Boise Bicycle Project is collaborating with the Idaho Department of Correction women’s facility for a new program called Shifting Gears. Two BBP mechanics led the first weekly bicycle repair training session March 25 with a group of female inmates.
“We’ll show up each week to teach a 0ne-hour training session on the basics of kids bike repair. The final hour is an open work time for the women to start wrenching away, and helping make some dreams come true for kids throughout the Treasure Valley,” said BBP Executive Director Jimmy Hallyburton.
The Boise Bicycle Project has partnered with Idaho’s Bounty, a local distributor of farm-to-table food, to deliver 15 kids bicycles to the IDOC Women’s Facility every week. Over the course of several weeks, the female inmates will learn the basics of bicycle repair through a series of classes. Once repaired, the bicycle will be transported back to the BBP and eventually into the hands of a child. Once an inmate repairs 15 bicycles, she will have be given a voucher for her own adult BBP bicycle upon release.
“This program could really solve a lot of problems for a lot of different people,” said Hallyburton. “It almost doubles the amount of bikes BBP is able to donate to kids while cutting our storage needs in half. And then it teaches bicycle maintenance skills to the women as they earn their bicycle for future transportation needs.”
BBP hopes the program could be duplicated in the the men’s facility and possibly in correctional facilities all over the country.