Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
Have you ever been in the parking lot between Emerson and Fremont and behind the Avenue Eatery, and noticed an open garage door with bicycles practically spilling out of the building? If you've wondered what was going on there, well wonder no more. That would be J.B. Hood Bikes, NoMi's first (at least in a long time) privately owned and operated bike shop. One of its proprietors, Jon Nygren, introduced himself to me at the Mayor's bike tour of NoMi.
We met again at a bike planning meeting this week, where I was the first recipient of one of his new business ideas...
...the emergency rescue plan.
I had been doing some rather long-distance biking, including the Grand Rounds and a trip back to Deming Hill, and I noticed that my tires were getting flat. So at the meeting I asked Jon if he had a bike pump with him. He said no, but told me of something he would like to roll out. Essentially you would call his bicycle rescue service if you broke down pretty much anywhere in Minneapolis. Instead of having to walk your bike to the nearest bus stop, wait for a friend, or limp home on a damaged cycle, he would be there within half an hour to fix your ride. If that wasn't possible with the tools on hand, he'd get you where you needed to go.
Jon didn't have a pump with him, but when he saw my tires as low as they were, he insisted on going back to his shop to get one so I could be safely on my way. As he filled the tires, we got to talking about all sorts of things both of us would like to achieve. Nygren has some visions for cycling that are kind of "out there," but in my experience most innovative people changing our community are entitled to at least one such eccentricity. He wants north Minneapolis (or our city as a whole) to become a biker's paradise. He has a model bicycle that could seat several people and would be enclosed in a shell, making it appealing to bike in all but the coldest months. He dreams of the ability to not just use these bikes in NoMi, but to manufacture them here too.
We could have a non-motorized NoMi - a "NoMo NoMi," if you will. (He's still working out the slogan.)
Jon and I share affinities for finding out and telling our community's history, for preservation of the old while embracing new technologies to bring together the community, and while we harbor no ill will towards the Redeemer Bike Center, we agree that public and non-profit funds are better spent on infrastructure that will in turn support private business ventures.
Jon and his business partner are working on getting permanent signage out front and hopefully will have a web or Facebook page up soon. In the meantime, stop on by J.B. Hood Bikes and support a local business!