How spare bike parts can help heritage conservation efforts

PAMANA WHEELS PROJECT

MOVING around the city has been difficult since public transportation was limited last year in response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Many people adapted by taking to bicycles. But not everyone can afford a bicycle, among them heritage conservation workers of Escuela Taller. This is where a project that creates bikes from spare parts saved the day.

Since 2009, Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc. (ETFFI) has been raising awareness on the importance of preserving Filipino heritage and has been training unemployed and out of school youth on the technical skills needed in conservation work. Its trainers, students, and graduates have been affected by the transportation issues brought about by the pandemic.

“…Moving around using public transportation had been difficult… there’s always a chance and potential exposure [to COVID-19] using these types of transportation,” Escuela Taller Communications and Special Projects Officer Philip Paraan told BusinessWorld in an e-mail. “Using bicycles by far is the safest [mode of transportation] and through this bike project [we] want to ensure mobility of our heritage conservation workers,” he said.

So, Escuela Taller teamed up with BeSeekLeta For Every Juan and Bambike for the Pamana Wheels Project to build bikes for heritage workers.

Bicycles will be assembled out of spare parts from BeSeekLeta For Every Juan, a non-profit organization established in June 2020 that upcycles old and unused bike parts to build functional bikes for those who need to go to work.

For this project, Escuela Taller also partnered with socio-ecological enterprise Bambike, which runs the Bambike Ecotours, a guided bike tour goes through major historical and cultural sites inside Intramuros.

“Initially, we thought of assembling only 20 bikes with the conservation team (made up of Escuela Taller graduates) who are about to start work in La Loma Chapel. However, there are other projects that will also soon start, so we decided to double our current targets and build 40 in total,” Mr. Paraan said.

The project is in need of bike frames and forks, wheelsets, interiors and exterior tubes, handle bars, brake pads and levers, and chains. Donations can be dropped off at the Escuela Taller at in Revellin de Recoletos, Victoria St., Intramuros, Manila. Donations of complete bicycle units are also welcome.

The bikes will be used by the team of conservation workers who will be working on heritage projects located in Manila including the La Loma Chapel, the Luneta Hotel, and a possible project inside UP Diliman.

“We target to assemble the 40 bikes around June to July. If we don’t complete them all by that time, we may have to relaunch another phase of the project,” Mr. Paraan said.

Those who are interested in contributing bike parts or units can send a message to the Escuela Taller Facebook page (fb.com/escuelataller.defilipinas) or text Philip (0945-133-9920) and Roy (0995-472-7778) before sending donations. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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