Bikes for the World

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pedal-Powered Guatemalan-Style

Courtesy Bici Tec and BNB
The way we view a bicycle in America is largely as a means of exercise or enjoyment. More and more Americans are using bikes as transportation to work or to run errands. But imagine using a bicycle to pump water or grind your coffee in the morning. That's exactly what's happening overseas.

Bici-Tec in Guatemala is an organization started by Carlos Marroquin and in part supported by donated bikes from Boston based Bikes Not Bombs.

Carols Marroquin
Carlos takes an ordinary bicycle and cuts, welds, rebuilds, and redesigns in some cases, everything to make it a human-powered factory-like machine. They pump, grind, de-shell, grate, de-kernel, blend...all by pedal and chain.

So those bikes that aren't quite in trail-like condition you want to donate but don't know if it's worth it....certainly are! In Guatemala your old beater Schwinn may be delivering 5 to 10 gallons of water per minute from a family well saving time and energy for other important chores around the house.

Carols Marroquin founded Bici-Tec in 2012 as a way to use affordable technology, 'Bicimáquinas' (adapted donated bicycles) to further sustainable development in rural Guatemala.

Bicimáquinas, bicycle machines, offer a speedy alternative to difficult, tedious tasks that would otherwise be done manually or cost a lot in electric or gasoline required to run industrial machines. Bicimáquinas allow farmers to decrease processing time thus increasing their revenue. Check out some of the Bicycle Machines Carols has created.

This summer, 2014, Bici-Tec is offering a six week pilot program where YOU can learn how to make these pedal-powered machines. International and Guatemalan students will study side-by-side in San Andres Itzapa while Carlos Marroquin leads this hands-on course in designing and manufacturing his Bicimáquinas.

The School of Appropriate Bici-Technology will introduce students to the challenges faced by rural families and labor saving solutions. Learn more on how you can get involved.

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