Editor's Note: Due to unforeseen weather conditions, this event has been postponed until Thursday, Aug. 13.
In a grease-smudged apron, Jimmy Hallyburton adjusts his tattered short-brimmed cap to reveal the letters BBP drawn in thick Sharpie on the side. The apron/hat combo is the closest thing to a name tag you'll get at the Boise Bike Project's noisy new warehouse space off of Lusk Street. Hallyburton, who cofounded this nonprofit community bike center in 2007, sits at the front desk polishing the spokes on a dusty bike wheel while a dozen or so wrench-wielding volunteers clank and clatter away behind him.
"We've got some really great volunteers who have been here every day almost," says Hallyburton. "We've had a lot of help, which has been nice. I don't know if I could've done it by myself. I would've lost it at some point."
To pay the rent at BBP's new space and keep the A/C blowing, Hallyburton and crew have had to be creative with their fund-raising ventures. Their latest project, Art Bike, invited 22 local artists to create unique, decorated bikes that will each be auctioned off in the Modern Hotel parking lot this First Thursday.
"The Art Bike thing is something that we've wanted to do for a long time because ... it's just another way we've found to recycle stuff that we can't use," said Hallyburton. "We want to make sure that ... [artists have] a place where they can come find some metal scraps or some wheels or bent handlebars or a frame to make something really cool out of."
Spearheading the fundraiser is Amanda Anderson, wife of BBP cofounder Brian Anderson. Though Anderson and Sarah Lunstrum, a shop volunteer, only started organizing the event last May, they've been greeted with an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm from the Boise art community.
"People are just way more interested than I expected. Originally, I had six bikes primered ... then we had like 25 people ask for bikes, though I think we ended up with 22 in the end," says Anderson.
A big part of the rush behind getting the Art Bike event together is that bike-buying season is quickly drawing to a close and big biking milestones like the Tour de Fat and back to school are looming.
"I'm hoping, I'm afraid to say I don't want to jinx it, [that we'll receive] at least a couple hundred dollars for most of them," said Anderson. "Most of the bikes are cruiser-style, and people spend at least a hundred dollars on an old cruiser."
And quirky bike-enthusiasts with some dough will have no shortage of sweet rides to choose from at the Art Bike auction. Artists like Grant Olsen, Jerms Lanningham, Tim Johnstone, Anna Webb, Sam Stimpert and Noble Hardesty, among many others, have cranked out creations for the auction. The BBP warehouse is littered with bike frames decked out in Dia de los Muertos themes and tiny moon-walking Michael Jacksons. Artist Kate Masterson's frame glistens from the back of the shop, an eye-catching swirl of bright orange fading into Flintstone Push-up Pop peach with gold decals.
"I wanted something that was summery and kind of whimsical," said Masterson. "With the colors and the decals that I used, I wanted them to be somewhat organic and reminiscent of a sunset."
Another artist, Mike Landa, created a kid's bike that has been on display in the window at Boise Blue for the last couple of weeks.
"Mike Landa did a little kid's bike, cruiser style. It has training wheels, and he put a compass in it and then put all these maps on it," explains Anderson. "He wrote a little statement about how your first bike is your first taste of freedom."
Even though most of the artists' frames are finished, BBP volunteers still have their work cut out reassembling each of the 22 cruisers into functioning vehicles before the auction.
"There have been nonstop surprises: They're all old bikes, so getting them put back together is hard," said Anderson. "We had volunteers take apart the bikes in the beginning, so a lot of the parts got mixed up."
But mixed-up chains and gear-shifters is only a small problem compared to the challenge Art Bike organizers faced when trying to find a space to host the event. Though they had originally imagined the auction as a block party, they encountered resistance due to problems from their last block party on the Basque Block.
"The biggest problem is Boise Bike Week had a bock party, and there were so many bikes that ACHD got really upset because people were putting their bikes up in the trees," explains Anderson.
So, to ameliorate bike congestion at the upcoming Art Bike auction, Anderson came up with a solution: bike valet. Every person who rides their bike down to the event will be offered free valet bike parking sponsored by Boise Community Radio. And to sweeten the deal even more, each person who uses the bike valet service will receive a raffle ticket for a free night's stay at the Modern Hotel.
"We thought the best way to handle that is to have a parking area. And the Oakley Moody repair shop was more than willing to give us their parking lot right across the street [from the Modern] so then there won't be any bike stacking or anything like that," says Anderson. "We'd much rather have people ride down than drive."
And with a donated beer and wine garden, it's in everyone's best interest to leave their cars parked in the driveway. For every beer bought and each art bike sold during the event, 100 percent of the profits will go back into keeping the gears turning at the Boise Bike Project and to help support programs like Youth on Bicycles.
"[The money] is going to be put right back into the shop as far as getting stuff set up," explains Hallyburton. "Most of the money from our sales here [at the shop] goes to actually paying the rent and for our programs, like the Kids Build-a-Bike program."
From offering bike-building classes for kids to hosting ladies nights, when chicks can brush up on their bike maintenance skills, the Boise Bike Project has become an invaluable asset to the Boise bike community. And though most BBP members are unable to give back monetarily, there are hordes of eager volunteers who clock in countless hours organizing fundraisers and helping to fix up the shop. Due in large part to the Art Bike fundraiser, this enthusiasm has also rubbed off on another group: the Boise arts community.
"A lot of artists who have come down to do the art bikes have mentioned stuff about maybe painting some murals in here to help decorate the shop a little bit more," says Hallyburton. "That's something that we haven't had time to do yet."
Thursday, Aug. 6, 5-9:30 p.m., auction at 7 p.m. Modern Hotel, 1314 W. Grove St., 208-424-8244. For more information, visit boisebicycleproject.org.