The inventive ‘Bicar’ that turns heads Munyaradzi Brown takes his homemade three-wheel motorbike around Rusununguko Township recently

Walter Nyamukondiwa

Mashonaland West Bureau Chief

MUNYARADZI Brown has been turning heads wherever he goes with his homemade three-wheel motorbike, but for him, the machine is a jig in the puzzle of a bigger dream.

That which is too big for him to realise alone!

A dream that is big enough to be a nation’s dream.

The Volkswagen (VW) of Nazi Germany kind of dream, the people’s car or should I say motorbike kind of dream.

From a distance, one can hear the soothing sound of Country music as he approaches.

If it’s not the loud music from a mid-sized speaker causing you to turn, then it’s the Harley Davidson motorbike-shaped handles, a reincarnation of the Ghost Rider movie’s extended front wheel and handle, without the fire of course.

It is a remodelled three-wheeler with a passenger and luggage compartment that can carry up to five people.

The “Bicar” has a 125-horsepower motorbike engine, a dual button and kick engine start mechanism.

It has a makeshift five-speed front gearbox with a vehicle-like gear lever with most of the functions of a modern vehicle including a phone charging port, a radio, and signal lights such as hazards, brake lights, and indicators.

All this was done by Munya Brown at his home in Chinhoyi’s Rusununguko township.

With an average of 18km per litre fuel consumption, Munya Brown has travelled to Kadoma among other journeys with his bike laden with goods that were needed for a funeral in the City of Gold.

“I needed something that I could use to make life easier for me to carry my pump and equipment to the garden,” narrated Mr Brown at his home.

“I decided to make this motorbike by putting together a lot of disused equipment and making the frames myself. I also put together the electronic system of the car in a simplified way.”

Appended to the body are four 25mm irrigation pipes, two on either side.

But what are they for?

“These pipes help stabilise the bike when I am travelling at high speed. When I pass a truck or vehicle, I do not have to worry much about the turbulence or being pushed out of the road,” he explains.

It’s an experiment I carried out, he said, and if he increases the size of the pipes the bike would only need a rotor to fly.

Without any formal training and dropping out of school at Grade 7, Munya Brown said from an early age, education seemed to be a hindrance to the desire he had, to use his hands.

“I dropped out of school at Grade 7 when I realised I could now read, write and speak in English. I felt a heavy need to use my hands to survive,” said Munya Brown.

After leaving school, he worked for his uncle, a prominent businessman in Chinhoyi, ironically known as Mr Greens, the owner of Greens Supermarkets.

He worked for several years before deciding to leave and start his own business.

Munya Brown ran a shop, which was, however, affected by the hyperinflation whirlwind in 2008 and it closed.

At some point, he sold his house in Cherima suburb.

Then one day, he decided to strip his Toyota Corolla engine bare.

“After several days I started reassembling the engine. Something told me that I could do it,” further narrates Munya Brown.

His gut feeling was right. The engine worked perfectly and he started repairing broken-down cars.

Then one day he just started imagining making a motorbike.

He took three motorbikes and started making the frames including the handles and designing the suspension before fitting the engine.

“It didn’t take me much time to accomplish,” he said.

Munya Brown said he had so many things he wanted to do including imparting the knowledge he has gained.

He pleaded for support in setting up a training centre which could be turned into a factory.

“My dream is to establish a factory where we manufacture our bikes and cars to meet our standards and circumstances.

“I desire to provide cheaper solutions to our farmers in line with the President’s call for everyone to play their part in the development of the country,” he said.

His wife said her husband always laments the lack of suitable working space and support to implement the ideas he has.

“Most of the time you will ask him what he is working on and he will tell you to wait and see. After some time you are surprised by what he produces.

“It just started somewhere along our marriage because he never used to be like that. We just thank God for giving him the ideas and we hope that his dreams will be realised,” she said.

His motivation is to develop flexible solutions for local challenges.

After seeing the motorbike, a man from the United Kingdom sent him a vehicle and offered to take him to Europe.

He declined to go out of the country saying his desire was for people to come to Zimbabwe instead, to see its inventiveness.

Munya Brown has since stripped the car of its engine saying the V6 engine was too big and costly to maintain in Zimbabwe.

It is a peek-view into one of the projects he wants to undertake by changing the vehicle engine’s capacity.

“I want to remodel the engine so that it is friendly for our circumstances. There are a lot of things I want to do but because of space I can’t”.

What makes his bike stand out is its features and inventiveness in putting together several parts to make one bike.

Innovators such as Elon Musk of Tesla and others need company and Munya Brown believes that incorporation of practical people like him into the country’s education system would help foster innovation.

Neighbours said Munya Brown, who is now in his early 50s, was very talented and Government needs to support him realise his dreams.

“We always see what he will be doing at his house but he needs more support because he is very innovative. A working area will help him experiment all he wants and hopefully come up with things that will help the community and the country develop,” said Mrs Demetria Kadziromera.

Others, while appreciating what he is doing, said he needed to operate from an industrial area so that he does not disturb the peace in the area.

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