Biking in Boise
The City of Trees, known as Boise, is a bike-friendly environment with access to the Boise Green Belt that intertwines near the river, colleges and parks. Out of such an environment has arisen the Boise Bicycle Project. This organization is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) community cooperative group that works to make sure everyone has access to a bike, regardless of income or background.
The organization was created in 2007 when two hotshot firefighters, Brian Anderson and Jimmy Hallyburton, set into motion those wheels that continue to turn at promoting the personal, social, and environmental benefits of bicycling. They both recognized a huge demographic of people that needed access to affordable bicycles and repairs.
“There was a lot we liked about the bike shops, yet there was a lot we saw missing. So the idea that started growing was to create a place where anybody—regardless of income—could have access to a bicycle and affordable bicycle repair.”
Since its growth from a small studio apartment to the old Boise Rescue Mission, and on to its current location on Lusk Street, it has become a strong advocate of affordable bike repair and educational programs that teach safety and bike maintenance skills. Since 2009, the Boise Bicycle Project has had more than 13,000 bikes donated from the community. Thus, Jimmy and his crew are able to work the magic that turns 75 percent of these bikes into refurbished bikes. Four-thousand of these bikes have been donated to kids.
When visiting Boise Bicycle Project, it is not uncommon to see youngsters and their family members in the workshop area where elbow grease, bike chains and wheels are turning. At Christmas time, Boise Bicycle Project has a giveaway day of bikes. All the bikes are donated and refurbished. Girls and boys draw a picture of their dream bike and submit it to Boise Bicycle Project to get on the giveaway list.
Perhaps most important and impressive within the organization’s humanitarian efforts is one of their most notable programs: The Shifting Gears Program. This program helps women who are in prison reintegrate into society with reliable bicycle transportation when they are released. This program teaches the women how to repair bikes, and they earn a free bike when they get out for transportation, jobs and probation meetings. For many, it has made them feel part of something bigger with overwhelming pride of what they are doing.
Message from Jimmy,
Bicycles are a tool that opens up a lot of doors. It’s not just about getting people on bikes for fun, it’s about helping people out there use their bikes to build a stronger community. The bike helps get someone connected to the community, no matter what their income level is.
If you would like to volunteer, or if you have a bike you would like to donate or any other contributions, visit BoiseBicycleProject.org or call 208.429.6520