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.
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
Sep 7, 2012

Venture North's first summer was a great success!

Second /All About Bikes/ graduating class
Second /All About Bikes/ graduating class

Dear Friends of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 

we hope you and yours had a chance to partake in our action-packed summer programs! We’ve had a really busy summer here at Venture North, and we are pleased to report that thanks to your generous and unwavering support, we engaged neighbors on the Northside and beyond in fun and educational activities appropriate for various age groups!

Some of the highlights of this summer included:

  • Bike Fest 2012, a series of summer bike safety and bike education courses for children. From late May through June, 166 children from 13+ neighborhoods came out to North Minneapolis parks to participate in Bike Fest 2012. Venture North staff and volunteers performed free safety checks, minor repairs, tune-ups, and adjustments to children's bikes. Kids toured several "safety stations," where they learned about basic bike maintenance and safety, eventually earning a “Golden Ticket,” presentable to Venture North for admission into an Earn-A-Bike class. Along the way, kids earned free helmets and locks and had a chance to enter in a drawing to win a bike!
  • Crunch, Zip, Zoom, a summer day camp based on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning designed to help kids develop skills for college while forming healthy habits. On Thursdays during Crunch, Zip, Zoom, kids earned a lock and a bike helmet by participating in bike safety courses and in group bike rides to Cedar Lake and Theodore Wirth Parkway, where they practiced using hand signals when making turns or stopping. Crunch, Zip, Zoom, run by Redeemer Center for Life in partnership with Venture North, was able to accommodate 45 children ages 5-12.
  • The first graduating class of our pilot program, Pedal Power 2012 STEM Camp, celebrated its accomplishments on Saturday, August 18, 2012. Pedal Power provides middle school girls with asset-based programming and with a positive social cohort, developing critical thinking skills along the way. We seek to inculcate a social environment that celebrates educational achievement and strong character in order to give girls the self-esteem and confidence necessary to succeed in school and to attain economic success. 
  • Venture North graduated its second class of All About Bikes students! 6 young bike-mechanics-in-the-making ages 15-18 completed the curriculum and are now ready to take on their first internship as bike mechanic apprentices! We hope to be able to host the interns at Venture North and welcome your support to reach this goal--please click on "donate" to make a contribution!

We are so thankful for all of your support as we continue to create programming that is impactful not only in underserved youth's lives, but also for our society as we encourage and enable youth to share their skills, talents, and gifts and to grow into tomorrow’s leaders. Thank you for partnering with Venture North in this very worthy goal.

Pedal Power girls learn about bikes
Pedal Power girls learn about bikes

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