Becoming an Explorer — with Jimmy Hallyburton

When you’re young, there’s little that surpasses the love of a bicycle. From the first time experiencing the freedom of pedal-powered independence to investigating the mysteries of your neighborhood, there’s nothing else like it. It’s pure, unadulterated freedom of exploration — a feeling that Jimmy Hallyburton has carried with him since the first time his sneaker hit pedal.

For a lot of us, we’ve lost sight of this innate need to explore the unexplored. As work, school, family, social life and everything else that drives our days continues to pull us in every direction, it’s hard to remember the last time we were able to experience something so pure. For Jimmy, he’s managed to marry these stresses into his pride and joy, the Boise Bicycle Project. As Boise’s community-oriented, non-profit promoting the personal, social and environmental benefits of bicycling, BBP functions as “a bicycle recycling center as well as an educational workspace in a diverse and non-threatening atmosphere. Through education and access to affordable refurbished bicycles BBP strives to build a stronger bicycling community.”

Since its inception, the BBP and Jimmy Hallyburton have devoted their time and energy to their community, knowing that “with dirty hands, rolling wheels and grassroots community engagement,” they’d be able to share the thrill of independence with the people around them. As Jimmy puts it, every bike is a unique tool, offering a new lens with which to experience the world around you.

Now, as we all know, biking is good for us. But, for Jimmy, that isn’t his end goal. If you want to be healthy, you’re going to be doing a lot more than just riding your bike to work. Instead, Jimmy rides for the journey. To better illustrate why, think about your car for a moment.

From memory, you can probably draw a fairly detailed image of the interior. You know it buttons, knobs, the color of the seats and the size of the steering wheel. You spend hours upon hours in it a week. Every day, you get in your car, drive the same route and repeat the process after 8 hours. It makes sense that you’d have such intimate knowledge of your vehicle. But, can you say the same about the streets you drive through? You make the same trip daily, but what do you know about it? What have you learned about the neighborhoods, the people, the community? You could be living somewhere for years and not really know it until you’ve experience it outside of the confines of air conditioning.   

“On a bicycle, you’re moving at the speed of discovery,” says Jimmy. “It’s faster than your feet, but it allows you to stop when you want — you’re not separated from the world… There’s a lot of perspective there. On the bike, there’s so much you can encounter. It turns your trip into a journey, not a destination.”

It’s that journey that Jimmy hopes to share with the people he meets daily. From within the BBP to his time on the TEDx Boise stage, Jimmy wants to encourage the Treasure Valley to slow down, to engage, interact and expand with the city — to become participants in the world around them.

“People hop on their bikes for a lot of different reasons, but each has the same side effect. They become an explorer.”