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Pink, red, black, blue, purple, green. The bicycles given away by one Wyoming man is a veritable rainbow. Since the beginning of March the Lauralynn Project, started by Richard Perkins of Cody, has given away 420 bikes.
Perkins began the initiative when he found out about a woman named Lauralynn whose bicycle was stolen from her place of work. Unable to drive, her bike was her only mode of transportation. Hearing this, Perkins’s heart broke, and he ended up giving her his own mountain bike.
That sparked the beginning of the Lauralynn Project, and with loads of community support, it has grown significantly. Locals routinely give him bikes to repair and give away, and staff at the local landfills even set aside bikes so Perkins can find them a good home and keep them out of the dump. He’s baffled at how wasteful some people can be. One time, he picked up a brand new bike at the landfill (still had Walmart tags on it), and the only thing wrong was a busted training wheel.
Perkins said his focus is to provide bicycles to children in Park and Bighorn counties, but a few of the hundreds of bikes have made their way outside of the community as far as away as Billings. In April he gave 60 bikes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cody and Powell, 30 to each.
Perkins responds to criticism of the program encouraging “welfare” by saying he’s just doing this from his heart. He has no qualms with helping make a child’s life better.
“I grew up in a low income home,” Perkins said. “I know what it’s like to watch kids riding by” without having a bike yourself.
Perkins will repair just about any children’s bike and find it a home. He said he can work through 10 bikes in a day and have homes for them all ready to go. If someone comes to him with a need, “I will get a bike that day,” he said. He also does his best to meet the requests of the kids as closely as possible.
The Lauralynn Project is always taking donations in the form of cash (which goes straight back into the bikes), but Perkins says he’d rather people donate parts. There’s more value to the project when people give a $100-worth of inner tubes than $100 for him to go buy inner tubes. As pretty much a one-man show, it saves him time and he can get more done when parts are given.
He doesn’t have any requirements or any paperwork for bike recipients. He doesn’t request any donations from recipients either. Small donations are only requested for deliveries to help pay gas costs. Connect with The Lauralynn Project by messaging its Facebook page or giving Perkins a call directly at 307-250-0132.