How aftermarket bike parts can help heritage conservation efforts

PAMANA WHEELS PROJECT

GETTING AROUND the city has been difficult as public transport was limited last year in response to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Many people have adapted by taking bicycles. But not everyone can afford a bike, especially the heritage conservation officers at the Escuela Taller. This is where a project to create bicycles from spare parts saved the day.

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

“…Getting around using public transport had been difficult…there is always a chance and potential exposure [to COVID-19] using these types of transportation,” said Philip Paraan, Communications and Special Projects Manager at the Escuela Taller. Business world in an email. “Using bicycles is by far the safest way [mode of transportation] and through this bike project [we] want to ensure the mobility of our heritage conservation workers,” he said.

So Escuela Taller has partnered with BeSeekLeta For Every Juan and Bambike for the Pamana Wheels project to build bikes for heritage workers.

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

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

“Initially, we were thinking of assembling only 20 bikes with the conservation team (composed of Escuela Taller graduates) who are about to start work in the chapel of La Loma. However, other projects are also going to start soon, so we have decided to double our current targets and build 40 in total,” Mr. Paraan said.

The project needs bicycle frames and forks, axles, inner and outer tubes, handlebars, brake pads and levers and chains. Donations can be dropped off at the Escuela Taller in Revellin de Recoletos, Victoria St., Intramuros, Manila. Donations of complete bike units are also welcome.

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

“We aim to assemble all 40 bikes between June and July. If we don’t complete them all by then, we may have to restart another phase of the project,” Paraan said.

Those interested in contributing bike parts or units can message 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