Four cans of yellow later, i had a glowing bici-maquina blinding me with its neon glory. Yellow was not the best color to try to paint over dark brown with, but also my techniques were wasteful according to Carlos- he showed us how to use the cans properly, i think it would have saved me a can.
Without orange spray paint i had to use the orange paint from the shop. The problem with this was that every single brush was dead, dried hard as a rock, chock full o´paint. Not wanting to repeat the look of other non-spray painted items, i thought the best way to get it looking nice would be to dip it in the paint. But without enough paint or a large enough basin to do it in, i decided it would be a brilliant idea to pour the paint on. And blow it around.
It looked pretty good when wet, nice and thick, covered all of the flaws of the wood that i couldn´t sand out. I´d just have to wait for it to dry.
Come morning, my Pollock-onian experiment proved worthless, the paint was all cracked and ugly, it absorbed heavily into the wood in some places, not at all in others. It was an ugly mess. So i did the only logical thing, i poured more paint on it.
Oh, and i found a fan to encourage its dry time.
But, by one in the afternoon- on the day of the presentation- it was clear it wouldn´t dry in time. (two days later its still not dry). So i cut another pice of wood, fitted it, drilled, reattached the hub and spray painted it to a nice mellow orange creamsicle.
When i set the table on the bike i discovered that it had somewhow ended up un-level. So in Guatemalan mode, i looked around for a piece of metal, any piece of metal, roughly the right size to prop up the drooping corner. A nut sufficed.
Not a good weld, my first attempt blew a hole right through the square tube. We were running out of time, Carlos had to be called in, quick. Three bzzzzt´s and we were back in business.
Meanwhile in the background, several others are churning away at the peanut de-sheller. Mixing concrete and getting all kinds of messy.
The concrete was pusehd into a series of molds to form the necessary series of cones for the de-shelling process.
The leftover concrete, Carlos instructed, was to be put into a bike wheel while he was at lunch. Neither Anneliese nor I felt particularly confident about this considering that we´d never done it, and really weren´t sure. But the wet concrete had a natural countdown in place and demanded action. Right then, Johana showed up, she knew that the bottom needed water sprinkled on it, and that the whole wheel could be turned back in forth in place to settle the concrete.
With these two necessary procedural steps in place i took over and finished the job. I had seen Carlos smooth out previous fly wheels with a small wooden block, i found it and patiently pushed all the concrete just as it should be. It was a slow and satisfying process.
Once the glaring glow of my machine was dry i uncovered the pedals and attached the rest of the pieces, minus the handlebars.
If you are wondering what that small red circle is, its a prop to go underneath the base of the blender. It turns out the a miscalculation was made and the hub came up too high, forcing the base of the blender up off of the wooden table. The red donut fixed that.
I then went on to the handle bars. Since i had the yellow and orange, i thought it would be nice to have a couple hints of red, the donut and the handle bars. I bought some electrical tape and wrapped the handlebars with it. I really like the way it came out, especially when its on the bike.
Maya Pedal is an organization located in San Andreas Itzapa, Guatemala that designs and fabricates bici-maquinas (bike machines) for distribution to rural Guatemalan farmers and workers. The mission of the organization is to "contribute to the conservation of the environment, the health of the Guatemalan people and the productivity of the local economy."
Its a terrific place to volunteer at- we highly recommend it! To find out more about volunteering, please contact one of us. Our emails are listed below.
You can also visit their website for more information: