Today was the "Bike Blitz" at Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles. MMRB is located in the Midway at 520 Prior Ave. in St. Paul in a small nondescript office building with a couple of red Dero bike racks out front.
Despite the inconspicuous exterior, MMRB does good work. Mike and Benita collect bikes either from donations or from recycling events and repair them so they are safe and rideable. The bikes are then given freely to people that need them. Their typical clientele includes people in recovery, the homeless, low income and other needy folks. This is a ministry for them, but also a service to the community. They also sell used parts and a few bikes, but the proceeds go to covering operating expenses entirely.
I did my first Bike Blitz with them two years ago, now, I think... They participate in a Christmas Wishes program and repair and give away bikes for Christmas through this program. Today was the 2010 Bike Blitz, and I donated the better part of a day to helping them out. I got four bikes on the road for them in the time I was there, which is better than average, it seems.
Although the wrenching is entirely volunteer, they take good care of the volunteers at MMRB; we typically have a little food, some beer, and occasionally pie. Today we were treated to two different kinds of pie - apple and pumpkin. Given that choice, I usually go apple.
These are always kind of fun and I always learn something each time I go over there. Today I was schooled in the fine points of grip shifters (grrr). I also have absorbed quite a bit about how they run the operation, what's salvageable, and how to best get a tired bike back on the road quickly and efficiently. This is a really different style of repair than I do at home on my bikes, but the experience is additive, and the company is always good.
Thanks MMRB for putting this on and for being out there.