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Meet Helena Howard, Education Associate with BikeMN

Hello, I’m Helena (she/they) and I am excited to join BikeMN as the Education Associate. I learned to love biking from my parents, who would tow me and my older sister in a trailer around the parks in Bloomington, MN. Once my sister taught me to ride, I enjoyed riding my bike and walking to school. In 2015 I moved to Minneapolis, where I worked for Animal Humane Society providing low-cost vet care, driving adoptable dogs cross-country, and snuggling baby animals.

During this time, I discovered bike camping and attempted to bike across the country. I didn’t make it (long story) but the trip sparked my interest in bike repair. During my three years as a professional bike mechanic, I felt most fulfilled when getting someone rolling again who needed their bike for transportation. I am also passionate about empowering others to fix and maintain their own bikes because it makes biking more accessible and there’s a wonderful sense of capability that comes with that knowledge. I enjoy facilitating repair nights as a volunteer for Grease Rag, a Twin Cities group for femme, trans, women, and non-binary cyclists.

My favorite part about biking in Minnesota is that during the hot summer, there’s always a lake close by to take a dip in. I also find biking to be a great cure for the winter blues and am glad to see winter biking become more popular, especially because as it is normalized it is becoming safer for everyone. 

When I’m not riding my bike, I love to sew and am learning to spin yarn and weave using wool from a llama farm in Waconia. I make upcycled jewelry and teach crochet classes at RETHINK Tailoring, a Minneapolis shop that focuses on keeping clothing and other textiles out of the landfill. I also enjoy puppetry, dance, and taking my dog Grazie on long walks.