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Maya Pedal

Maya Pedal is a Guatemalan NGO based in San Andrés Itzapa. They accept bikes donated from the USA and Canada and either repair them to sell or use the components to build a range of “Bicimaquinas” (pedal powered machines).

In rural Guatemalan towns, traditional energy sources are scarce or nonexistent, making essential tasks like washing clothes and irrigating crops labor-intensive. Founded in 1997 in collaboration with a group of Canadians from the organization PEDAL, the NGO became constituted under local control as Asociación Maya Pedal in 2001. 

Following a vision for sustainable development in Guatemala, Maya Pedal 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. 

Pedal power can be harnessed for countless applications which would otherwise require electricity (which may not be available) or hand power (which is far more effort). Bicimaquinas are easy and enjoyable to use. They can be built using locally available materials and can be easily adapted to suit the needs of local people. They free the user from rising energy costs, can be used anywhere, are easy to maintain, produce no pollution and provide healthy exercise.

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.

The 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. As well as building Bicimaquinas, Maya Pedal offers a bike repair service and sells used bikes in the surrounding area.

Maya Pedal’s designs are open source, with plans available on their website so anyone can access them. They also work with a number of local partners, NGO’s, agricultural cooperatives and organic producers.