Oberlin was once known as the city of 10,000 bicycles. With 8,600 residents and just over 2,000 college students, that's at least one bike for every person old - or young - enough to ride. But in recent years, even this bastion of bicycles has seen a marked decline in the use of two-wheeled transport. So members of a student-run bike shop have launched a new venture to encourage more people to ride bikes. Remember drive-in movies? Well, grab your popcorn and your bicycle and get ready for bike-in movies. 90.3 WCPN's Karen Schaefer reports.
Karen Schaefer-Oberlin is a community where bicycles rule. Each morning, motorists and pedestrians dodge dozens of bikes ridden by students, kids, and more mature commuters looking for some exercise or a way to avoid using gas-guzzling SUV's. Downtown sidewalks sport notices prohibiting bikes on the pavement and bicycle racks abound. Even so, cyclists in this small college town are on the decline. Fifteen years ago a group of students from Oberlin College started a venture to service those legions of bicycles. Adam Feldman is this summer's co-director of the Oberlin Bike Coop. He says anyone can earn a free bike just by learning how to repair one. Located in the basement of a college dorm, the Coop is a busy place, even when college classes aren't in session.
For the last three years, students at the Coop have organized a free outdoor summer film series for movie-buffs of all ages. You don't have to ride your bike - but you do need to remember the bug spray. These young filmgoers are excited about staying up late to watch a movie outside. For those who enjoy their films al fresco, the Coop has a stellar line-up, ranging from a documentary about how the automobile industry set out to destroy the trolley system to the bicycle classic, Breaking Away.
So far, the crowds aren't huge, but news of the bike-in movies is spreading. On Monday, the Bike Coop held its first film fest, featuring works by the independent Lost Film Festival from Philadelphia. And tonight, the curtain goes up again at dusk. In Oberlin, Karen Schaefer, 90.3 WCPN News.