Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The bici-bomba

For as long as i´ve been here there has been, what i thought was a broken, bici-bomba (bicycle-water pump) sitting off in a dark corner of the shop. Yesterday we pulled it out and started making new parts for it.

First, Anneliese and i dragged these two heavy pieces out into the light to clean them off.

Then Carlos instructed me to use my knife to cut the sides off of two tires. Erin walked by while i was doing it and asked to join in. The next part, Carlos showed me, was to clamp the pieces together, drill holes in them and then use wire to tie the two pieces together.

When i went out to decorate the town, Erin took over

Meanwhile, Palo, or Chris, looked for the perfect bike wheel to fit inbetween the tire pieces. He found one and later wired it to the inside of the tires.

Fast forward through the evening and we pick up this morning with Carlos mixing cement in the road. Its an interesting process to watch, he pours a mound of cement mix then depresses a cavity in the center. In the cavity he pours water and then skillfully directs the water through all of the mix with a flat shovel.

Once the cement was mixed Carlos shoveled it into the reconstructed-tire-bike-wheel. The wheel was sitting a top a flat board with a hole drilled out (for the axel to poke through and remain un-cemented).

Next Palo twisted some thick metal wire around a piece of PVC, which will evidently hold the PVC in some way. Carlos welded the metal rings that Palo made to two pieces of rebar and then fit them onto the PVC. He then fiddled around with them in relation to a much larger piece, then left them there, standing up and calling it a day.

I believe that the way that the bici-bomba will work is by pulling a long string with a series of wooden beads on it. The beads are forced under ground into the water source, then pulled back up through a narrow pipe. In this way each bead acts as a shelf for a small amount of water, and in total it can lift a fair amount over time. The picture at the very top of my blog, where the title and other pictures are, of a man on a bike, that one, that is the bici-bomba in action. It looks like a pretty exciting device- we are all really looking forward to getting it installed and functioning.

Today in the shop, we were unusally busy. Lots of folks came in looking to have their bikes fixed, and all of this in addition to the bomba work. It was good learning all around. I was very excited to work on my very first bike, as opposed to shadowing someone while they worked. Though i did need Palo and Anneliese to explain a few things and lend a hand every so often. The problem was that his crank arms were flopping around (the parts where the pedals meet the body of the bike). I took the crank arms off and the bottom bracket apart, it really needed some cleaning and replacing of a few key parts. We tightened it up and it spun beautifully. Mission success!

Anneliese got to work on a sweet old Schwinn, complete with bike powered head light and spedometer! It was a beautiful, albeit rusty, piece of machinery. We all spent some time oggling at it.

Anneliese removing the seized chain via gigantor bolt cutters!

To clean the replacement chain, Anneliese opted to use the fire trick.

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