|photo by stephen metz make|
I remember long, deep, emerald green streaks to the side, and one of alternating black and gold in the middle. The grass. The road...it's surface slick with water. The tempo of the dashes quickening with the slope of the hill. I remember the feel of the air rushing into my open mouth and my lungs, as though something was inhaling for me, effortlessly pushing breath in. The rain rose from the back tire in a perfect series of rapid fire droplets, drenching the back of my shirt with muddy water, my own battle wound. I looked to the grey, gathering clouds with twelve-year-old eyes and knew that I was alive. The church bells rang, competing in my ears with the wind. At the bottom of the hill, as the speed mellowed, I jerked the handlebars, rocked my own weight backwards, and rode the back tire for the final moments. My kingdom.
|photo by stephen metz don't forget|
When we choose to ride a bike, we are provided with an intrinsic sense of purpose, which is executed in a beautifully organic, unique way. The purpose is to move ourselves using a machine. The uniqueness arises in that we are the power to the machine. Our bodies are the fuel. Our will is the engine. Potential energy becomes kinetic, the instant the pedal is pressed, in this perfect transference of energy from organic to mechanical form.
|photo by stephen metz repair|
When we choose to ride a bike, we are getting a little piece of our world back. Each small decision we make to do this matters. Each mile of automobile driving we replace with a mile of bike riding is a small reparation, a small bit of the huge debt we owe, paid. The tiny hum of a bike tire amidst the din of trucks and cars is a ballad to our animal home. It is a living harmony of technology and nature. It is an extension of the time our kind will be allowed to inhabit this magical place, which will, inevitably absorb its chief destroyer.
|photo by stephen metz commune|
When we choose to ride a bike, we are getting a little piece of our bodies back. Each mile is a detoxification, a partial undoing of cellular damage we have wrought upon our inner homes. Sugar, fat, tar, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, anti-depressants, sleep aids, corn syrup, mercury, lead, parabens, fluoride, teflon, salt...we make thousands of automatic, thoughtless decisions to harm ourselves. Biking is a simple, attainable, understandable remedy. It's not a cure-all...nothing is, but, a good choice usually leads to more good choices. Good air in, bad air out.
|photos by stephen metz tools|
When we choose to ride a bike, we are getting a little piece of our minds back. That rhythm of breathing, that rhythm of working your body, of working your heart muscle and your sad, adult lungs, it corrects our big animal brains, too. Details, the white noise of the mind, the chaotic, blowing sands of the intellect, shift away in that perfect cycle of exertion, breathing, sweating, of existing, momentarily, for the simple purpose of arriving.
|photo by stephen metz information|
Just as the bike exists to support a single concrete function but, in turn, provides a myriad of beneficial byproducts, so too does MoBo, Cincinnati's only bicycle cooperative. MoBo is a non-profit volunteer-run cooperative dedicated to making cycling accessible and practical to everyone in the greater Cincinnati area. Founded in 2007, MoBo was formed in honor of bike enthusiast, Justin Morioka. The shop is located adjacent to the Village Green community garden, in Northside. The two are a perfect pairing, both advocating healthy, eco-friendly lifestyles, and community building.
|photo by stephen metz teach learn do|
Here's a rundown of how membership in the cooperative works and the services they provide. First, you join, by ponying up the twenty dollar annual fee. That's twenty bucks for an entire year. If you put in about a hundred miles of biking instead of driving, you've paid for your membership in fuel savings. With your membership you get access to their amazing shop, on Knowlton Ave. At the shop, you will find tools, grease, cleaners, and, most importantly, the knowledge and skills of the volunteer mechanics who will teach you how to repair and maintain your bike. Pretty amazing deal. If they so choose, each member also gets the opportunity to adopt a bike, which has been donated to the cooperative, at very reasonable prices. Once they've restored the bike, it's theirs to take home or give to a deserving person.
|photo by stephen metz focus|
When we choose to join MoBo, we get an entry point into all of the great things that we get from biking: movement, ecology, healthfulness, inner peace. We also get the friendship of a community of like souls. You will meet someone you like very much at MoBo. It's just a place where that happens. You know what you'll also get? You'll get a piece of your twelve-year-old self back..the one who rode happily in a kingdom of rain. It hasn't disappeared from you at all. It's just asleep and needs a breath of fresh air and a push to get the tires rolling.
|photo by stephen metz belong|