Category Archives: neighborhood

Uncluttering, Spring, and Life

Okay, so a bit of a random check-in post since I couldn’t think of any pressing thing to write about. Mostly I tend to avoid personal update posts on this blog, but occasionally I like to check in, so here you go. And yes, I’m gonna bullet point it.

  • Someone in the past year recommend this book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week. It was at the library the other day so I picked it up and I’m gonna give it a whirl. I’ve always tried to keep a minimal amount of stuff around, and until now we’ve moved nearly every year (and big moves with only what fit in our car). But, having a house and being in the same place (that and having kids) for more then a year has definitely allowed me to accumulate more then I need, mostly of randomness. Anyone have tips on how and what they keep and what they purge? Throw them my way.
  • Yesterday we celebrated my son’s one year homecoming anniversary. It’s amazing to think he’s been with us one year already, and we look forward to many many more. Adoption is a beautiful thing. Ask me about it if you want to know more.
  • Spring is here (I hope) quite early for Minnesota. We’ve been out on the bikes (with the kids in tow), walking the neighborhood and more. With two toddlers it’s nice to be able to play and wander the neighborhood. And it’s great to see neighbors out and about.
  • I’ve been plugging away on still. Not sure yet if it’s a good idea or not, but still spreading the word. The benefits (connections I’ve made, the site itself) of it have definitely outweighed the cost (time mostly), but sometimes I wonder if it will ever get more buy-in and function the way it really could. Sorry rambling.
  • Semi-related, I entered a grant contest in hopes to win $50k for northside community projects. It’s a social voting contest, so if you want to help me by voting, you can sign-up for a daily (starting April 1st) reminder email here. Another random tangential endeavor (seems like I have a lot of those lately).
  • I’m writing for a collaborative of non-profits in my neighborhood. The stories and videos are going up here:
  • We went to The Wedge, a local co-op, last week. Sort of scoped it out (I wrote down prices), in another step toward some sort of intentional considerations in our eating habits.
  • And that’s the word.

Keeping a Simple Bike Project Simple

A couple months ago I shared this small vision of making sure every kid in my neighborhood that wanted a bike and a lock could have one. I really appreciated the overwhelming support and realized I hadn’t updated everyone on the progress. It’s been a fun ride.

The Northside Bike ProjectSeptember

At the beginning of September, Eli (my bike partner-in-crime) and I went to a small grassroots conference called BikeBike. It’s a very cool eclectic bunch of folks from all over the country who come together to talk about running community bike shops. We had a couple of guys from Nebraska sleep in a tent in our backyard. At the conference we learned a bit and hooked up with a guy named Jason from Sibley Bike Depot. Jason was excited about what we were doing and encouraged us along and promised the support of Sibley. A week or so later we check out Sibley to see what a real professional community bike shop looks like, it’s sweet. Sibley has a board meeting and agrees to support us by allowing us to order tools and supplies through their wholesale account. We put in a $550 order (from a neighborhood block grant) for locks, tires, tubes, patches, and more. At the end of the month we host a small “bike safety” gathering to connect with a few neighborhood kids and give away some bike locks (along with an elaborate system to help track whose lock and bike each is).


Sibley offers to give us some bikes. I was thinking maybe 10, but they say they’ve got plenty more. We take two pick-up trucks and put 67 bikes in the back! The bikes fill up half our basement.

A week later, Eli is given a big trailer from another bike group that’s disbanded. The trailer used to be for a traveling bike circus (tall bikes, strong man, etc). It has a wild mural painted on it, the side opens up to a stage and it’s seven feet tall. Not sure exactly what we’ll do with it yet, but it’s sweet. And it’s parked in my backyard.

We buy a few more tools too and start setting up shop at the end of the month.


It’s just me and Eli, but we’ve had our first two ‘open shop’ times where we mostly hung bikes up, set up a work bench and organized tools, but we’ve started messing with a couple bikes. We also scored a couch for the downstairs and as soon as I get the radio working we’ll be ready to make the shop public.

The plan is to have open shop hours every other week for other volunteers to come and help fix up bikes. Come spring time we’ll potentially have over 50 bikes to give out to neighborhood kids. I’m still planning on keeping things very low-key on my end, just giving bikes to kids who I know, but we’ve talked about partnering with other neighborhood groups to give out bikes through their programs.

Here are some photos:

And to finish things off, if your on facebook, consider becoming a Fan of the project there as I’ll be posting more regular updates and pictures as things progress.