Appropriate Technology Sources

About Appropriate Technology

To be "appropriate," technology must be positively connected to the place, people, culture, resources, economics, and impacts of its use. Appropriate technology aims for the equitable and sustainable use of resources, allowing people of multiple income levels to use local materials to empower themselves and their communities, without destroying the environment. The following list was compiled with the help of BNB volunteer Brian Huckins, and is intended to spread the knowledge of appropriate technology and connect those working in this field into a growing network to transform our world. We have focused on pedal-powered technology because this is most relevant to the work of Bikes Not Bombs, but we also include some links ranging into other areas. Email with any suggested updates to the following list, or to report your progress in building and testing any of the machines listed!

Pedal Power Machines, primarily non-transportation

BiciTec is a social enterprise located in Tecpán, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. They recycle used bicycles to build pedal-powered machines, called “bicimáquinas,” which grind grain, shell corn, depulp coffee beans, pump water, etc. They are partners of Bikes Not Bombs, receiving shipments of used bicycles from Boston.

Pedal Power Washing Machine
This site has a summary of the pedal power washing machine, built by MIT students as part of a collaborative with Maya Pedal in Guatemala and Bikes Not Bombs. It also has some power point presentations on how it started, why it is beneficial to use, how it works.

Dual-Purpose Bicycle
Job S. Ebenezer, Ph.D. invented the dual-purpose bicycle, which has mostly been put to use in India. It can be used to power numerous small-scale mechanical devices such as grain threshers, grinders, water pumps, electrical generators, and a variety of small machine tools. He also has information on wind energy, gardens, and houses.

Spinning for the Future
This site has plenty of links on it all of which are about pedal powered energy.

Nathan Eagle
Nathan Eagle worked on a pedal power generator in Nepal, this is his summary on everything about pedal power.

Bicycle Generator Info
Lots of detail on bicycle-powered generators! Check out all the links at the bottom of the page because they all have good information.

Pedal Power Stationary Bike
Ever want to learn how to build your own pedal powered generator? On this site you can buy the plans to do it. Or you can buy one if you don’t have the time to build one. There is also information on how the generator works and how much energy you can get from it.

PEDAL (Pedal Energy Development Alternatives) develops and promotes the use of pedal powered technology. They pursue their goals through Community Economic Development projects designed to become financially self-sufficient through direct support by their participating community. Maya Pedal in Guatemala was originally supported and coordinated by PEDAL.

Large Bici-Blender for Soap Making
Traditional soap making demands hours of stirring. So founder Frederick Breeden, a biking enthusiast and environmentalist, shared his vision with a bicycle builder, and the result is a one-of-a-kind bicycle-powered soap blender.

The Human Powered Home
A book with information on pedal-powered, treadled, and hand-cranked devices for use in and around the home.

Pedal-Powered Cultivator
A Boston-area farmer's pedal-powered bike cultivator for farming use. Contact Tim at rojascooke(at)

Pedal-Powered Can Crushers
Contact Ed at eddewise(at)

Bicycles, Cargo Bikes, Trailers

El Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology
This site is in Spanish. It is a program based in El Salvador. They not only work with bicycles but also work on forest restoration and bio-diversity. They are partners of Bikes Not Bombs, receiving shipments of used bicycles from Boston.

Work Bike
This site is useful to find and research trailers and bicycles. They have a good search engine which makes it easy to find what you want.

International Bicycle Fund
This site contains an amazing online database of bike programs worldwide. A non-governmental, nonprofit, advocacy organization, promoting sustainable transport and international understanding. Major areas of activity are non-motorized urban planning, economic development, bike safety education, responsible travel and cycle tourism, and cross-cultural, educational programs.

"Bicycling Science" book
by David Gordon Wilson. A bicycle is almost unique among human-powered machines in that it uses human muscles in a near-optimum way. This book uses science and physics to explore and explain the amazing efficiency of the bicycle.

Books on Appropriate Transportation
An index of multiple books on appropriate technology for transportation. This site (the AT Library) also contains lots of info on all other areas of appropriate technology.

The Cargo Bike
This is an article about “The Cargo Bike” by David Cohen.

Center For Appropriate Transport
The Center for Appropriate Transport (CAT) is a non-profit organization committed to community involvement in manufacturing, using, and advocating sustainable modes of transportation.

Recycled Bicycle Trailer
Learn how to make your own bicycle trailer from recycled bicycle parts.

Make a Bicycle Trailer
If you would like to build your own trailer, go here. Welding is an option on this site.

Michael Ayre
Michael Ayre is the author of The Design of Bicycle Trailers in which he describes to how build your own trailer. This site does not have this journal but does have information on trailers and Michael Ayre.

Bikes At Work
Here you can find information on different sized bike trailers and pedicabs.

Xtracycle is basically a bicycle with a trailer. It can help transport camping equipment or groceries without a problem.

XAccess (Xtracycle Access Foundation) makes load-bearing bicycles possible for people who need them most yet can’t afford them.

Burley Bikes and Trailers
Here you can find the right bike and/or trailer for yourself. This site gives information on different bikes and trailers. You can also find a store near you and buy the perfect trailer or bike.

B.O.B Trailers
Here you can buy B.O.B trailers and trailer accessories.

Clever Chimp Electric Assist Bicycles
Clever Chimp’s Stokemonkey design gives almost any bike amazing load capacity, with the power to haul it over mountains or swiftly across town. Find out more information on this human electric hybrid drive.

ITDP: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) was founded in 1985 to promote environmentally safe transportation policies and projects worldwide. Their programs include pedestrianization, bicycle and pedestrian planning, brownfield revitalization, bicycle rickshaw modernization, and many more.

RTTP: Transport for Rural Development
The International Forum for Rural Transport and Development (IFRTD) is a global network of individuals and organizations interested in rural transport issues in developing countries.

Boston Pedicabs
This site has information on pedicab services in Boston, MA. You can contact Boston Pedicab at this site to learn more about pedicabs. They also have job openings to become a pedicab driver.


Appropriate Technology, primarily non-pedal power

D-Lab at MIT
D-Lab’s mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income households in developing countries through the creation and implementation of low cost technologies. D-Lab also helps students to gain an optimistic and practical understanding of their roles in alleviating poverty. D-Lab has worked on a pedal powered washing machine, pedal-powered nut shellers, rickshaws, and more bicycle-related projects, with many other non-pedal projects from health applications to charcoal production. Each year the D-Lab organizes the International Development Design Summit, which brings together many appropriate technology engineers from around the world to take on design challenges and share skills. Bikes Not Bombs and the D-Lab are able to collaborate occasionally.

Design that Matters
Design that Matters (DtM) acts as bridge to bring problems identified by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and members of undeserved communities into the classroom for university engineering and business students. DtM works with NGOs, corporate partners and local entrepreneurs to ensure that promising design innovations result in products and services for communities in need.

E.F. Schumacher
The E. F. Schumacher Society is an educational non-profit organization founded in 1980. Their programs demonstrate that both social and environmental sustainability can be achieved by applying the values of human-scale communities and respect for the natural environment to economic issues. E.F. Schumacher wrote a book called Small Is Beautiful, which has served as inspiration for much of the appropriate technology movement.

AIDG: Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group
AIDG creates small businesses that manufacture, install and repair green technologies for people living between $2-4 a day. These technologies help communities and families meet their basic needs for energy, sanitation and clean water, basic services that will improve their health and change their lives. Biodigesters produce fertilizer and methane gas for heating or cooking. The first business, XelaTeco, recently completed a United Nations funded project to bring renewable electricity to 200 people in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

ITDG: Intermediate Technology Development Group
The Intermediate Technology Development Group’s (ITDG) goal is to find practical, sustainable solutions to poverty. ITDG has a unique approach to development; they do not start with technology, but with people. The tools may be simple or sophisticated, but to provide long-term, appropriate and practical answers, they must be firmly in the hands of local people.

KickStart the Tools to End Poverty
KickStart is a non-profit organization that develops and markets new technologies in Africa. These low-cost technologies are bought by local entrepreneurs and used to establish highly profitable new small businesses.

Bio Diesel
Bio Diesel is becoming more and more popular. This site gives a lot of information on bio diesel and its benefits.

Alternative Fuel
Green Grease Monkey
These two webpages explain how to use vegetable oil instead of diesel. They also explain why its beneficial to you and the enviroment. At Biodiesel America they have the book From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank the Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel by Joshua Tickell. Green Grease Monkey is neighbor to Bikes Not Bombs, and they convert cars to run on waste vegetable oil, as well as brewing their own biodiesel which can go directly into the tank of any diesel vehicle.

Village Earth
Their Appropriate Technology library and sourcebook are vast!

National Center for Appropriate Technology

Development Center for Appropriate Technology

Appropriate Technology Co.

Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT)

Journey to Forever

Pedal powered Generator

Read this page in Bulgarian