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Bike Co-Op Thrives in Northside

Road to Wellness

By Stephen Carter-Novotni · June 6th, 2007 · The Road to Wellness
At first glance, sticking a bicycle shop in the middle of a community garden seems a little misplaced. But as MoBo Bicycle Co-Op board member Gabriel Freeman says of the folks who operate the garden, �They essentially do the same thing we do, just with plants.�

MoBo is a new project � their garage doors opened just last week � of the Village Green community garden in Northside. Both projects are focused on sustainable living, a DIY ethic and on empowering their members. With a $20 annual membership you can learn how to maintain your bike and buy recycled parts for very little (most parts sell for between 50 cents and $1). You could build up a really nice bicycle at the MoBo workshop for around $50. If you�re struggling, they offer beaters for $5.

�We just want to be able to sustain ourselves,� board member Julie Griff says.

�Our basic mission is to give everybody in this area access to bicycles.�

Griff says the co-op works to be inclusive of women and to break down the stigma that says women can�t work on bikes. They�re simple machines and anyone can learn, she says.

�We�re taking bikes that would have been in the dump and revitalizing them,� board member Lucia Palmerini says. Parts that can�t be put back into service are made into art.

�It�s like a buffalo,� board member Rafe says. �There�s so much you can do. You go down to Mexico and people use bike parts for everything.�

Members of the co-op say the day they opened five neighborhood children came by with flat tires. Since they were just kids, they didn�t have the money for membership, but the group floated them in. It wasn�t exactly a scholarship, Palmerini says, but �it�s more of an investment in the future.�

�Hopefully, those people won�t be driving cars in 10 years,� Rafe adds. �We all believe that biking is a positive thing, whether politically or for the environment or for health,� co-op member Owen Stewart-Robertson says.

MoBo Bicycle Co-op is open Mondays and Wednesdays at 5-9 p.m. and Saturdays noon-5 p.m. at 1415 Knowlton Ave., Northside. Info: 513-541-4025 or mobobicyclecoop.com.

STEPHEN CARTER-NOVOTNI is contributing editor of this Body/Mind/Spirit page. Contact him with story ideas or with offers to write: stevenovotni@yahoo.com



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