Can bicycles anchor businesses?

Can
bicycles anchor businesses?

Curry Stone Design Prize

2010 Winner

Maya Pedal
Guatemala

In rural Guatemalan towns, traditional energy sources are scarce or nonexistent, making essential tasks like washing clothes and irrigating crops labor-intensive. Maya Pedal, founded by Carlos Marroquin in 1997, repurposes donated bicycles into bicimáquinas, pedal-powered machines that are sturdy enough to perform tasks like lifting water from wells, yet simple enough for children to use.

Maya Pedal’s workshop in San Andrés Itzapa hand-makes each machine from donated used bicycles and salvaged concrete, wood, metal, and other locally available materials. The range of different designs includes water pumps, grinders, threshers, tile-makers, nut-shellers, and blenders, among others.

The bicimáquinas help sustain local businesses. In San Andrés, a women’s collective makes organic aloe shampoo with the help of the “bicycle blender,” using the proceeds to support their families and fund reforestation projects. A local group in nearby Chimaltenango uses a mill/corn degrainer design to produce organic animal feed for its farm. Maya Pedal’s designs are open source, so anyone can build them.

We’re not asked to just do a design; we’re asked to come up with the question that we need to solve.
— Carlos Marroquin

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Tags: 2010 Winners, Invention, Product Design, South America

Maya Pedal

San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala
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