Venture North Bike Walk Center

The fundamental and critical purpose of Venture North Bike Walk Center and Basset Creek Bike Works is to create the opportunity in North Minneapolis for community economic development through jobs and job training in bike shop retail and mechanics. Venture North Bike Walk Center serves children, families and adults who reside in or visit our community by providing biking and walking retail services together with other activity-based educational offerings that will enhance the health and wellbeing of those who are drawn to our center.
Jun 6, 2013

Gearing Up for Bike Weather at Venture North

Making a bike-powered smoothie
Making a bike-powered smoothie

Dear Friends of Venture North Bike & Coffee Shop, 

Slowly but surely, we're saying goodbye to winter and hello to another season of great biking weather! Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us. This spring, we're excited to help new bikers get ready to hit the road. No matter your age or skill level, Venture North can help you get the gear and knowledge you need to be safe and have fun on your bike. Come by anytime during our extended summer hours: Tuesday through Thursday 11am - 7pm and Saturday 10am - 6pm (closed Sunday and Monday).

Over the past few months, we've been busy getting to know our neighbors, forging new partnerships, and continuing our youth empowerment programs. Here are some highlights from Venture North’s most recent adventures:

  • Harrison Hang-Out: In May, the Harrison Neighborhood celebrated biking and health at the first Harrison Hang-Out. The free event represented a collaboration between Venture North and the Harrison Healthy Living Hub, a coalition of local organizations and residents interested in promoting health in our community. Funded by a grant from the City of Minneapolis Health Department, the Healthy Living Hub seeks to better understand the health disparities in our neighborhood, connect residents with health resources, and advocate for better health opportunities in North Minneapolis. The Harrison Hang-Out included booths from local organizations, live music, Zumba, face-painting, free food, an interactive BMX demo, raffles, games, and even a Bike Blender serving up fresh, bike-powered smoothies. It was a blast! We are so thankful for the support and participation of local organizations, businesses, volunteers, staff, and community members. 
  • Trade Skills Academy Bike Repair Seminar: We had a great time working with high school students from the Trade Skills Academy at MTS (Minnesota Transitions Charter School). Students worked with Venture North staff to complete a month-long bike mechanics seminar where they learned the basics of bike repair, maintenance, and built their own bikes from new and used parts.Two students from the seminar hope to pursue future internships at Venture North in the All About Bikes mechanic apprenticeship program. We look forward to continuing this great partnership!
  • New Coffee Bar Apprentices: Venture North welcomed three new youth apprentices to the Coffee Bar. Our apprentices are learning the barista trade while developing their skills in customer service, business, and professionalism. They bring great attitudes plus excellent leadership experience from past work with youth programs at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Come by to say hello and try out an iced coffee drink!
  • Pedal Power Girls Group: Thanks to a generous grant from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Pedal Power is back for another summer session! Pedal Power is a girl-led program that empowers middle school girls to take leadership in STEM subjects. Activities include fun field trips, classes, inspiring guest speakers, and community building in a positive, encouraging setting. Some of last summer’s awesome Pedal Power graduates are returning this session to serve as mentors. With their leadership, we think that this will be the best summer yet! 

We're looking forward to a busy summer of programs and classes, and we hope you can join us. Thank you for supporting Venture North Bike & Coffee Shop. With your help, we can continue empowering local youth and working towards a healthier, happier neighborhood. Ride on!

Mar 7, 2013

Kicking Off the New Year at Venture North

Dear Friends of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 

Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us! We have hit the ground running in 2013, continuing our youth empowerment programs and adding a few new ideas to the mix. Here are some highlights from Venture North’s recent adventures:

  • Bike Blizzard at Bryn Mawr Elementary: In February, Venture North partnered with a local school to teach students about bike safety and get everyone excited about biking their way to class. The program originated as a means to support the citywide Safe Routes to School initiative, a strategic plan to improve students’ health while promoting green transportation. While the weather outside was cold and snowy, the indoor Bike Blizzard provided a perfect opportunity for students to get active on bikes. With the help of Venture North staff and enthusiastic volunteers, students worked their way through stations to get fitted for a helmet, learn hand signals, practice using a bike lock, learn about tire maintenance, and bike through a challenging maze. We had a blast and can’t wait to see more young people biking to school this spring.
  • All About Bikes (AAB): A new session of AAB, our youth bike mechanic internship project, kicked off on January 18th. Apprentices learn everything they need to know to work in a professional bike shop, gaining valuable experience in customer service and bike repair. Apprentices also help our professional mechanic staff refurbish bikes for sale in the shop, increasing the availability of quality, affordable, up-cycled bikes in our neighborhood.  
  • Earn-A-Bike: Venture North continued the popular Earn-A-Bike class, graduating five students in January. By attending courses, students learn about bike repair and maintenance in addition to earning a free bike in the process. Students in this session also received free locks and helmets. Another notable fact – the course was facilitated by Lucas, a previous graduate of All About Bikes. We’re thankful that Lucas is strengthening his mechanic skills and providing cascading mentoring to our new students.

The winter can be tough for bike shops, especially in our neck of the woods where this time of year means big snows and sub-zero temps. Whether you’ve stopped by for a cup of coffee, donated online, purchased a bike, donated an old bike, or mentioned us to a friend – thank you! All of these things, big and small, help Venture North survive so that we can continue empowering local youth and working towards a healthier, happier neighborhood.

In the next few months, we’ll be busy planning our spring and summer classes and events. We look forward to providing youth with learning opportunities through Crunch, Zip, Zoom, a summer camp focusing on health and activity, and Pedal Power, a STEM education and biking program for middle school girls.

Again, thank you for supporting Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee. Ride on!

Dec 10, 2012

Happy news surrounding VN's first birthday!

Darrow at the 2012 Compass of Hope Awards Dinner
Darrow at the 2012 Compass of Hope Awards Dinner

Dear Friends of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 

we hope this holiday season finds you feeling as grateful for the past year and as excited for the next as we are! Venture North programming continues to develop and to make a difference in North Minneapolis youth's lives. We have several developments to report to you:

  • On Friday, October 26th, Venture North celebrated its first anniversary with the Compass of Hope Awards Dinner. Thanks to our donors' generous support, the event raised nearly $30,000, funds that will support youth programming, including Pedal Power, All About Bikes, and Earn-A-Bike. The celebration, held at the Science Museum of Minnesota, honored leaders who embody the hope of our community. Award recipients included Mayor R.T. Rybak; Richard Copeland of THOR Construction; Dr. Hui Hui Wang of the University of Minnesota STEM Education Center; Steve Flagg of Quality Bicycle Products; Marina Lyon of the Pohlad Family Foundation; and two alumni of All About Bikes bike mechanic apprentice training program, Darrow Jones and Lucas Herrera. Darrow is a college student and aspiring computer scientist, while Lucas is a college-bound high school senior and a devout jazz musician and drummer. As guests enjoyed a grand view of the Mississippi, we shared inspiring stories, celebrated community leadership, enjoyed great food, and rejoiced in the amazing things that have been happening at Venture North over the past year.
  • Venture North has been able to hire 3 All About Bikes graduates, including: Shatarra, a graduate of the very first All About Bikes class, who will be helping in the coffee retail section of the shop; Lucas, a graduate of the latest All About Bikes class, who has started teaching Earn-A-Bike classes for children 9-14 on Saturdays; and his former classmate Darrow, who has been helping Venture North with outreach and event support and demonstrations. We are so proud of our graduates and thrilled to be able to involve them in bike shop operations!
  • Additionally, Venture North has expanded its Earn-A-Bike programming to include adults. Earn-A-Bike programming for kids engages kids ages 9-14 in learning about basic bike maintenance. Kids participate by undergoing 12 hours of training and education and have an opportunity to work on donated bikes. At the end of the program, they keep their greatest learning tool--their bike--and are given a free helmet and lock to keep. The goal of the Earn-A-Bike class for adults is to increase transit options in the neighborhood while keeping bikes out of the landfill. Adults can volunteer to assist the bike shop in its administrative tasks. In return, they earn 12 hours of basic bike maintenance training and a donated bike on which to work and which to keep at the end of the class!
  • The next All About Bikes class will begin on January 18, 2013. Please see our website for applications and application instructions. We hope to see you in the shop soon! 

Our important work does not exist in a vacuum. We are so grateful for your persistent support and can’t wait to see what 2013 holds for Venture North. With your support, we look forward to continuing to help shape the positive futures of our talented and deserving youth. Thank you for walking with us this year—from the bottom of our hearts.

Lucas at the Compass of Hope Awards Dinner
Lucas at the Compass of Hope Awards Dinner
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