Energy Corps member Brittny Horn with the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks Changing Gears project is working to get sustainable transportation to those in need. Brittny writes:
For those of you that don’t know about us, Changing Gears is a project under the Bicycle Coalition of the Ozarks to fix up old bikes for the homeless population in South Fayetteville. The individuals work to earn the bikes through the 7 Hills Homeless Center and will complete a safety and maintenance course. Along with their bike, they also get a helmet, a set of lights, and a lock to keep them and their new transportation safe.
Our very first Bike Donation Drive may have ended two months ago, but the excitement definitely hasn’t. I’m still receiving phone calls and emails from wonderful individuals with bikes to donate. To date, we have received 40 complete bikes and a random assortment of spare parts! Community member David Druding graciously donated space for the bikes while we look for a permanent home. I’m thankful for the extraordinary support from our community during the Bike Donation Drive. We received a lot of donations and moved our entire inventory across town all with the help of volunteers. It wouldn’t have been possible without Old Navy, Ozark Natural Foods, and University of Arkansas Office for Sustainability serving as drop-off points.
Next month, I will complete the League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) certification course. LCIs teach basic safety and bike education courses. By completing this training, I will be able to teach the safety and maintenance class when we distribute the bikes. If you’re interested in taking a Traffic Skills course or becoming certified, you should check out The League of American Bicyclists. They host events all over the country.
As the weather gets nicer, more exciting things are happening for us! We will hold our pilot class this spring for the first round of bikes. Currently, we are producing a video to let people know how the program is going and what we are about, so keep an eye out for that!
Brittny Horn is a senior at the University of Arkansas studying Sociology, Anthropology, and Sustainability. She has worked with non-profits for the last eight years and is currently involved with several organizations that focus on social and environmental justice. Brittny started Changing Gears in the Spring of 2012.