BOISE, Idaho (December 10, 2019) — Today, Boise GreenBike delivered 25 donated red bikes to the Interfaith Sanctuary to create a bike library for guests of the homeless shelter. The bikes are nearly identical to the signature green-colored bike-share bikes that have served Boise for almost five years. The only difference is that the red bikes lack the locks and controllers that make the bike share system operate.
“Many homeless people struggle with transportation,” said Jodi Stigers, Executive Director of Interfaith Sanctuary. “The goal of this program is to provide free access to reliable transportation so that our guests will be able to more easily get to job interviews, medical appointments, and the store.”
Boise GreenBike acquired about 90 of the red bikes from its sister system in Topeka, Kansas, as a donation from the manufacturer, Social Bicycles. Social Bicycles replaced these bikes with a newer model because the paint had faded badly. Boise GreenBike had hoped to repaint some of the bikes, buy new controllers and grow the system. Unfortunately, the initiative never got funded. Now that Boise GreenBike is transitioning away from Social Bicycles, program staff felt it was time to find a new use for these perfectly serviceable bicycles.
“The bikes will retain the proprietary nuts and bolts that make it difficult to remove the wheels, seats, and handlebars without special tools,” said Dave Fotsch, Director of Boise GreenBike. “We will be working with Interfaith Sanctuary to train some of their guests on how to work on the bikes in our shop.”
The new bike library at Interfaith Sanctuary also fulfills a goal of Boise GreenBike to create an equity program for low-income individuals who may not otherwise be able to use bike-share. The nonprofit Idaho Advocates for Community Transportation, which supports programs of Valley Regional Transit, including Boise GreenBike, received a grant from the Clif Bar Family Foundation to create a bike-share equity program. The grant monies will be used to purchase lights, locks, and helmets for the bike library.
Both Interfaith Sanctuary and Boise GreenBike consider this a pilot program. If it is successful, there are more bikes in the warehouse awaiting new homes.