FF08: Bike Donations

Each Friday, we publish a post from the team at Full Cycle – beneficiaries of the Surly Masher. These snapshots of their work and the youth served will help you get to know them better, and appreciate the importance of supporting youth experiencing homelessness in our community. We also encourage you to visit Full Cycle Bike Shop in South Minneapolis to see their work first-hand, check out the shop’s inventory, and get set-up for winter.

“I’m a friend of Blake’s, we used to work together,” says the person unloading a dozen or so boxes of assorted bike components and brand new accessories.

Every day, generous people donate used (and sometimes new!) bikes, accessories, and components to us. As folks clean out their garage, upgrade their ride, or keep up with growing children, we are happy to receive used bikes of all kinds. In fact, every bike we’ve sold or given away has been donated to us. In return, these individuals receive a tax write-off and the good feelings associated with knowing their bike is going on to a new life.

Hear that, Specialized Rock Hopper? Trek 3500? Vintage Miyata? Gary Fisher Mud Puppy? Get ready for your next act.  

So how do you donate a bike? And what happens to it one it’s been donated?

How to donate a bike

Donating a bike is as easy as 1-2-3.


Bring the bike to us. We’re open Wednesday through Friday from 12-7 pm and on Saturday from 10 am -5 pm.


We will assess a value and have you fill out a short form that we’ll submit to our Development folks.


Our Development team will send you a letter (either through email or mail) that you can use as proof of the donation for tax purposes.

Please note: Full Cycle is part of a larger organization called 'Pillsbury United Communities, doing great work across Minneapolis,' so your letter might look like it’s coming from PUC.  

What happens next?

After you donate your bike, it will end up in one of three places. 


Bikes sold on the sales floor create revenue that goes right back into the program. 

Have you ever worked at a non-profit?  “Restricted Funding” has an awful ring to it, doesn’t it? Lucky for us, by earning money through the shop, a big chunk of our income comes without strings attached or an outside person or entity determining how it gets spent. Being a social enterprise helps us weather the changes and trends in the funding world. This results in a more consistent and responsive presence in the community and programming for youth.*

* It also means that Big Tony, self-proclaimed “first intern”, still has a shop and programs to come visit 10 years after graduation. ”Big Tony” also rode a Long-Haul Trucker with custom wheels 150 miles in 2010. He completed the MS150 with other FC youth and staff, thanks to the good folks at Surly Bikes!


Our Free Bike Program is a big part of our youth services. Each year we conduct 200-300 appointments to help youth aquire, repair, and modify their bikes. In 2017, we gave away over 150 bikes to youth experiencing homelessness.

Why a Free Bike Program? It’s not hard for most of us to relate. A bike means freedom in so many ways: No money for the bus? Like fresh air? Would you rather be in control of your commute than boxed in a crowded light rail car or stuck behind a long line of cars? Do you like to know how to maintain the things you rely on? Check, check, check, and check. Oh yeah, and bikes let us express ourselves and our style. Plus, the skills developed while working on bikes can lead to future employment in an ever-broadening industry. The list of reasons why it makes sense to get bikes into the hands of young people is endless. Whether it's for fun, exercise, or transportation, we know that a reliable bike, lock, and lights will open up a new world of possiblities.


The last and final destination your donated bike might end up is out back in the alley.

Are we sorry about that? Not really. We’re typically able to strip the useful parts off any bike before placing it outside. And once it's out back, we’ve got a great relationship with the neighborhood scrappers who recycle it for us. It’s the circle of life, folks.

So there you have it! Donated bikes are just one more example of our motto: Bikes That Give Back! Thank you to everyone who has been donating bikes recently and over the years. Please, keep ‘em coming!

About Surly Masher

Surly Masher is a winter bike event benefiting Full Cycle, a non-profit bike shop providing job training, food, resources, and support to youth experiencing homelessness across the Twin cities. Located in South Minneapolis, Full Cycle is a social enterprise of Pillsbury United Communities.

Taking place on February 11, 2018, Surly Masher is the FIRST-EVER collaboration between Surly Bikes and Surly Brewing – two iconic Minnesota brands destined for a good mashing! This family-friendly event welcomes riders of all ages and abilities to test ride the latest from Surly Bikes on a demo course at Surly Brewing.

To guarantee a surly experience, this winter bike event will take place in February – a time in Minnesota that nobody wants to be left outside. Please join Surly Bikes, Surly Brewing, and all of our sponsors. Help us raise money for Full Cycle bike shop.

surlymasher.com | @surlymasher | #SurlyMasher

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