What's Going On With Jimmy?

 
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There are lots of rules about nonprofits and what they can and can not do in regards to supporting political candidates. Some of the consequences of getting it wrong can be big. So I want to make sure I address this early and directly. I am running for City Council this fall, but that does not mean I am leaving the Boise Bicycle Project. If elected, City Council would be a part time job; and I fully intend to keep my position at BBP and pursue our mission of making bicycles, bicycle repair, and education available to the entire community.

As a 501c3 nonprofit, the Boise Bicycle Project cannot promote, support, or endorse any political candidates. That includes candidates from the staff, board, volunteers, and supporters. BBP employees and board members can support anyone they want when they’re not on the clock, not in the building, and not representing the organization. We take this very seriously, have discussed this issue with our staff, and have put systems in place to ensure the integrity of our organization.

We ask that you honor the Boise Bicycle Project, and our dedication to serving the community, by saving political candidate discussions for outside of the shop. We also ask that you help our staff by not putting them in a position to comment about any person's political candidacy.

Here’s a great article about what nonprofits can and can’t do in regards to political campaigns. Please check it out.

Thank you for your tireless commitment to the Boise Bicycle Project and our work to make sure everyone has access to bicycles and the countless opportunities bicycles create.

-Jimmy

Smart Cycling 101: More to bike safety than knowing how to turn

Being that we work for a bike shop, most of us at BBP are avid bike commuters. If you ever get the chance to look at our staff bike parking at the shop, you’ll see all the commuting knick knacks and accessories kitted to our bikes. Lights, helmets, that one little bell that always doesn’t work… We definitely have all the gear to be safe while biking on the road. Pair that with our hand turn signals and knowledge of stop signs, and that’s all we need as bike commuters, right?

Last Tuesday, after our team took the Smart Cycling class, I realized there’s more to bike safety than just having the right gear and knowing how to turn.

Starting up in the BBP classroom early in the morning, with coffee breath and helmet hair, we geared for a day of learning about the rules of the road. For those unfamiliar with the Smart Cycling class, its a curriculum developed by the League of American Bicyclists that your can explore here! They are one of the nation's largest bicycle advocacy groups that promotes safer roads and a bicycling friendly America. Some of our team members have already been through the course and have been certified to teach bike safety at our monthly Kid's BASHes, but for most (like me) the majority of what we were covering was new—sometimes confusing—information.

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After going through the "Basics" of biking (i.e knowing that a bike has two wheels and can shift: we're bike shop people, we got this!), everything soon got a little confusing as we started to go through various scenarios of road situations and bike facilities.

Can bikes ever leave a bike lane, and should they? What are the differences between different types of bike lane?. How do we navigate traffic if there isn't even a bike lane there? Questions like these fostered great discussions within our group.

One of the main phrases we learned, which was repeated by our instructors perhaps 20 times throughout the day, was: bikers should position themselves in the rightmost lane that serves their destination.

I think out of all the silly jargon and acronyms we learned, that simple phrase opened my eyes (and most likely the eyes of others) of how to be a safer biker. And I also realized that me being a safer biker also makes it safer for every other biker that other drivers see!

With that excitement, we ended our classroom session to get on the road to practice our skills. I haven't been more excited to ride than the first time I road my bike with training wheels.

And riding on the streets of downtown really felt like my first time riding again. I stuck my hand out to signal very assertively (scanning before I signal of course!) I did an ABC (Air, brake, chain) quick check on my bike before riding. And the quick overview of certain preventative bike handling skills like "rock dodge" made biking fun again.

The weather wasn't as fun as our spirits, with the clouds starting to rain, but we eventually went back to the shop to take our final test. 7 hours of bike education and safety really paid off as everyone of our team passed!

With our Kid's BASHes rolling around soon, I'm glad we had the opportunity to experience this class.

I think there is still a lot more to learn as bikers and motorists to make our roads and communities safer, but going through this curriculum is definitely a start. 

-N

Bikes of BBP: Get to know our staff rides!

First in our employee bike series – and probably the most unique bike in the fleet – is Saxton’s 1996 Trek Calypso. Saxton has developed a reputation at BBP as the authority on BMX bikes, old Schwinns, and anything heavily modified. His personal bike reflects those aesthetics as well as a priority on building a fun bike.

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The frame came from a local pawn shop. Saxton said the shape caught his eye one day and he felt he had to come back to get it. He got the bike for “a shop vac, a pro scooter and $80.” Then the fun started. Saxton said at this point, almost everything has been swapped out for parts from BBP. For the drive-train, he is running an American-to-English bottom bracket adapter, vintage RaceFace cranks, and a fairly modern Shimano rear derailleur. Saxton is trained as a welder and added the derailleur hanger himself! The rear triangle was originally spaced to 126 mm OLD (over locknut distance) and had to be “cold set” (that is – bent carefully) to accommodate a more modern 135mm axle.

The cockpit and handlebars also got swapped, with their own set of compatibility problems. Older cruisers and BMX bikes use a headtube size that people call 1 inch, but is a slightly different size than 1 inch headtubes found on road and mountain bikes. Saxton was able to get the headset he needed to make the setup work online. He found a cool carbon fiber straight blade fork with the long steerer he needed at BBP. The handlebars came off a K-2 bike, and have developed nickname “budget Jones bars” around BBP, mostly due to Saxton’s advocacy.

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Friends at Bullmoose Bikes in Twin Falls found him his Hite Rite® -- the original dropper post – designed by Joe Breeze himself.

What does Saxton do with this fully custom rig? Well, he says it can do it all. It can get you to work and shred the gnar in the foothills later that same day. Saxton reports it does not make climbing easy, but going down is way fun. He rode it about 100 miles over two days for our pedal-powered employee retreat last year. Overall the bike is a testament to Saxton’s skill and style. The bike hearkens back to the klunkers built in the 1980s – where mountain biking got its start – while also being a completely unique machine.

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Ride on Saxton!
-Wes

Movements and Moments: Giving to BBP in March

According to the internet, December is the month of giving. But Boise acts otherwise.

In fact, I see Boise giving all year long. Through volunteerism, donating and raising awareness for organizations, movements and moments, our community and its generosity is truly unique.

This month, we are lucky to have been chosen for TWO different giving opportunities! These opportunities couldn’t have come at a better time. In 2018, we held our biggest ever Holiday Kids Bike Giveaway, giving away over 600 Dream Bikes. Now, entering our 2019 youth programming season, we want to expand our impact to new families, spreading the freedom a bicycle provides, a feeling we all know and love.


Christa, our Youth Programs Coordinator, has the following goals for our youth programs in 2019:

-Give 1000 bikes to kids from April to December

-Host 40 Mobile Fix-It stops, serving at least 15 kids each time

-Host 2 monthly Fix-It nights at BBP.


How can you help?


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Next Tuesday (3/19): Mai Thai is hosting us for their monthly Mai Thai Gives Back event. 20% of Mai Thai’s proceeds earned between 5pm and close will go to our 2019 Youth Programming. So plan on dining at Mai Thai next Tuesday! Bring your friends, share some drinks and apps, eat a delicious meal…that's it! What a great way to prepare your energy for Treefort!


Speaking of which…there’s another way to give! No way!


Treefort Gives Back is an initiative to give back to nonprofits and organizations that keep our community going. We have been chosen, along with 9 others, as featured nonprofits this year.

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As always, BBP is hosting Treefort bike parking near Alefort from Friday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm. During this time, you are able to keep your bike safe and dry under the tent, check out some BBP Merch, make a cool Treefort button with our button maker, and say hi to the BBP Staff and Volunteers! We will be accepting tips that we’ll dedicate to our 2019 Youth Programming. Help us accomplish our biggest set of goals yet!


No cash? No problem. Download the Cauze app (developed right here in Boise) and connect with us, other nonprofits, and local givers. Cauze works like Venmo: once you connect your bank account, you can donate with the touch of a button, taking little time away from your festival fun. We highly recommend downloading the Cauze app to give back not only during Treefort, but for an easy and quick way to give all year long.



Heading into the sunny season, this is what I’ve been waiting for. The events, the sun, the community bike rides, the pedal power, the people! We have a fun couple weeks ahead of us, and that fun will continue through April. And May. Heck, all summer long.

I can’t wait to get started.


Get excited, and please join us for an action packed and impactful year.

-Nina


Cool Tools! A New Member's Night Series

 
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On March 8th, BBP will begin a new Member’s Night series about all of the tools BBP Members can access in our cooperative bike shop. This class is the result of feedback from January’s Annual Impact Meeting and has a goal of getting BBP’s members familiar with the $10,000s worth of tools they have access to on a daily basis.

Since BBP has nearly 1000 tools ready and waiting to be used by the community, we’ve broken the series in to four progressive sessions. While it is not mandatory to attend every class in order, it will be easier for newbies if they do. Classes will be a blend of lecture and hands on greasy tool usage!

 

March 8th: Tools on the Bench

In this class we will cover every tool (what it is and how to use it) that hangs from every workbench. These are the tools our own Mechanics use 95% of the time and the tools every entry level to expert mechanic should be familiar with.

  • Cool Toolz covered: All of the basics, chain tools, bottom bracket tools, freewheel and cassette removers, chainwhips, and more!

  • Ability Level: All Ages and Experience Levels

  • BYOBS: The “B” stands for beverage, the “S” for snacks. But no “BS” allowed!

March 15th: Torque and Measuring

In this class we will play around with all of the tools in BBP’s torque and measurement drawer. This is probably $3,000 worth of tools. This class might not sound super exciting, but is actually an action packed class covering the skills and techniques that separate entry level mechanics from seasoned veterans.

  • Cool Toolz covered: 4 different types of torque wrenches, calipers, 4 different types of measuring devises, conversion charts, and more!

  • Ability Level: All Ages and Experience Levels

  • BYOBS: The “B” stands for beverage, the “S” for snacks. But no “BS” allowed!

March 22nd: Advanced Tools

This hands-on class is recommended for those who’ve taken the previous two classes in the series, or for those more advanced in their bicycle mechanic skills. We will cover the tools that are too expensive and too advanced to live on each of our public benches. These tools are still available to everyone who uses our shop, but require special training in order to use without the assistance of one of our mechanics.

  • Cool Toolz covered: All of the different headset-related tools, derailleur hanger alignment, external bottom bracket tools, and all the fancy stuff that we only use 1-5 times a year!

  • Ability Level: Previous Classes and/or Bike Mechanic Experience Recommended

  • BYOBS: The “B” stands for beverage, the “S” for snacks. But no “BS” allowed!

March 29th: Frame Prep and Repair Tools

This hands-on class is recommended for those who’ve taken the previous classes in the series, or for those more advanced in their bicycle mechanic skills. BBP has about $3000 in tools dedicated to prepping new frames before the components are installed. Did you know that the headtube and bottom bracket shell need to “faced” before the headset or bottom bracket are installed? Did you know bottom bracket threads need to be chased? They sure do! The same tools can also be used for used frames that are damaged and need to be repaired. A lot of advanced mechanics have never used these types of tools!

  • Cool Toolz covered: Cutting and chasing tools needed for building up a new frame or repairing an old frame

  • Ability Level: Previous Classes and/or Bike Mechanic Experience Recommended

  • BYOBS: The “B” stands for beverage, the “S” for snacks. But no “BS” allowed!

 
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We hope you are excited to embark on this new class series with us. If you attend one or more classes, we are confident you will have a better understanding of all that BBP’s cooperative shop space has to offer its members and the community at large. We’re also confident your bike mechanic skill will go up 1-4 notches!

-Jimmy

VOLUNTEER PATHWAYS CLASS SERIES

The Volunteer Pathways program was created by volunteers for volunteers. This series focuses on building a mechanical skill set, teaching abilities, leadership abilities, and overall knowledge of BBP. Together, we’ll also be building ambassadors of our mission who can share the BBP experience with others.

The best learning opportunities happen when you have a tool in your hand and an educated person by your side to guide you through that process. Part of BBP’s Mission is to provide an educational work space in a diverse and non-threatening environment. Insert Volunteer Pathways.

Bike shops can be intimidating — lots of weird tools and parts; and at first glance, it appears everyone else knows more than you do (they don’t).

These classes focus on a hands-on experience with educational components centered on the following: correct tool usage, processes, and an introduction to the BBP Experience. We want to provide insight on what we do here and why. We want to build educated volunteers who feel good about the service they provide and feel as though they’ve learned a thing or two! The more knowledgeable people we have, the more teachers we have, and the better experience we have for all of our volunteers as a whole.

It is our goal to create a fun, interactive, and informative class based around four separate certifications: Take-a-part, Wheels, Kids Bikes, and later, Adult Bikes.

Please note that if you sign up for one of that Pathways classes, there are certain required commitments. Although we would love to offer this type of educational opportunity to each person every single volunteer night, with the nature of Volunteer Nights and the high number of people attending, we just aren’t able to do that. By setting aside Tuesdays to invest into you, we ask for a commitment to BBP in the form of Thursday Volunteer Nights. Please see below for guidelines.

Volunteer Pathway Guidelines and Requirements:

  • FULL Class-series attendance: the SAME group of participants for the entire series; each class builds off of skills learned the previous class

  • Commit to attend (at minimum) 12 hours of Thursday Volunteer Nights/Open Hour Volunteer shifts in a 3-month span after completion

  • Complete all certification requirements (i.e. complete a designated number of bikes/wheels/etc.)

  • Have fun! All we ask for is for you to share your freshly gained knowledge with us at the shop!

Benefits and Perks for gaining this AWESOME certification:

  • Own personal name tag with certification signifiers. Woo!

  • $25 Gift Certificate for used parts purchases

  • Volunteer Night signup priorities

  • Open Hours Volunteer Hour signup priorities

  • Become an invaluable resource to BBP!

TAKE-A-PART CERTIFICATION

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Ever wonder what happens to a bicycle when it is donated to BBP? Insert our take-a-part certification. When bikes come in that are a little worse for wear and require a too much for our mechanics to build back up, we pull all usable parts and recycle the rest. Those reusable parts then go onto other bikes we build up and resell OR go to our parts room to be resold. All of which helps us continue to fund our programs and services to the community. This 3-class series will go over in detail what we save, why we save it, and how to pull it off of the bike. We will cover tools and techniques to use, shop layout, and other processes that help keep things running smoothly.

WHEELS AND HUBS

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Stay tuned. Class curriculum and schedule coming soon.

 

KIDS BICYCLES

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Stay tuned. Class curriculum and schedule coming soon.

Shifting Gears Coming To The Men's Prison!

This Friday Casey and I will head out to the Idaho Department of Corrections Men’s Facility to begin the first steps of launching a Shifting Gears Men’s Program.

For the past 3 years our Shifting Gears Women’s Program has made it possible for incarcerated women to earn a future bicycle for themselves by fixing bicycles for kids in BBP’s youth programs. These dedicated women have fixed nearly 1,000 bicycles for children in Boise and beyond. See the video below.

 
 

While details about the new men’s program are still developing, we know there will be some key differences. The program at the men’s facility will be focused on a group of about 80 incarcerated veterans. Most of these veterans are serving sentences of 10 or more years, as compared to our women who are typically serving 3-5 years. This means the men will be released much less frequently, so the “earn-a-bicycle” component of the program is a little less central.

Instead, taking “idle time” and transforming it into something meaningful and productive will be one of the largest goals of the program. We plan to launch the program by having the men focus on basic kids bicycles (similar to the women’s program). As time goes, on we envision training the men to work on more and more complicated bicycles until they have the ability to work on just about anything. Within a few years, a lot of these men will be fully trained bicycle mechanics.

There’s more to be sorted out and more to be fine tuned, but we’re so excited to be bringing a new phase of Shifting Gears to our community’s incarcerated men. More details to come!

-Jimmy


BBP Tips to Riding in Winter Weather!

With all this snow and rain, biking can seem like a hassle. But it doesn’t have to be! If you’re new to winter riding and curious on where to start, come by BBP and we can help you find your stride. Until then, here are some tips from our staff to inspire you!

  1. Wear brightly colored, protective layers: Rain layers are light and easy to pack, and it’s easy to shake off the moisture once you reach your destination. We recommend visiting our friends at The Outdoor Exchange to find quality, second hand rain gear.

  2. Find some great fenders in our parts room! Our mechanics can teach you how to install them, saving your back from uninvited splashes.

  3. Don’t have a proper bike or tires for snowy riding? We’ve got your back! Upgrade your ride with new tires from our parts room. (If you’re a member, you can order new tires from one of our vendors!). Because the elements can be hard on your bike’s drivetrain, a lot of folks have a dedicated winter ride. Find an inexpensive Project Bike at BBP to turn into your newest winter rider.

  4. Invest in Bar Mitts! I personally use Bar Mitts I got from BBP, and cannot recommend them enough! They are great for extra protection when wearing gloves, and can be comfortably used alone on mild days. (If you’re a member at BBP, you can add Bar Mitts to our Member’s Watch List and get notified when they are donated, or special order them through our vendors and receive a 10% discount!)

  5. Deflate your tires a bit. A lower PSI makes it easier to ride on snow and ice.

  6. Patricia’s tip: Ride with a smile and always have fun!!

We hope to inspire some of you to keep riding this winter!

-Nina

Member's Nights. If they're not fun, why would you show up?

Our Wednesday night Members’ Classes offer you a broad range of education from the bottom of the bicycle to the top. But something’s missing. If something wasn’t missing, then we’d be packing out our classes week over week; and that just isn’t happening. While I stand by our curriculum that puts the power of bicycle education into your hands, I am committed to making our Members’ Night experience something that our members value as worth their time.

Wednesday night means you’re rushing from work or home to get to class on time. Wednesday night means you may already be preoccupied with the rest of the week that’s ahead of you. Wednesday night means fewer people are prone to show up to class because they’re up against the same barriers.

The beauty of a Friday night Members’ Night is that there’s freedom with what happens in class and after class. There’s a community that shows up. There’s connection. There’s fun. Wouldn’t you rather show up on a night where there’s space and time to learn and connect, rather than on a night where you’re rushed to get there, rushed to get home, already thinking about what’s ahead for the week? I know I would.

Beginning this week, we are moving our Members’ Night from Wednesdays back to Fridays, and I am taking a stand that these nights belong on Friday nights, regardless of time of year. There will be no Members’ Night tomorrow, Wednesday the 27th. Instead, Members’ Night will be Friday, March 1; and every Friday after that.

I’m a big fan of consistency, but not when it’s not working. And that’s why I’m unapologetically implementing this change immediately. Aaron, Yann, Jimmy and I have worked together to create a Members’ Night curriculum that excites us, one that leaves lots of space for community, connection, and fun.

So, bring a beverage, bring a friend, plan to attend class and then head out for what’s next. It’s Friday night, so there’s freedom in what’s next. You could head across the alley to Lost Grove, grab a late dinner at Madre, or head out for a night ride in our beautiful city.

Here’s what to expect from Members’ Nights going forward:

Members’ Nights will be every Friday night from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The first Friday of every month will feature some kind of non-traditional event or curriculum. Each additional Friday will be a Members’ Class. Stay tuned for new series and topics!

Friday, March 1: Movie Night! We’re kicking off the return of Friday nights at BBP with a movie. Feel free to bring your own beverages and snacks. I’ll be sure there’s plenty of popcorn popping. Bring a comfy camp chair if you can. We’ll be watching that iconic 80’s movie in which a group of kids ride their bikes to the Oregon coast in search of pirate’s treasure. Hint: it rhymes with the plural name for the Canadian dollar, loonies.

Friday, March 8: New Series—Cool Tools! Class one is Bike Tool Basics

Friday, March 15: New Series—Cool Tools! Class two is Torque and Measurement Tools

Friday, March 22: New Series—Cool Tools! Advanced Tools

Friday, March 29: New Series—Cool Tools! Frame Prep Tools

In April, we’ll be rolling out a series on wheels (see what I did there?…)

I’m so excited for what’s to come with our Members’ Nights. I don’t often have plans on Friday nights, but now I know that I always have plans: there’s education, fellowship and fun waiting for me at BBP. I hope to see you there. -Em

 
Look how excited Christa is about the return of Friday Night Members’ Nights. Can’t beat that smile!

Look how excited Christa is about the return of Friday Night Members’ Nights. Can’t beat that smile!

 

What did BBP take away from Boise's Energize our Neighborhood Interactive?

This weekend, BBP Staff and Volunteers biked to the City’s Energize our Neighborhood and learned about how to Cultivate and Sustain our Communities Identity. Below is our takeaways; what resonated with us, and how it will affect BBP’s impact!

Christa’s Takeaway: Community centered work is the future!

The community of Boise welcomed me with open arms when I moved here a year and a half ago, so I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about this community at the city's Energize Our Neighborhood Interactive! These are just some of the organizations who inspired me in their community-centered work:

Starlings rise in murmurations when they fly in community, which is why Jannus' Economic Opportunity office connects young women from refugee families with female professional mentors in their Starling Project, so that all people in our community can fly together.

Learn more HERE!

Home ownership is being made accessible through loan programs and home buyer education classes run by Neighborworks Boise. Among programs highlighted above, Neighborworks builds affordable housing, leads Paint the Town, Rake up Boise and SO much more.

Learn more HERE!

People turn a space into a place, and Idaho Smart Growth provides citizens like you and me with the tools--such as public hearing readiness--to communicate with developers in planning our neighborhoods.

Learn more HERE!

Nina’s Takeaway: Creating Resilient Communities

From topics surrounding energy use, farming, housing and placemaking, the common thread that I heard throughout the day was resiliency.

Aimée Christensen of the Sun Valley Institute started our day with Creating Community to Build a Lasting Quality of Place. She discussed the importance of communities coming together to identify and address vulnerabilities they face, in Sun Valley’s case, wildfire and affordable housing. She emphasized the importance of establishing trust, expanding our networks and collaborating on the issues rural communities face, and to create a resilient future. I found this to resonate on a neighborhood and city wide level, creating micro grids of collaborative communities to better our city, state and ultimately, our world!

City employees, Leon Letson and Anamarie Guiles, discussed the city’s new Grow out Housing initiative and its two main strategies, establishing a housing land trust and expanding their current housing incentive program for those earning 80% or below the average median income. We discussed loosening restrictions against ADU’s and other nontraditional housing for those not looking for single family units. These are not and cannot be the only answers to address Boise’s affordable housing issues, but expanding our variety of housing is an important step to creating a resilient future that offers viable options for those renting, unable to work, personal preference and other reasons for purchasing typical suburban homes.

Deanna Smith and Sarah Taylor of Idaho Smart Growth, Cynthia Gibson of Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, Anne Hausrath of North End Neighborhood Association and I paneled a discussion on Placemaking in the Street, focusing on transforming a street to be more than a way to get from one place to another, but as a place itself to connect with your community. We discussed the streets as a playground, to make them safer so our children feel confident to be outside independently. Resiliency is reshaping and reactivating the way we use our streets to be an equal place for walkers, bikers, movers of all abilities, races and personalities.

Resiliency is especially important in the midst of population growth, sprawl and a lack of affordable housing. What are we without a safe place to call home in a community we can rely on? Addressing these issues are essential to our vision of Boise being the cycling capital of America, and we believe the bicycle is essential to achieving all of this.


Jimmy's Takeaway: The Most Accessible City in America!

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If you look at this picture, you might first see the scooters blocking the sidewalk. Seems pretty inconvenient for pedestrians. Now imagine you're a person in a wheelchair or a person who is blind or visually impaired. Suddenly this is more than a minor inconvenience; it's a prohibitive barrier. Look a little closer, and you might observe that the scooters are only one of the barriers. The bicycle is blocking a third of the sidewalk as well.

Last Saturday's conference was full of impactful and educational moments, and the seminar that had the biggest effect on me was Making Boise Neighborhoods Accessible & Welcoming: A Roadmap. Within the first 5 minutes, it became clear that those working to make Boise more bicycle friendly must work collectively with those working to make Boise more accessible. Take that one step further: If Boise is ever to become The Bicycle Capital of America, this would go hand in hand with becoming The Most Accessible City in America. And we'd achieve both through Universal Design.

Simply stated, Universal Design is the design and creation of products, systems, and environments that are as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability, or situation. While Universal Design can create better architecture, websites, and just about everything else, there is an opportunity to take it to the streetscape, as well as a benefit for all things on wheels (bicycles, wheel chairs, walkers, and...cars). If bicycle advocacy and accessibility advocacy do not overlap, there is also potential for bicycle infrastructure to create prohibitive barriers for members of our disabled community.

Let's do better when it comes to street design by asking ourselves: "How will this design, this bicycle rack, this curb cut, this protected bike lane, this road construction barrier placement, affect someone with a disability?"

We can do better. And we can do great if we work together.

New Volunteer Pathways Program To Reshape Volunteer Night.

On Tuesday February 19th, BBP will roll out a new training program called Volunteer Pathways in effort to create leadership and mechanic training for our hardworking Volunteers. The new Volunteer Pathways program is the result of direct feedback from last month’s Annual Impact Meeting, and we are confident it will create a direct route for Volunteers of all ages, genders, and experience levels to grow there skills and involvement in BBP’s Programs.

“When we talk about BBP’s ‘Path of Opportunity’ it means creating open door systems that allow everyone to grow and thrive within the organization. It means creating a pathway for the kid who receives a donated bicycle to one day be the volunteer who fixes a bicycle for someone else in her community. It means that she can grow from a volunteer to a BBP employee. It means creating a pathway for her to become a leader within the organization.”

-Jimmy

In order to create this new pathway, BBP will reformat Tuesday Volunteer Nights to be specifically used for Volunteer Orientation and Volunteer training. Each Tuesday, from 6-7:30pm, BBP will make 10 spots available for the Volunteers Pathway class. Volunteers will need to register for this class ahead of time to ensure BBP can provide a healthy and welcoming student to teacher ratio. Two of the ten spots will be specifically reserved for volunteers who identify as female or nonbinary. The other eight spots are first come first serve. Each week will blend discussion with hands on mechanic training focused around a specific program, and, for the time being, will focus on four certifications.

  1. Take-a-Part / Bicycle Recycling

  2. Wheel Truing and Hub Overhaul

  3. Kid/Dream Bike Repair

  4. Adult/Team Bike Repair

February Class Schedule:

Tuesday, February 19—Take-a-part/Bicycle Recycling

Tuesday, February 26th — Wheel Truing and Hub Overhaul

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When the classes begin on February 19th, we will no longer be able to offer other Tuesday Volunteer Night opportunities. We realize this might be an inconvenience for those who’ve dedicated there Tuesday nights to volunteering at BBP, but we believe this focused training time will lead to increased and more impactful volunteer opportunities in the long run. As the Pathways Program gets underway, there will be more opportunities to take on leadership roles within BBP.

We recommend staying current on weekly BBP volunteer offerings as new opportunities arise on a daily basis. Volunteer shifts will still be available throughout the week and during Thursday Volunteer Nights 6-8pm. These shifts will be updated throughout the month and you can find them here.

Please make sure you sign up for these shifts, including Thursday Volunteer Nights, ahead of time.

In summary, Tuesday Volunteer Nights will have more of an educational component designed to build the skill set of our volunteer base. Thursday Volunteer Nights will be formatted exactly as you remember. Thanks again for your understanding and patience with this new format of volunteer night. It is all in an effort to improve your BBP experience!

Lovin' Vibes Linger into the Week

Last Friday we had our Annual Bikin’ for Lovin’ to celebrate bikes, love, our loving community, video games…whatever it is you LOVE. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us!

Our mission to build a stronger biking community, to become the cycling capital of America, doesn’t just happen through our commitment to refurbishing quality bicycles, creating a path of opportunity for kids and providing bicycle education. We couldn’t achieve those programs without the commitment of our volunteers, members, staff and board. Without you, our programming wouldn’t happen.

So Bikin’ for Lovin’ acts as our appreciative love letter to you all. A way for us to thank you, to celebrate accomplishments throughout the year, and to foster one another’s BBP Experience; the Community, Connection and Empowerment that keeps us goin’.

Already gearing up for our next Social Rides? Mark your calendars, the next Social Ride dates are:

5/13 - CycloFemme Mother’s Day Ride

6/1 - Bike-a-Thon Family Ride

8/2 - Boise Goathead Fest Social Ride

10/5 - Annual Appreciation Party Social Ride

I have endless thanks to EVERYONE that continues to enthusiastically support us, especially for our partners that helped make Bikin’ for Lovin’ happen this year.
Lost Grove Brewing for donating a keg to our BBP Social Hour!
MADRE for donating delicious Chips n Salsa!
Spacebar Arcade for letting us use their space to keep the party goin!
DJ IGA The Independent Grocer for spinning sweet records at Spacebar. 
Boise Co-op for generously donating a picnic gift basket along with out Customized Tandem
Yogafort for donating two tickets to their Yogafort Launch Party!
Story Story Night for donating two tickets to their current flagship season!
Habitue for donating a stay in their East End Garden Home.
Vertical View Climbing Gym for donating passes and one month membership to their new facility, opening this fall!
Boise Bicycle Tours for donating two vouchers for a bike tour of your choice.

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We LOVED celebrating and bikin' with you all, thank you for lovin’ BBP!

-Nina

In Tandem: Welcome Back, Ben!

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When we closed our shop for the holiday back in December, Ben left for an extended vacation. For the past 2 months, he adventured around his home state of Florida, and we really missed his presence at the shop. He’s honestly one of the best people I know: so kind and calm and fun to be around.

Lucky us: Ben’s back! In honor of his return, I thought it would be fitting for you all to get to know him a little better. Rather than interview him, I’m going to let his bio speak for him, since we didn’t have it live on the website until today. -Em

Here’s Ben, in his own words:

Oh hi! My name is Ben! I'm a mechanic and educator at the Boise Bicycle Project. I'm a Florida boy from St. Petersburg. I've been riding bikes since before I can remember. I built my first bike in 2014 at the St. Pete Bike Co-op. I left my seafaring life on the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and travelled to the mighty Sagebrush Steppe in the Spring of 2016. I love bikes and believe that they connect us with each other and the world around us in more ways than we can easily imagine. I'm proud to be a part of a co-op that actively supports and nurtures the cycling community. I hope to share my skills and excitement for bikes to everyone who walks through our doors. 

When I'm not riding on two wheels, I enjoy simple meals, restful sleep, reading books, playing music, quietly being in nature and just killing time with good folks. There's too many goals to list here, but I'd love to live on my bike one day and see as much of the world as I can while I'm blessed with breath and decent health.

My pride and joy is a 1984 Nishiki mountain bike. His name is Chromeo and he is very strong and handsome. He takes me anywhere I need or want to go. We've shared countless sunrises and sets together. I've written poems about him.

Your Engagement in Action

Last Wednesday we had our 2018 Annual Impact Meeting. We wanted to focus on two opportunities:

-How we can improve Member Class attendance, and

-How we can improve our Volunteer Orientation and its accessibility to every BBP Supporter.

We divided our attendees into small groups so that we could dig deeper into solutions and next steps. So what exactly came out of the meeting? Read below for the top ideas generated by our small groups!

Volunteers

  • How do we enhance the fun, engagement, and effectiveness of BBP’s Volunteer Orientation experience?

    • Match new volunteers with experienced volunteers to build community and provide general training after the orientation.

    • Implement hands on training activity during Volunteer Orientation.

    • Create a handout for new volunteers to takeaway, including a tool guide explaining what tools are at each workbench and how they are used.

  • How do we build more inclusion and diversity through our Volunteer Orientation and the next two steps of engagement?

    • Host a special Volunteer Night for those looking to improve mechanic skills

    • Outreach our Volunteer Orientation- bring the orientation out into the community to workplaces and activity group meetings!

    • Recruit new volunteers at Mobile Bike Repair sites

  • What are your pie in the sky ideas that would make BBP’s Volunteer Orientation the best on the planet?

    • Create training videos to provide during and after orientation

    • Create an internship program with schools

    • Implement Pop Up BBP shops throughout Treasure Valley

Members

  • What are your ideas to increase ongoing attendance during weekly Member’s Nights?

    • Improve consistent communication to notify members of weekly class theme

    • Create a curriculum of special topics surrounding bicycling

    • Provide different types of classes beyond mechanics instruction: Open shop night, movie night, other non-curriculum based topics

  • What are your ideas to get BBP’s female and 16-30 year old members more engaged with weekly Member Nights?

    • Better advertising of classes that include pictures of female identifying mechanics

    • Women + LGBTQ specific Nights

    • Survey members on their experience with Member Nights

  • What are your pie in the sky ideas that would make BBP’s Member Nights the best on the planet?

    • Guest Mechanics from other bike organizations

    • Incentives for completing a class series

    • Hosting a ride after classes (Would also require moving the class date)

These were the major takeaways we received from members, volunteers, supporters, and maybe even you! With these improvements in mind, we will begin updating our Member and Volunteer programs to better your BBP Experience.

Thank you everyone who came to our Annual Impact Meeting, and thank you to everyone who has continued to support BBP through the years. Couldn’t make it? No worries, we are here to hear you. You are always welcome to contact a BBP staff member regarding a concern, idea or question.

-Nina

Create Change On Wednesday!

BBP’s Annual Impact Meeting & Free Pizza!

 
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Calling all BBP Members, Volunteers, and Supporters!

Our Annual Impact meeting is this Wednesday, January 30th, 6pm at BBP. We need your help with something, actually two somethings, that are extremely important. We’ve set bold goals for 2019, even bolder than usual, in effort to take massive steps forward in transforming Boise into a Bicycle Capital of America that serves all of its citizens. If we succeed in these massive steps, we could pedal right into a 2020 without limits.

The Two Big Action Items!

After free vegan pizza from Americana Pizza and short a presentation, we will break in six groups: three focused on creating a more inclusive, dynamic, and impactful Volunteer/BBP Orientation; and three focused on creating a more inclusive, educational, and engaging Member’s Night Experience.

Volunteer Orientation:

Since 2007, the Boise Bicycle Project has been hosting monthly or weekly Volunteer Orientations. Our goal has been to create an easy first step in getting involved with BBP’s impact. While our volunteer program is regularly praised for its ease of entry, we know we can do better when it comes to retention and inclusion. Specifically, we would like to see more women, youth, and people of color involved in our volunteer program, and we would like to increase the number of people returning to volunteer at least four times a year.

A successful outcome from these breakout sessions would include…

  • 3 key ideas to enhance the fun, engagement, and effectiveness of BBP’s Volunteer Orientation experience.

  • 3 key ideas to build more inclusion and diversity through Volunteer Orientation and the next two steps of engagement.

  • 3 pie in the sky ideas that would make BBP’s Volunteer Orientation the best on the planet!

Member’s Night:

Since 2009, the Boise Bicycle Project has hosted weekly Member’s Night classes, rides, and lectures in an effort to make the personal, social, and environmental benefits of bicycling accessible to our members. In 2017 BBP created a new BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) curriculum to make it possible for members to learn about bicycle repair while getting to know/maintaining their own bicycles each week. 2018/2019 Member’s Night attendance has been inconsistent and seems to have lost some of the youthful energy that was so present in years past. We know we can get that energy back and use it to build a stronger educated and empowered membership team.

A successful outcome from these breakout sessions would include…

  • 3 ideas to increase ongoing attendance during weekly Member’s Nights

  • 3 ideas to get BBP’s female and 16-30 year old members more engaged with weekly Member’s Nights.

  • 3 pie in the sky ideas that would make BBP’s Member’s Nights the best on the planet!

If you have two hours to spare on Wednesday, we could really use your help tackling these two big issues. By early Spring, we hope to put your ideas and input into effect!

BBP’s Annual Impact Meeting

(January 30th at the Boise Bicycle Project)

6:00pm - Free vegan pizza and socializing

6:30pm - Annual Report and 2019 Goals Presentation

7:00pm - Breakout Idea Sessions

7:30pm- Group Discussion

8:00pm - optional Q&A

All ages! Free Vegan Pizza! BYOB

(beer and wine is fine, but leave the liquor for later)

A Day in The Life... As a BBP Member

At the start of 2019, our team members set goals for ourselves, professionally and personally. One of my smaller goals for the year, a mix of professional and personal, is to learn more about bike mechanics. Before Sunday, I knew the basics of the basics. I could patch and change a tube, clean a chain, and that was about it! Earlier last week Yann and Aaron both cited “gunky gears” as an issue I was having, so I brought my bike into the shop to learn how to degunk my gears!

My day begins with a warm greeting from Patricia who is helping customers check out. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to have a bad day with Patricia in the shop. Christa, a longtime BBP supporter and our newest shop mechanic/ray of sunshine comes around the corner ready to help. We head to the shop floor and set up my bike to start a quick check up.

I quickly learn gunky gears were the least of my problems.

Christa and I were hired in November, and since then she has committed to learning bike mechanics, often coming in early to study our many bike manuals. Through her gained knowledge, she determined I should upgrade my chain, cassette, and large chainring, as well as adjust my derailleur. A bit more than I originally planned, but I couldn’t wait to learn how to do it all! It took a few hours, as well as a hand off to Camille, who came in the afternoon. I could go through the details of doing all those tasks, but that’s something I’m sure many of you know about. What you might not know about is the incredible talent that Christa, Camille, and our mechanic team has for teaching bike mechanics to all levels.

Yann would stop by and help Christa when needed, Camille would teach Christa and me the mighty wisdom that she has gathered here since she was a 16 year old Mechanic Apprentice. Camille taught me about specific tools and pieces, and graciously step in as I nearly broke my aluminum derailleur hanger. Oops.

As Camille and I were nearing the end of my laundry list, I began adjusting my gears and cleaning my bike while Camille taught two young women how to find their tire size and change tubes, helped another member with his mountain bike, and checked in on shoppers in our parts room. I couldn’t believe it. She taught me so much that I was able to finish the rest on my own, taught new skills to three other people (probably more!), and extended the BBP Experience to our Sunday shoppers. Camille is so cool. She is a fountain of bicycle knowledge, has incredible hands on teaching skills for all levels, works another part time job, goes to school full time AND rides a unicycle!? I wouldn’t be surprised if she could juggle as well.

So, this Sunday was my day as a member, really one of my first days with just that hat on. It made me realize how dedicated our team really is to helping our community find a bike, fix their bike, and learn new skills along the way. If you have ever wanted to learn more about bicycle maintenance, I may be biased when I suggest coming here, but our team creates a welcoming and educational environment from your first greeting at the door. I look forward to seeing what more I can learn from our team, and to watch them make an impact on community members.

A day in the life as a BBP Member is a good day.

-Nina

Community resiliency through the government shutdown

The Federal Government has been opened, at least until February 15th. After 35 days, federal employees will receive their two paychecks, and until the 15th budget negotiations will continue. Despite the reopening, uncertainty remains for 800,000+ workers.

This week, nuggets of gold would pop up on my feed, from the Idaho Humane Society offering pet food for families, St. Vincent de Paul offering relief on rent, food, utilities, and local restaurants offering discounts, Entertainment Center’s providing family passes, Credit Unions providing no interest on loans, and the Idaho Housing and Finance Association choosing not to report families unable to pay their mortgage to the credit bureau. Writing these down, digging deep into what Boise is doing to help our neighbors, I find myself simultaneously angry for the families that have to live in uncertainty, stress, fear, but also warmth in my heart over the overwhelming response Boise organizations have had to help one another.

While the government is open, let’s take this temporary moment of relief to recognize the actions taken to step up where our community needed relief. I want to recognize our neighbors for putting people over profits, our neighbors who see that helping our community, if profit for everyone. Join me in celebrating our dedicated community!

Boys and Girls Club of Ada County: Offering fee waivers for services where available

FamilyWize and United Way: Partnered to provide prescription discounts for affected community members

Idaho Humane Society: Offering 1 month of free pet food for government employees

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Kim Walen Farms: Ran a free Meat and Potato drive on January 28th for affected families and families in need.

Treasure Valley Family YMCA: Providing income-based financial assistance to access YMCA services

West Valley Medical Center: Provided free breakfast, lunch and dinner for government employees

Women’s & Children’s Alliance: Providing 25% for any federal employee

The STIL: Federal employees and their families receive a free scoop of ice cream!

The Local: Offering free lunches for families from 11:30-3, takeout preparation available for families with kids under 21.

Woodland Empire Ale Craft: Offering free beer to federal employees

Boise Acupuncture Cooperative: Free acupuncture for federal employees

Zen Riot Yoga: Five free classes to federal employees

Morrison Center: Free family four-pack tickets to “The Phantom Tollbooth”

City of Trees Real Estate: Free lunch for federal employees and their families on 1/29 from 11-2pm at Idaho Pizza Co. on Fairview

Find more organizations supporting federal employees through the links below!

-Nina