By Patrick Dunphy

Starting Thursday and continuing through June 21, a north Minneapolis bike shop and coffee bar will host free bicycle safety and repair events for youth in city parks.

“We want to bring biking and healthy activities to residents on the North Side,” says Paula Anderson, general manager of Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee at 1830 Glenwood Av.

Operated by the nonprofit Redeemer Center for Life, Venture North employs local youth, helping them to learn professional skills and get experience fixing bicycles.

As part of Bike Fest 2012, an annual event of the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Association since 2004, volunteer mechanics will perform safety checks, minor repairs and tune-ups to children’s bikes, free of charge. The events will also include free food, bike accessory giveaways, a contest to win a new bike, a safety course for children, and instruction on fixing a flat.

The American Academy of Neurology will show a brain injury simulation to demonstrate the importance of wearing a helmet. The organization has donated helmets to Bike Fest.

Here’s the schedule for this year’s events:

  • May 31: Harrison Park, 503 Irving Av. N., 4 to 7 PM.
  • June 9: North Commons, 1801 James Av. N., 12 to 3 PM
  • June 14: Glen Gale Park, 2448 Ilion Av. N., 4 to 7 PM
  • June 21: Lucy Laney Elementary School, 3333 Penn Av. N., 1 to 3 PM