Member spotlight: Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles
Q&A with Benita Warns, owner of Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles
Click here for video of the interview.
RM | Describe what MMRB does
At Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles we collect used bicycles, fix them and give them away. To pay for it, we sell used parts and accessories, used bicycles and a full line of repair services.
RM | How do bikes find their way to you?
The bicycles that we get at Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles primarily come from the five cities that we have contracts with for recycling services. People bring their discarded bicycles to either community recycling events or to recycling centers and they drop them off. We come and pick them up. We repair those that can be repaired and then we tear apart and salvage parts off of those that can't be. People also donate bikes to us. All they have to do is call us at 651-641-1037 and schedule a donation appointment, and they may bring bicycles in. The bicycles we need most are those that fit tall men, mountain and hybrid styles and lightweight bicycles to fit petite women.
RM | What is the process to request a refurbished bicycle?
To get on our wait list to receive a gift bicycle, all you need to do is call 651-641-1037 when our list is open. Leave the following information on our voicemail: your first and your last name, your height, and a reliable telephone number to reach you when the bike is done. We do not do means testing so anyone can request a bicycle. We do have a lifetime limit of no more than two bicycles per person. Our wait list right now is closed. To find out when the wait list is open, all you need to do is go to our website and we always have that information there.
RM | What other services do you offer?
The other types of services we offer at Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles are bicycle sales, where a customer can come in and purchase a reconditioned used bicycle or repair services. We offer a full line of repair services, everything from tune ups to wheel turning and just about any other service you can think of. We also offer sales of used parts and accessories, and we have a special outdoor sale on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 3, where you can browse a garage full of all sorts of second hand bicycle treasures.
In addition to our regular services at the shop, we also occasionally do mobile repair workshops. Typically we do these for low-income or homeless populations where we come and do bicycle repairs free of charge for them.
RM | Where does your passion for reuse come from?
As a kid, we were taught to never waste anything. We ended up saving just about everything and reusing it for one thing or another. My creative juices would get flowing, and so I would find all sorts of ways to reuse stuff for different purposes. We had gone to a neighborhood cleanup and we saw bicycles being discarded that were perfectly usable, we just could not stand to see that kind of waste, especially knowing that there was such a need for people to receive bicycles. And so we started collecting them. But my passion for reuse really comes from when I was a kid and not having a lot, and so we had to creatively use everything that we had.
RM | Why is a Reuse Minnesota membership important to MMRB?
Our organization, Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles decided to become part of Reuse Minnesota because we strongly believe in the reuse economy. We believe that we need to be using all of the things we have rather than making new stuff, because it is a much greener alternative and it is a more economical alternative. We feel that Reuse Minnesota does a great deal to promote and enhance the reuse economy as well as allows us to connect with other businesses with similar values to ours in the area of reuse.
Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles