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Maya Pedal

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 grinding or blending food and lifting water from wells without requiring electricity.

Maya Pedal’s workshop in San Andrés Itzapa is staffed by local staff and international volunteers. Each machine is hand-made to order, using donated, used bicycles and salvaged concrete, wood, metal, and other locally available materials. The range of designs includes: water pumps, grinders, threshers, tile-makers, nut-shellers, blenders, and more. Maya Pedal’s designs are open source, with plans available on their website so anyone can access them.

The bicimáquinas help create and sustain local businesses. In San Andrés, a womens’ 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.