Pedal-powered farm machinery for use in rural Guatemala

Maya Pedal is a Guatemalan NGO that works with international volunteers and local experts to remanufacture old bicycles to serve as "people-powered farm machines." The dozens of "Bicimaquina" designs include bike-powered washing machines, blenders, grain mills, water irrigation devices and animal-feed mills.

Up to ten volunteers from around the world take up residency in San Andreas Itzapas each year for several weeks at a time. Based on bicycle parts contributed by their partner organizations around the world, they work with Mr. Marroquin and his staff to produce between five and ten bicimaquinas a month, and up to fifty over the course of a year. Roughly half the working time at Maya Pedal is devoted building these machines, and the remainder is directed to an extensive bicycle maintenance program for the residents of the city. The bicimaquinas are sold locally for the cost of manufacturing. Several family-run businesses have developed from the bicimaquinas program including a shop that grinds different grains for customers, and a building contractor that uses a bicycle-powered concrete compaction machine at construction sites in the region.
Maya Pedal (Thanks, Hughadam, via Submitterator!)


  1. Oh, wow… I’m totally blown away! Do watch the two other videos, too!

    That is truly innovative work they do, and as it is low tech the machines can easily be repaired, improved and taken as basis for new innovations by the local population even if they would close their shop. I could see a need for shops like this all over the world, and not only in developing countries!

  2. These are great and look strong and practical. Like the work bike design noted earlier -one of a burgeoning proliferation of designs- this proves there is far more potential to this basic technology than we’ve imagined. Even the Penny-Farthing has found new life in the YikeBike. Few technologies ever come close to realizing their full potential because they are too quickly pigeon-holed by patents and market logic into one to a few most-obviously profitable applications. Looking at these clever machines, it seems the possibilities are endless for what might be pedal-powered and locally developed.

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