pedal power weekend

we have so far : 3 broken bikes

we want to have : bikes that turn a car alternator when you pedal

the question is, how are me and pau (mainly pau) going to make this happen?


our working lunch thursday turned into a frenzy of table mat diagrams as pau tried to describe the shape/size of the random bits of metal we might need to build stands for the bikes. he had a eureka moment when a group of shopping trolleys rolled past, one of which had a perfectly shaped base. As we left the terrace we realised there was a reason for all the trolleys – a metal junkyard where people bring scrap metal and sell it by the kilo, so this is why you see people searching through bins…

out the back frames/ladders/microwaves were precariously piled metres high with paths in between; possibly one of the most unsafe places i have ever spent a thursday lunchtime. when pau took a metal frame out of the middle of a pile i thought we might bring it down. as we were faffing around discussing what we wanted the guys were shouting and bringing in more and more stuff, when they turned up with several 6m long beams we were trapped behind them all the time it took to unload them against the wall. i wonder where someone “found” those. “eek, sorry pau, i hope you don’t have to be back at work in a hurry”

i’m not a natural at bargaining people down, but today i only had four euros in my pocket which made it much easier. i think his exact words were “you can pay me the other 4 euros next time”. The price he tried to charge me was 60c a kilo, i don’t know how much they pay for the stuff you take in.

With a van full of old metal chairs and random frames i went to Viledecans Industrial Estate to look for alternators, after asking three times and coming across a second hand cement mixer shop, which has been noted, i finally found the desguace.  and with more amazing bargaining (i have 60 euros so i can buy 2 at 25 each, or 3 for 60. “me engañas!!!”. it’s fine i can just get 2 for 50. “no, take 3”)
i bought three car alternators


high points : lunch at the beach, deciding to make a thatch roof on the shed i built out of bed bases. i used mud (with linseed oil) and grass and it worked 🙂

low points : having a huge headache due to the intense heat – it was over 30º and impossible to do anything except seek shade until about 6pm








supermarket. heat. cheddar. river swimming. reading about solar water heating systems. lunch.

and later on discovering that the metal frame we picked up is perfect for standing a bike on 🙂 it almost stays in place by itself – but how will we fix it? duck tape? of course, but only temporarily later those metal rings that you can screw really tight will replace the tape






hooray for the wind, it’s cool enough to actually get something done today.

like strengthen the bike frame, put an alternator on the ground, make a belt out of an old inner tube and get a light bulb lit. well no, we didn’t light a bulb due to wiring problems but we can get the alternator turning. it’s not perfect (see video) but pau thinks he can fix it all together without welding.

i didn’t do any of that – i dug a hole for the second toilet and continued work on the bed base shed with a staple gun, more mud and plastc sheeting. i am so damn happy with the shed – it cost about 3 euros for the plastic and a euro for the linseed oil i used and nothing more. and in total i think it took about 6 hours and i did it all by myself 🙂 lets hope we can do the bar as quickly….

oh and we went to the tip to find pallets, crates, chairs, tables, big pieces of wood for the last shed wall, and we found 2 pallets, 6 crates, 1 chair, 3 tables, and 1 piece of wood. it is a very rank place though, not something the tourists want to see.

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