The Boise Bicycle Project (BBP) is a nonprofit bicycle cooperative that seeks to make bicycles, bicycle repair and bicycle education available to the entire community, regardless of income.
MiiR first partnered with the Boise Bicycle Project in 2012 in an effort to get kids on bikes. Today, this legacy partnership continues with MiiR's financial support of Shifting Gears, a program launched in 2016 by the BBP designed to provide bicycles to women getting out of prison.
Shifting Gears participants are female offenders under the jurisdiction of Idaho Department of Corrections. Through the program, the women are able to earn a bike for themselves upon release by fixing bikes for kids in their community, thereby learning employable skills in the process.
MiiR's grant to the BBP is expanding Shifting Gears to the East Boise Re-Entry Center. Because women there are furloughed to work and volunteer in the community, the program will take place entirely at the BBP, providing a number of benefits including a safe and empowering space to gather outside of prison as well as greater access to tools, bikes and mechanic training.
In its first year at the Re-Entry Center, the BBP hopes to graduate 20 women from Shifting Gears. In total, these women will build an estimated 450 bikes to be distributed to kids in the community, many of whom come from refugee families and have never enjoyed the freedom of a pedal-powered journey.
- Provide female inmates with valuable bicycle mechanic skills to be used on their personal bikes and for job seeking opportunities.
- Provide immediate bicycle transportation for women getting out of prison.
- Increase the amount of refurbished bicycles distributed to kids in the community.
"I first met Chey at East Boise Re-Entry Center, a work release facility that houses female offenders on good behavior as they begin to reintegrate back into the community through work and volunteer hours. She made it easy, extending her warm smile and voice without hesitation." - Rebecca Papé, Director of Impact
Read Chey's story here.
The Boise Bicycle Project hosted its annual Christmas Kids Bike Giveaway on December 16th, where 220 volunteers assembled to donate 374 "dream bikes," helmets, lights, locks and safety lessons to community kids. Considered the BBP's most impactful giveaway to-date, the Shifting Gears program was a huge part of that success.
- The Shifting Gears women from East & South Boise women's correctional facilities built 150 of the distributed bicycles
- 13 Shifting Gears women volunteered at the Kids Bike Giveaway
Current state of Shifting Gears:
- 20 program participants, 8 from East Boise and 12 from South Boise women's correctional facilities
- Approximately 15 kids bikes refurbished weekly by program participants
- Hiring for a full time Shifting Gears coordinator