But that comparison is still subject to factors like poverty, and of the 9,015 bikes built by Boise Bicycle Project, the nonprofit has given away about two-thirds of them through programs like the Christmas Kid’s Bike Giveaway, according to BBP Volunteer Coordinator Clint Watson. For the last seven years, BBP has built and given away 5,000-6,000 bikes to children in need, and this year, it will donate as many as 350 bikes as part of its Christmas Kid’s Bike Giveaway.
Beginning in early November, the Boise Bicycle Project workshop, where cyclists from across the community have learned to repair and maintain their bikes, becomes something of a Santa’s workshop, with two or three volunteers teaming up to refurbish secondhand bikes. BBP has open shop nights twice a week, and about 30 volunteers participate in bike builds. The bikes are then given a once-over by BBP staff and paired with applications submitted by children without bikes of their own.
“When we get these applications we have a picture of what [the kids] have in their minds. We go through the bikes we’ve prepared and do our best to match them up one-to-one. It may not be perfect but in their minds it looks pretty close. That’s kind of the magic of the program,” Watson said.
Last year, BBP gave away 318 bikes during the event, and Watson said that this year, BBP expects to surpass that number, since each year, the number of applications for giveaway bikes increases by 25-50.