Bicimaquinas – The Amazingly Useful Low-Tech Bicycle Machines of Guatemala

Cheap, eco-friendly machines, made from discarded bicycle parts and powered by pedalling, are all the rage in rural Guatemala. They’re called ‘bicimaquinas’, and they are used for various purposes in the community – right from simple food processing to making shampoos and soaps.

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The unique device is the brainchild of ‘Maya Pedal’, a locally-run non-profit in the rural town of San Adrés Itzapa. Founded in 1997 as a collaboration between Canadian organisation ‘Pedal’ and local mechanic Carlos Marroquín, the organisation is credited with the invention of several devices that make use of spare parts from bikes and harness the power of human energy.

Each bicimaquina (bike-machine) is handcrafted at the Maya Pedal workshop, using a combination of old bikes, concrete, wood, and metal. Their designs are 100 percent original, and are both functional and economical. Priced at about $40 apiece, the machines come in several variations for different purposes.

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