What is a bicycle?
For many, at least in these parts, it is a toy. A weekend pastime, either in the foothills, or on the Greenbelt, or on that Sunday morning "club ride."
But from a worldwide view, it is transportation. Globally, I imagine more people will get where they need to go today on foot than by any other means. But I bet bicycle runs a close second.
Bikes also provide transportation for a growing number of local folks. Kids not old enough or rich enough to drive everywhere. Adults who can't afford to own and operate a car... or who choose a bicycle rather than a motor vehicle. (It boggles the mind, doesn't it? That people would voluntarily ride a bike instead of driving a car? Weirdos!)
Although bikes are way less expensive than cars, a decent new bike will still set you back $300 or more. And that can be daunting to a person who's struggling to keep roof over head, or food in belly. Which is where the Boise Bicycle Project comes into the picture.
The BBP is an amazingly-well-devised concept.
VOLUNTEER mechanics go over donated bicycles, giving them the neccesary attention to make them functional and safe. If a bike can't be renovated, the parts are pirated for use on other bikes. The renovated bikes are given away to folks who need one, but can't afford one. Bikes and bike parts are also available for sale to the public. Any proceeds go back into the "project."
What reward do the volunteers get?
They get the spiritual/emotional reward that always comes with giving to a good cause. But in addition, they get training / mentoring to become better bike mechanics. And they get shop space and use of tools for their own projects.
I know that my friend Clancy is involved in the BBP, and I hope he will provide his 2 cents' worth.
Visit the BBP Website for info on how to get involved. (Volunteers are always needed and welcomed. And of course donated bikes and foldin' money also keep those wheels greased.)