Readers of Adventure Cycling Magazine have been treated with colorful stories of bicycle travel all over the world, from the homelands of America to the far reaches of almost every continent.
We have read tales of friendly people sharing their homes, couches, and tables. Riders shared their struggles with rugged roads, relentless climbs, searing desert crossings, gnarly dog chases, crowded cities and sleeping under star-lit nights in many of the most remote places on earth.
Where else can bicycles take us?
How about outer space?
At the Green Bike Coop, in the small coastal town of Waldport Oregon, volunteer Chuck Lott is using old bike parts to take us to see the wonders of the cosmos.
He has built several telescopes out of wheel rims, stretched cables, handle grips and other parts he found in the Co-op’s recycle bins.
The Co-op is known for never throwing away a part that may be found useful by some bike enthusiast.
Parts have also been given to artists, gardeners, welders, fisherman, crabbers, oyster farms and hobbyists of all kinds.
Chuck, an astronomy enthusiast, saw that bike rims could be cut into arc shaped supports and brake and shift cables were perfect for aligning the lenses and mirrors.
His completed telescopes are capable of viewing distant stars, planets, galaxies and the vast unknown.
The style of Chuck’s scopes is known as “pseudoball” or “sudiball”, terms describing the absence of a ball and socket rotation device used on traditional telescopes for aiming.
This design eliminates much of the weight associated with the ball and socket design.
One of Chuck’s peers in the world of amateur astronomy said of Chuck, he is appreciated for “… the ferocity with which he brings the faintest spark of an idea into splendid reality”.
Chuck’s imagination has been put to work at the Bike co-op in a number of other ways, from designing replacement parts for older bikes to fabricating unique tools, including a laser lit wheel truing guide.
Hundreds of bicycle tourists heading down the west coast of North America have stopped in to visit the Co-op.
Most sign the guest book, many take pictures and others scrounge for parts; all this, of course, after free use of the floor pumps, work stands, bathroom and wi-fi.
The Co-op has helped riders from every corner of the world.
What they all have in common is their love of cycle touring and their set of Adventure Cycling maps displayed across their handlebars!
Green Bike Co-Op began as a community bike sharing program with a fleet of 100 “green bikes” available at no cost for anyone to ride.
The Co-Op evolved into a multi-service bike shop which offers tune-ups, rentals, repairs, loaners, sales, use of tools and classes on bike maintenance.
Green Bike is a community non-profit program under the umbrella of the Seashore Family Literacy Center.