I was trolling the thrift shops this weekend looking for mid-century modern furniture when I came across a business I didn't know existed. Right across the street from the Salvation Army Thrift Store at Minnesota and 30th is Red Rover Bicycle Collective, which moved into the historic brick building at 11 South 30th Street about 10 months ago according to co-owner Chad Broderius, fulfilling a 20 year old dream.

It's a real risk starting a business in the downtown core on the south side of the train tracks where there isn't nearly the foot or motor traffic you might see at Broadway and 2nd. So far though, business is good as Red Rover is developing a reputation for restoring vintage bikes that had seen better days... they are also an authorized Giant dealer and have a big showroom with bicycles for any rider of any skill.

Understanding that being downtown isn't just about hanging your shingle but requires being part of the community, they often take the bikes they restore and auction them off for local charities like the Women's Run and Bikenet.org which works to expand our network of biking trails (below are pics of some of the vintage bicycles they've restored). Red Rover also hosts a weekly social hour every Friday at 4pm where people bring food and drinks and the neighborhood is invited. Word has it last Friday there were fajitas (my mouth is watering just thinking about it).

I had a chance to chat a bit with Chad and he's a wealth of bike knowledge and loves to share it. It's amazing how being nice can go so far! Good luck to Chad and co-owner Brian Kooyer!