Guatemalan man making a bicycle machine from a second-hand bicycle
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COP21: Guatemala gives recycled bicycles a new life

What's the point of a bicycle that doesn't go anywhere? In one part of Guatemala, old bikes are being recycled into nifty pedal-powered machines.

For almost 20 years, the charity Maya Pedal has been converting bicycle parts donated from abroad into so-called "bicimaquinas", or bicycle machines.

The NGO, based in the small town of San Andres Itzapa, in the south of the country, was set up by residents and volunteers from abroad in 1997.

At first, the pedal technology was aimed at helping to make small-scale agriculture sustainable.

Now, at low cost, individuals are using it to create their own businesses without electricity and to reduce the physical effort of daily chores in the home.

The bicycle designs are now available globally on the internet. As delegates gather for a UN climate conference in Paris, Guatemala's example perhaps shows that necessity can be the mother of renewable energy invention.


UN climate conference 30 Nov - 11 Dec 2015

COP 21 - the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties - will see more than 190 nations gather in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the threat of dangerous warming due to human activities.

Explained: What is climate change?

In video: Why does the Paris conference matter?

More: BBC News special report (or follow "UN Climate Change Conference" tag in the BBC News app)


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