TBT - And the Festivities Begin

*Every Thursday we publish a throwback post to Bicimakina's beginnings at Maya Pedal in 2009. From the perspective of young and dumb Matthew. Enjoy!


Yesterday Carlos disappeared after lunch, saying that he was going to go home and sleep until nine and then work all night. We thought he was kidding.

Sure enough, night time rolls around and in pops Carlos with his son and another assistant. The next few hours were the fastest I have ever seen Carlos work. I'll try my best to describe what I saw.

The device he is working on, it turns out, doesn't need to hold the weight of a human, and by its size probably wont even have a human inside of it at any point. No, this will be the center piece of a wooden table/stage, which is what the dancer will actually stand on while dancing around the giant flower.

carlos marroquin maya pedal

What you can see here is that there is a central post, which stays still, around which are five lengths of metal rebar passing through an old bike, um, a... shoot! I should know this word by now. Anyway, they are passing through the part that the bike chain wraps around on. The rebar is attached at the bottom to a tube length cut very small, maybe three inches, to fit around the stationary tube. All of the rebar are welded to a big ring that is welded to this movable tube. The movable tube then has a bolt on it which connects to a crank arm on a —again blanking on the name— big bike wheel full of cement with an axle and cogset attached. In hindsight, I should have taken more pictures.

Basically someone will sit and bike this weighty wheel, all of the power of which will force the rebar up and down, opening and closing the flower. The part at the top where the rebar passes through will act to guide the rebar up and allow it to fall open, creating the blooming effect. (It might make more sense to see it in action).

carlos welds at maya pedal

Needless to say, the whole thing took a lot of welding and, unfortunately, re-welding as Carlos worked through design flaws while building. (Don't worry, I had my eyes shut for this shot).

carlos marroquin metal shop

Here's a part of the re-constructing as Carlos makes incisions to mark where to add additional welds to constrict the movement of the rebar at the base (they were getting stuck because they were too floppy).

Matthew and Beth chop up a bike

Beth and I chop apart the rear end of a bike to serve for the pedaling part of this mechanical feat. Apparently my sawing skills are impressive as I got applause and request in Spanish to show off my muscles.

Despite Carlos' request that we all come help, there were too many cooks in the kitchen. One by one we all made our way to the actual kitchen to journal and sit. Eventually sleep got the better of us and we all passed out. Though Beth, and I think Josh, stayed out there with Carlos until he was ready to go eat. I didn't get to see how it happened, but the design changed yet again, this time it was the openings up top- they weren't sized correctly for the proper range of motion.

metal flower for parade in Guatemala

You can see here the circle had to become a star. And the rebar was to rough to raise and lower smoothly, so it got covered in thin PVC piping.

Carlos, invited us all to come out for food and drink, but most declined, knowing it would lead to a much later night.

And a much later night it was.

At about 1:15 in the morning Carlos and his poor kid were back at it in the shop. I was awoken to the sound of welding and bright bursts of light zapping across my bedroom walls. I took what I thought was a stealthfully unseen shot, but I was wrong, Carlos' son saw me and smiled. It was as if his eyes said, "Aha! I know your secret, but don't worry I won't tell anyone, because secrets are exciting!"

I wasn´t sure if I should feel bad for him or not, at his age I probably would have been really excited to stay up real late, especially if it meant getting to hang out with my dad.

maya pedal shop floor

It looks like the design may have changed yet again. Hopefully they got some sleep in there somewhere.