CoffeeShop Chronicles: Bicycle power

Everyone has a story that should be told about themselves, their neighborhood, or someone they know. Occasionally, I set up at a table in a coffee shop and interview people who stop in. Today, I set up at the SugaRush Coffee Shop on University Avenue in St. Paul. Here’s another story:


Jason Tanzman, a Chicago native who’s lived in the Twin Cities for the last eight years, is one of the people who runs the Sibley Bike Depot, attached to the coffee shop. It has a mission to develop community through bikes.

The shop offers a free open shop for people to fix their own bikes. It also runs the Community Partners Bike Library, which provides 220 bicycles to low-income and community members. Anyone who donates 20 hours a week in the bike shop, gets a free bike.

The Sibley Bike Depot was once located in downtown St. Paul, but moved to University Avenue in 2008. “Downtown, we were really hard to find. The space was dimly lit. It was disorganized and cluttered. People didn’t feel very welcome and didn’t feel very safe,” Tanzman says.

“I came into this organization as a bike mechanic,” he says. “Then I moved into teaching classes and I’ve always enjoyed teaching people how to fix their bikes and teach them how far a bike can take them.”

Here’s a video the Sibley Bike Depot provided:

What We Do from Sibley Bike Depot on Vimeo.

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