FIVE THINGS is a weekly feature on the Banjo Brothers Blog. It’s a short interview about life and bicycles with a notable person. This week’s FIVE THINGS is with Dann Zinke, a reader-submitted entry into our Five Things project. A Minnesota resident since 2008, Dann's managed Recovery Bike Shop in Northeast Minneapolis since 2016. Recovery Bike Shop is a breed of bike shop which mixes a commercial venture with a strong social mission. Using a mix of new and old parts, they focus on reasonably priced, safe, reliable, bikes for people in the community. By some standards, Dann's newbie to the "bike shop life" getting his first bike shop gig in 2010. A missionary's kid, he grew up around Tokyo and speaks Japanese. A man of adventure, he took a break from the bikes for a few years to attend Bible School and for an internship at a church in England. He's living the good life these days wrenching, riding, wearing lots of wool and trying not o.d. on Grant Peterson.
We think you'll enjoy this week's FIVE THINGS.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU RIDING?
DZ: Here in Minneapolis we're coming out of winter slush, so that means a practical bike with fenders. I always want to be riding something like what we're selling at Recovery Bike Shop, so I have a red 1992 Diamondback Apex converted for city use with some sweptback bars, front panniers, and a 1x7 gear range. It's also the bike that my girlfriend surprised me by drawing a watercolor of! It's neat. Last spring I flew to France with a friend to ride the Paris-Roubaix sportive, but I don't think that's in the cards this year! Come summer I'll get more miles on a lugged 1970s Windsor, recently repainted by Anthony at AP Paints.
BANJO BROS: WHERE ARE YOU RIDING?
DZ: Mostly commuting, but I also plan rides with my girlfriend that showcase all the Twin Cites has to offer. Vintage shopping on Minnehaha Ave. Bopping around to get drinks in North East. Tandeming over to Saint Paul to get some ramen. The fun is endless! I’m getting back to enjoying cycling for the destinations it takes you to, in addition to the sheer pleasure in getting there.
I rode the Fulton Gran Fondo century ride one year on a GT hybrid, converted to drop bars and a 1x5 drivetrain, and did it again last year on my Windsor with downtube friction shifters and non-clippy pedals.
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
DZ: I try to always have 3-4 books going at once, plus magazines and blogs.
I recently finished the book The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman, which provided a fascinating look into not just how products are designed, but also the psychology of how humans navigate a built environment. I found page after page really applicable to my job - not what I really expected when I picked it up! Because Recovery Bike Shop sells mostly used bikes, we're in a unique position that lets us both design how we want our bikes to look and ride, and arrange the flow of the sales process that puts our bikes in the hands of proud new owners. So we can take a question like, "What uncertainties or confusions are there around the bike buying process?" and address that in both how we build our bikes and how we train our salespeople. It's a total win-win!
As far as music goes, we've got YouTube or Spotify on all day at the shop, so our playlists get pretty varied: Destroyer, Christian Scott, The War on Drugs, Robert Cray, and Nick Drake are recent favs. Poliça is on pretty regular rotation too, not just because their music is a beautiful blend of vulnerable and edgy, but also because their frontwoman is one of our customers. Shop local!
Seriously, though, we're always on the lookout for music recommendations, so come stop in and share what you're listening to!
BANJO BROS: WHAT ARE YOU COOKING/EATING/DRINKING?
DZ: Haha, working in Northeast sure has its perks! I'm across the street at Holy Land far too often, stocking up on injera, hummus, and dates. I can pop down to the corner Co-op to get milk and tofu. I discovered [Minnesota native] Panther Distillery's Pike Street Bourbon locally, and wow, it's something else, too. So I guess right now I'm into eating very simple foods, unadulterated. Delicious!
BANJO BROS: WHAT'S STUCK IN YOUR CRAW?
DZ: One of the things that I love about our shop is that we have skilled mechanics who can pull from the old and the new of cycling tech to add as much value as possible to every bike. We know what standard is “good enough” for bikes, above which a customer may be paying more for bragging rights or esoteric differences.
Again, it's building a bike with the sales process in mind, and I think that's a huge strength in getting new people on bikes. We assemble and design our used bikes specifically for MPLS riding: simple, versatile, and reliable, so that they can easily integrate into the lives of even the non-bikey-est people.
So that's what I try and model. I rode the Fulton Gran Fondo century ride one year on a GT hybrid, converted to drop bars and a 1x5 drivetrain, and did it again last year on my Windsor with downtube friction shifters and non-clippy pedals. Anybody who walks into Recovery Bike Shop with $400 could walk out with a similar machine to tackle their goals!
MORE ABOUT THE FIVE THINGS INTERVIEWS FROM BANJO BROTHERS
A big Banjo Bros. thank you Dann for participating in this week's edition of Banjo Brothers' Five Things. These short interviews about life and bicycles will appear every Friday on the Banjo Brothers Blog. If you liked this FIVE THINGS from Banjo Brothers you should check our our full series of past five things interviews.
Would you like to be interviewed for Five Things?
Use the contact form on our website to send us a note. See you next Friday. Also, since you're here, we do need to mention, Banjo Brothers makes a whole line of tough, practical and affordable gear for cyclists. Thanks for reading.