“NECESSITY is the mother of invention” writes Plato.
After constantly having to repair his bicycle for punctures and cuts several times owing to the terrain around his home, Mr Lerokoe Moyo (21) of Gumtree decided to modify the bicycle into one that is thorn-proof, can move well in off-road settings, and is easy to pedal.
The result was an amazing creation of a big bicycle that spots two 4×4 size 15 wheels and a lick of pink paint giving it the finesse he wished for.
He calls it the “Big Macx” owing to its size and weight.
The Architectural Technology student from Bulawayo Polytechnic said his creation took him over one year to make and is still making a few modifications to suit his needs and said he would want the Big Macx to be a limited edition as he will make just about 10, funds permitting.
“Initially my bike had big rims that were not found in Zimbabwe so at home we fix cars part-time and there were extra wheels that we were not using. One day I was watching a show on television where they were building a bike with large wheels and I decided to give it a try. I had the materials at my disposal,” said Mr Moyo.
After being inspired by what he saw, Mr Moyo embarked on a two-month-long research on bicycles and how they perform in different terrains.
“I started researching how to make a bike and how it will drive using my kinetic energy. I did that for about two months, I used the internet and also consulted bike experts from Bulawayo, like Mike Bikes. He told me about how I can make my bike lighter while I ride it without using more energy because the wheels are very heavy. After this I started cutting the bicycle I had and went to the auto-salon who helped me in machining the front hub to connect the wheel and the bike. Another engineer assisted in making the front, the rest I did myself with the help of the internet,” he said.
Mr Moyo said it took him a year to complete the Big Macx and when he first informed his parents they laughed it off saying he was just ambitious.
“I am a student at Bulawayo Poly studying Architectural Technology so it was during my semester break around March last year that I started making the bike as I was not doing anything. After cutting the pieces, I parked the project for a while as I had no income, I was using my pocket money from my parents and also some part-time jobs that I was doing here and there,” he said.
So enterprising is Mr Moyo that he would visit various companies practicing different trades and learn how to do skills and then later do odd jobs for people.
“I learnt about drip irrigation systems, solar lights and pump installation, building bicycles, panel beating and welding all part-time. If someone has any trade, I go there and learn a few things so that I can do these things alone. People spend a lot of money trying to repair their broken-down things. My father taught me to always troubleshoot before taking anything to get fixed, so this is why I decided to learn how to do different things,” he said.
He is grateful to the places that allowed him to go and learn while giving them a hand, he is also grateful that they offered him tokens of appreciation and transport fares for him to come and assist and learn.
He, however, said if he encounters a challenge while doing his odd jobs, he goes to those who taught him and they find solutions together making his learning process continuous while perfecting his trade.
The Big Macx has its advantages according to the maker.
“It drives well in river sand, it goes over the sand more than a normal bike, I do not have to get off the bike and push it when I am in a sandy area or struggle to cycle it. The bigger wheels are not easily pierced by thorns and stones. If I get the proper material to build it, it will be a great advantage for use in rural areas. As it is, it is very heavy, you cannot carry it although it is light to cycle,” said Mr Moyo.
He encouraged young people to be innovative in the ever-changing world of innovations.
“Try and find your potential, do not let people discourage you, I faced negative comments when I used the car tyres from my bike, they told me it would not steer or brake but I managed to go around it and made the bike. I would like to partner with someone but not in a big way, I do not want to make many of these bikes, but I want to make them limited and better in quality,” he said.
In his spare time, Mr Moyo rides his bicycle when traffic volumes are low as the bike is big, and does not want to conflict with motorists and human traffic as he tries to manoeuvre his way around. — @NyembeziMu