Monday, April 13, 2009

Maya Pedal

Here is a photo from the roof of Maya Pedal, an organization that recycles bike frames into machines. Volunteers from all over the world come here to fix bikes, make bike machines (bici maquinas, if ya wanna speak the local spoke), practice welding, or just help out. The guy who runs the shop – Carlos – is the main cog of this operation. We saw Maya Pedal during a slightly disfunctional chapter of its life, but I think the concept is a good one: use pedal-powered technology to increase efficiency and reduce oil dependency. (That's my interpretation of Maya Pedal's purpose.)

What is a bike machine? Imagine a bike attached to a blender so you can make a smoothie in the middle of a market without electricity. Picture a bike frame connected to a pump in the middle of a field: voila, you can water your crops. The list of bike machines goes on -- some, admittedly, more useful than others. The local women's coop, for example, uses bike machines to grind aloe plants into shampoo.

Our stay overlapped with a bunch of lively folks from North America -- all friendly, talented, and fun. We cooked meals, got greasy with bike parts, and learned about freewheel hubs. Gene was a pro bike mechanic. I streamlined the waste systems in the kitchen (no more fruit flies!).

After a couple weeks, we got back on our bike machine and pedaled on.

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