Maya Pedal Makes Useful from Rubbish

Jon Leary’s Maya Pedal water pump in actionGivingTracker| One individual can have amazing impact on people’s lives. Jon Leary, 24 and a student at the University of Sheffield has transformed the lives of rural residents in Guatemala, because he was required to “make something useful out of rubbish.” 

In Leary’s case, he spent four months in Guatemala, working on his mobile bicycle-powered water pump, working with Guatemalan NGO Maya Pedal. Products recycled for new purposes by Maya Pedal include human-powered washing machines and a corn grinder. 

Prior to Jon´s design, Maya Pedal had already produced a popular machine capable of drawing water from up to 30m below the surface, however many farmers lived on steep inclines and wanted to distribute the water once it had been extracted from the well. As a result, unlike Maya Pedal´s other static designs, Jon´s bike is completely mobile — when a person is done pumping, they can simply flip the frame upside down and it will sit on top of the back wheel like a pannier rack. This mobility enables users to pump from the bottom of the hill to a mid-way tank until full, and then continue pumping from the mid-way tank to the top of the hill. The number of mid-way tanks can be increased indefinitely, effectively making the pumping distance unlimited. via Science Daily

This is not the end of Jon’s relationship with Maya Pedal. This summer Jon will return to Guatemala with three more recent grads of the University of Sheffield’s Mechanical Engineering department to design, bild and test a wind turbine, using disused bicycle parts and other scrap materials from Maya Pedal. 

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Slow Living | Global Pedal Power on Vintage Bikes