Bicycle Outreach Project with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes


 Medicine Wheel Bicycle Project   


Sponsored by The Department of Human Resources of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Free Cycles Missoula

Free Cycles collaborated with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in the summer of 2017 to provide education and outreach to the Flathead reservation. An old school bus gutted outfitted with stands, tools, parts, and bikes served 11 different home sites in the area. A combination of staff and volunteers were available for 3 hour increments at different home sites, teaching people how to fix their bicycle and providing free bicycles for kids in need.

Included Total of 10 Home Site Visits


Most of the help for this project was given to youth, although some adults did show up to the home sites and we helped them as well. In total we helped approximately 135 people throughout the summer at the different home sites. We recorded giving away 35 bicycles, although we know we gave away at least 40 bikes. At some points it was hard to get the perfect count for people helped and bikes been given new homes because we were so busy, so it is likely that these numbers are low.

Overall, we believe the outreach was very successful and had a positive impact on the communities. The support from CSKT DHRD was fantastic. Both Sherry and Berta were a huge help to us in regards to recruiting kids to the home sites, handing out helmets, and offering their help. We are very grateful they were able to be a part of the work.

There are many things we learned from this project that we can take into account for next year. For example, location is critical in order for things to go smoothly. Parking lots can be tough to work on, whereas in grassy, shady areas it is much easier to spread out lots of projects at once and keep both helpers and learners comfortable. We were also able to observe that the morning sessions had lower turn-outs than the afternoons.

One hurdle we ran into was a way to follow-up with people who still needed our help. Sometimes people would arrive just as we were leaving and we would not be able to serve them. We would ask them to either meet us at the next home site or make a trip to Missoula. Occasionally this would work, but not everyone has this ability or freedom. This is why having some sort of more permanent facility in the future could be beneficial to the area.

We believe we can even further help with marketing or collaboration to reach more people. We see potential in reaching out to the schools or other organizations in advance so that more people know where and when to come.

The Exact Numbers

Arlee Workshop


We helped 1 boy fix 3 bicycles. We gave 1 bicycle away to a young girl.

St. Ignatius Workshop


We recorded helping 17 kids and 1 adult.

Ronan Workshop


There were 22 people helped in Ronan.

Hot Springs Workshop


We helped a total of 5 people.

Elmo Workshop


We recorded helping 23 people. 5 bikes were given away in Elmo.

Polson Workshop


There were 25 people helped throughout the day. We gave away 10 bikes in total in Polson.

Pablo Workshop


There were a total of 12 bikes given away at this workshop. In total we recorded helping 28 people throughout the day

Dixon Workshop


The morning workshop not a single person showed up. There were 13 people helped at the second location. A total of 7 bikes were given away there.