BiciMaquinas, Mechanic Workshops, and Ahijadas/Madrinas


It’s been a busy few weeks in Quito. I’ve been working like a crazy person, but it’s all worth it. In the mornings I’ve been helping my friend Nadia’s high school students build BiciMaquinas (pedal powered bike machines), in the afternoons building bikes to lend out for the Hadas Madrinas (Goddaughter/Godmother on Bikes) project (I built 40 wheels in 2.5 days!), and in the evenings having meetings about how to make these projects happen. I wish I had more photos to share from all these experiences (especially pictures of the BiciMaquinas), but alas these pictures will have to do.

[slideshow]

The first few pictures are from a group of teenage girls called the Guambras Carishinas that meet at 10am every Sunday to ride in the Ciclopaseo (the ciclopaseo is a weekly event where 60km of city streets are closed off to traffic and are open to only cyclists and pedestrians).  We went for a ride to the Centro Historico and saw a few religious processions go by (I couldn’t tell you what holiday it was… maybe corpus christi?).

The next picture is from a Fix-a-flat workshop I taught yesterday.  I taught two workshops back to back, and the younger girls that I taught in the first workshop stuck around for the second workshop – so I put them to work to teach the older women who came for the second workshop.

After the workshop we had the first meeting of Hadas Madrinas en Bici project.  The project idea (this is the the project I came down here to work on – or at least half the reason why I came back) is to pair together an experienced biker – the godmother – with an inexperienced biker – the goddaughter – who live in the same neighborhood (ish). The goddaughters vary from women who never learned how to ride a bike, to women who do lots of mountain biking, but don’t know how to ride in the traffic in Quito.  The pairs go out riding together at least once a week, and through these personal relationships the hope is that more women will gain the confidence and the abilities to be able to ride in Quito.

Part of the funding that I came down here with was to build bikes to lend to women who have not been able to economically access the biking community. This last week I built 10 of the 20 bikes, and yesterday we lent out 6 of the bikes (the other 4 will be lent out this week to women who couldn’t make it to the workshop yesterday). It was pretty incredible to see how excited these women were to receive the bikes.  The last pictures of the slideshow are of one participant practicing on one of the bikes.  She had never ridden before – and by the end of the day she was already pedaling around the court like a pro!

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