Changing Gears, SCBC’s newest volunteer-driven project, brings bicycle education to incarcerated members of our community.
We’ve partnered with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to provide a multi-faceted bicycle program to people who are in the county jails. The first phase of the program is classroom education based on the League of American Bicyclists’ nationally recognized curriculum. This will prepare the inmates for their release, when many of them will use a bicycle for transportation. In addition we will be adding hands-on classes in fixing flats and preventative maintenance.
The second phase of the program is a hands-on workshop at the North County Detention Facility. For decades selected inmates have participated in Jail Industries, a program that propagates and grows out plants for sale to the community and for restoration projects. The bicycle workshop will operate alongside the nursery, with inmates restoring donated bicycles guided by skilled volunteers.
Our survey of the inmates indicated that over 2/3 do NOT expect to have a car and driver’s license when they are released. Helping these members of our community reintegrate means helping them get to where they need to go. The third phase of the Changing Gears program provides basic, used, practical bicycles for transportation to inmates in need upon release.
You can help! The program seeks donations of the following items: bicycles (no department store bikes, no extremely rusty bikes), high quality bicycle tools, repair stands in working order, and bicycle parts in working order. Financial contributions will be used for consumable items like chain lube. Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition is a 501(c)3 and your donations to Changing Gears will be tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Plus you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping members of our community that you may not personally know, but who could use a hand preparing to re-enter society.
To learn more about Changing Gears, please contact program manager Sherry Adams at sherry.n.adams[at]gmail[dot]com.