If you like to move, there is a little bit of maker in you somewhere. You don’t have to be an expert in physics or engineering to appreciate your body’s effort to power a machine. It’s fun to watch a machine move, but it’s even more fun when you make it move.
Like squirting someone with water on a hot day using your own two feet.
A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Cyclecide; he said he knew a local guy he thought could make something inspired by their designs. As a long-time fan of DaVinci Days – and founder of Corvallis Spring Roll – I was smitten with the idea of something interactive at our kids’ bike event. Enter the bicycle-powered carousel created by Trevor Heald, owner of Marys River Metal Work.
It looks like fun, it feels like fun, it must be fun, yes? Yes. But. Powering something with your own effort teaches you something about yourself and your capabilities, too. Saturday at DaVinci Days, a wide-eyed mother started chatting with me while she and I watched her child power one of the water cannons. “I think he’s going to ride his bike . . . I’ve never seen him move the pedals a full revolution before! He’s figured out he can do it.”
Sometimes fun is a learning experience in disguise.
How did we get from decidedly grounded activities to bicycling in the air? Once Open Streets Corvallis 2017 was on, the fangirl in me needed something adults could ride. Our idea had bicycles on the ground powering a swing in the air. Trevor was otherwise inspired by something he saw at a makers’ fair at OMSI. His instincts are perfect – The Flanger is bicycle-powered hydraulics genius.
In the end, though, Open Streets Corvallis is about more flinging, hanging, and flying by bicycle. It’s about shared experience, acknowledging familiar and unfamiliar faces, intentional public gatherings, and making another kind of effort – to listen and know each other. It’s about building community. From 2017:
“The open street events are so important for community interactions and people getting to meet each other. Important for us seniors to not get too isolated.”
“I was energized by all the people who turned out, and I also had fun riding my bike along the parade route. This event showed me that the best way to get an introvert out of her nest is to have an event right across the street.”
Sometimes building community is a learning experience in disguise, too.