For the second summer in a row, Free Cycles Missoula teamed up with CSKT’s Department of Human Rsource Development to provide bicycles, bike help and general maintenance lessons to youth (and some adults) on the Flathead reservation.
In total we recorded fixing 55 bicycles throughout the summer at the different home sites. We recorded giving away 45 bicycles. We believe the actual numbers are a bit higher, as not all people being helped were recorded due to how busy things were at times.
Arlee Workshop (Trailer Park-Lil Chicago Homesites)
We fixed 1 bicycle (gender unknown). We gave away 8 bicycles (5 boys, 3 girls).
St. Ignatius Workshop (Mission Dam Homesites)
We fixed 6 bicycles (gender unknown). We gave away 3 bicycles (2 boys, 1 girl).
Ronan Workshop (Andrews Place Homesites)
We fixed 2 bicycles (1 boy, 1 girl). We gave away 3 bicycles (2 boys, 1 girl).
Ronan Workshop (Woodcock Homesites)
We fixed 8 bicycles. We gave away 6 bicycles (2 girls, 4 boys).
Hot Springs Workshop (Old Bowling Alley Parking Lot)
We did not fix any bikes. We gave away 3 bikes (gender not recorded).
Elmo Workshop (The Hall)
We recorded fix 15 bikes (gender unknown). We gave away 6 bikes (gender not recorded).
Polson Workshop (Westside Playground/Basketball Court)
5 bikes were fixed and 3 bikes (2 girls, 1 boy) were given away at our first home site.
Polson Workshop (Turtle Lake Homesites-Head Start Building)
13 bikes were fixed (gender unknown). We gave away 8 bikes (3 girls, 5 boys).
Pablo Workshop (SKC Campus, outside Fitness/Event Center)
We fixed 5 bikes (2 boys, 3 girls) at the SKC campus. We also held an impromptu workshop with Mission Valley In Motion, where 20 kids learned basic bike maintenance and repair skills, as well as safety tips and Montana bicycle laws.
Pablo Workshop (Homesites West Side of Main St.)
We fixed 3 bikes (3 girls). We gave away 6 bikes (3 girls, 3 boys).
Overall, we feel the outreach was very successful and had a positive impact on the communities. Having a person from the DHRD was helpful for recruiting kids to the home sites, handing out helmets, and answering questions.
One hurdle we encountered was finding a way to wrap-up our interactions with the kids once they had their bicycles fixed or had received a bicycle. In some instances, monitoring kids that did not have guardians became distracting from helping others with bicycles.
Another challenge is that some of the people we worked with reported that they had received a bicycle from the previous year’s workshop and that, unfortunately, the bike had been stolen. We think that it would be very valuable to provide locks with the bicycles in future years.
The project seems to be in a good position to reach more people in future years. We see potential in reaching out to schools and other organizations far in advance so that more people know where and when to come. Also, art work on the school bus-or making it more unique in some way-would help to let families know that the “bicycle bus” is in town and ready to help!