How to Turn Your Rusty Cast-Off 10 Speed into a Global Poverty Fighter

Got a bike rusting in your basement? It could be grinding corn in rural Guatemala. Lots of corn.


Got some bicycles rusting in your basement? They could be grinding corn in rural Guatemala. Using cast-off bikes from the United States and Canada, Maya Pedal fashions a range of bicimaquinas (pedal powered machines) that are helping pull Guatemalan subsistence farmers out of poverty.

That rusty Huffy you haven't taken out in years could have a second life as a water pump, grinder, or nut sheller. In fact, it could help these folks grind 3,000 pounds of corn a day.

Where to take those wheels? If you're in Boston, look up Bikes Not Bombs. In Chicago? Check out Working Bikes Cooperative. PEDAL in Vancouver also takes donations. Or just walk into your local community bike organization and see if they'll start collecting.

Maya Pedal was a 2010 Curry Stone Design Prize finalist, and you can see videos of past recipients on their site—like Elizabeth Scharpf who designed affordable sanitary pads from banana leaf fibers.