive the green improvements could be made to install these detectors as a condition of their rental license.

Anonymous said...

How can I get my young cousin in this Green program?

Fred said...

I'd prefer a place with a public shop , something like
the Sibley Bike Depot on University Av tho I like the Grease Pit in Dinkytown too:

Common Sense said...

I followed your links to the Grease Pit and Sibley Bike Depot, in Cedar Riverside & Frogtown, respectively.

I couldn't tell exactly what is going on with the Grease Pit from it's web page, but Sibley Bike Depot appears to be a private non-profit, as opposed to a "public" bike shop.

What else can you tell us? about either shop?

With Sibley, at least, it appears to be operating under an interesting model (not a private for profit enterprise, and not a publically funded (i.e. funded by our tax dollars) entity). It's a private non-profit entity, that operates as a "consensus based collective."

This model might actually work in North Minneapolis, at this point in time. Thanks for sharing this info.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the "Green Corps" project is well under way.