- Learn how to make cool stuff out of shit found on the side of the road at Saturdays Better Biking program.
Chuck Harris calls himself an incurable "bicyclist recyclist." He can turn a discarded beer can into a rearview mirror. Give him a plastic bottle, and he'll make a helmet out of it. He'll show you how at Saturday's Better Biking With Stuff You Thought About Throwing Out.
Harris, an ex-electrical engineer, stumbled onto his trade in 1969, when he met a bike-riding physician who had attached dental mirrors to the sides of his visor for better peripheral vision. "They were like eyes on the back of his head," Harris recalls. Then it hit him: If you turn an aluminum can inside out, the shiny underside can be buffed into a mirror. He also discovered that mangled aluminum bike rims could be heated and straightened into roof racks and bicycle trailers, and that recyclable plastic makes excellent visors and helmets.
"When you put a bottle on the roadside, it'll still be there in 10 years intact," Harris says. "Because it's blow-molded, when you heat it up, it shrinks, and it increases its strength." Harris's business is also going strong: He recycles worn-out bike parts "and other useful detritus of consumer culture. But I'm free with my ideas," he says. "I'll show anybody how to make a rearview mirror." It starts at 6 p.m. at Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, 1823 Columbus Road. Admission is $10; call 216-830-2667. -- Cris Glaser
MAC teams don't get props.
Even ESPN knows the Mid-American Conference gets the respect usually accorded to courtside towel boys. The network's recent Bracket Buster games, designed to showcase perennial high-quality teams that nobody's ever heard of, included 4 MAC schools in its 14-team field. But it won't matter anyway, because only the MAC Tournament champion gets invited to March Madness -- which is why a dogfight ensues every year at the Gund. The conference's usual suspects are looking strong again: Kent State and Western Michigan both have 20-plus wins, and Miami, Toledo, and even Buffalo could cause problems. Quarterfinal tipoffs are at noon, 2:30, 7, and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11 (two games per ticket); semifinals are at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 12; and finals are at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 13. Gund Arena is at 1 Gateway Plaza. Tickets are $10 to $40; call 216-420-2200. -- Cris Glaser