Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Our Cycling Cinema

The Cinema begins! 

It's been a while but we know so many people enjoyed the cinema that we did a little review, can only make us feel warmer than we do now in cold October! 

We arrived at Longrun Meadow just after four that afternoon to start setting up.  It was a beautiful late summer’s afternoon – amazing considering the previous day, which had been everyone’s idea of the worst weather possible for a Bicycle Powered Cinema: cold, wet and windy!  Thankfully today promised to turn into the perfect evening – warm, but not hot, so that plenty of people would welcome the chance to get on bike and pedal as they watched the film.

Sitting in the shade of the barn were a small group of local teenagers, who had no idea what was planned for that very spot for that evening – but once we told them, they started enthusiastically Facebooking their mates to invite them along.  Colin arrived and started setting up the bikes and was immediately accorded rock star status by the rather giddy girls – his ripped T-shirt and jaunty hat for some reason giving him a glamour he never knew he possessed!  The screen was put up in front of the barn; if the weather turned against us, it could be easily moved inside – but we were confident that this wouldn’t happen.

Having tramped up and down the designated ‘seating area’ to check for nasties like broken glass and found nothing worse than some dog poo and a few big stones, we emptied the car of its mountain of stuff: cans of fizzy, boxes of chocolate and bags of sweets, a fold-up decorating table and a couple of chairs, two bikes, a box of torches and another of empty jam jars.  My information point cum refreshment stall began to take shape as other helpers appeared.  High visibility vests were doled out and donned with varying amounts of enthusiasm; as a hi-vis vest virgin, I’m not ashamed to say I wore mine with pride.

After a brief briefing from Hannah, four marshalls left on their bikes for Vivary Park, to greet the hoards that we hoped would be massing at the bandstand.  Amy, Sean and I took turns to place nightlights inside the jam jars and space them out along the footpath from the bike sheds by the Castle Sports Centre.  It was already starting to go dark…
Boys from 6cycles getting into the spirit of things. 

Cyclists (and some pedestrians!) started arriving, just a few at first, and then the large group from Vivary Park.  Quite a few opted not to leave their bikes in the bike shed and put them under the barn instead, where they could keep an eye on them.  There was even what looked like a home-made quadricycle careering around!  Folding seats appeared, blankets and ground sheets, sandwiches and flasks.  The ice cream bike was doing a roaring trade and keen cyclists of all ages were already on the 12 bikes, powering up the generator, aiming for the magic number 14.5 which would mean that the film could be switched on.

After a brief welcome from Hannah and an explanation of the sciencey bit – how a Bicycle-Powered Cinema works! -  from Neil, Back to the Future was up and running.  Thanks to our eager participants, there was no break – Colin, Dereck and the other marshals made sure that all 12 bikes were kept going and that anyone who wanted to had the chance to cycle.  The atmosphere was friendly and as balmy as the evening - although for those of use not cycling, it wasn’t quite as warm as it might have been and by the end I was glad of my multiple layers.

Thank to all of you who came along and helped to make the evening such a success.  Here’s to the next time!