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Nampa Bicycle Project in search of a new home

A Picture of LaRita Schandorff, director of the Nampa Bicycle Project, wearing a blue jacket standing with a bike in front of a building in downtown location
Molly Wampler
/
Boise State Public Radio
File: LaRita Schandorff, director of the Nampa Bicycle Project, stands in front of the downtown location.

The Nampa Bicycle Project is looking for a new home and a new director. Director LaRita Schandorff started the project in 2017, modeling it in part after the Boise Bicycle Project. The Canyon County nonprofit gives bikes to those in need.

“We don't ask very much in terms of questions or requirements,” she said. “We just ask them to tell us their story and what they plan to use the bicycle for.”

Applicants then set up an appointment and come into the shop.

"We give them a refurbished bicycle and a lock, set of lights, helmet, backpack,” she said.

The shop is located in a Nampa School District warehouse downtown, but has to find a new home because the district is expanding.

The project helps people who don’t have access to a car or who need transportation outside of bus routes. So far, the organization has given away 400 bikes.

“I tell people it's like 400 stories,” Schandorff said. “Every bicycle is a different story, a different situation.”

The project has served families with foster kids and unsupported teenagers walking home in the dark after a late night shift. It also gets referrals from social workers who send clients trying to get back on their feet.

Recently, a father and his teenage daughter picked up a pair of bikes. He couldn’t afford to fix his car right away, but still needed to get to work.

With the cost of fuel and living going up, Schandorff has seen an increase in demand. The success of a community depends on providing transportation options, she said.

“People on bikes and people that are walking,” she added. “People that don't have cars are invisible in a community.”

Schandorff will be stepping away from the project and is hoping someone will take the helm. The organization currently relies on six volunteer mechanics and donations from the public. They have until December 1 to find a new location.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.