Unwanted bicycles are being sent from the United States and Canada to be made into power sources that drive corn grinders and water pumps in Guatemala. An organization called Maya Pedal is the force behind the effort to help poor people increase their corn grinding potential greatly so they can have more food, and sell their corn or corn products more easily. Maya Pedal also converts old bicycles into threshers, tile makers, nut shellers, blenders, trikes and trailers.
Just to be clear, it is humans who pedal the old bikes once they have been converted, so it is human power, but the bike technology is the means for doing the work that otherwise is done by hand. Guatemala is one of the poorer countries in the world with a per capita annual income of $4,690.
Maya Pedal has several partners in Guatemala to help them provide bike machines to people in need to help them produce more food and save time. In North America, Bikes not Bombs in Boston has collected and shipped two containers of old, but functional bikes to Guatemala. Working Bikes in Chicago has shipped one container of bikes there. Pedal Energy Development Alternatives in Vancouver, Canada has been instrumental in supporting Maya Pedal, and has sent a number of interns to Guatemala who have helped get the organization up and running.
If you have unused bikes, and want to donate them, try contacting a local biking organization to see if they are capable of collecting and shipping them, or if they have any interest in starting a project to send them in the way Bikes not Bombs did. If you are in Boston, Chicago or Vancouver you could contact those organizations directly. If they aren’t any options available in your area for donating bikes to Maya Pedal, you could email one of the above organizations and ask if you could send your old bikes to them, so they can pass them on. Another bike donation organization, Bike for the World, sends bikes to African countries.
Image Credit: AndrewDressel