Recently I went on a study abroad trip to South Africa. My college paid for my trip. I want to return to some of the rural villages someday. When I return I'd like to take a bicycle with me and I'd like to give it to a village as a gift. So what kind of bicycle should I give? I want it to be nearly maintenance free and last for generations.
They have paved roads between the villages and dirt roads within the villages themselves. They only have basic tools like: hammers, saws, flathead and phillips screwdrivers, etc. A set of allen wrenches may be too exotic. I know I could leave behind a set of tools, but I'd like the bicycle to be nearly maintenance free and require only basic tools to maintain.
Here are the things I think require maintenance on a common bicycle:
Brake and gear cables
/edit: Addition- Spoke maintenance
Here are some ways I think the above maintenance issues can be addressed:
Solid tires. I know they are not popular with many bicycle riders, but it would eliminate flat tires.
Researching: No Mor Flats solid tires and Kenda small block 8 with thornproof tubes
/edit: Addition- Fully Enclosed Chain Case. This would prevent dirt from getting at the chain, chainwheel, and operating side of the rear hub.
Coaster Brake (thanks Butterthebean): This type of brake would eliminate all brake pads and brake cables.
Researching: Sachs Torpedo Multi Speed Coaster Brake Hub
Single gear. If the bicycle only has one gear it would eliminate the need for a gear shifter and gear cable.
/edit: Addition- Mag wheels. Another unpopular part. It adds weight, but it also eliminates the spokes and any need for maintaining them.
Can you think of any other ways to make this bicycle maintenance free? Can you think of other things that I am missing? Remember these people don't need the lightest, fastest and flashiest bicycle. They need something that will work every time, for a long time.
I plan to travel to other countries around the world. Maybe I'll give a bicycle as a gift at every destination.