I’ve often wondered how much power is generated by the act of cycling, and whether we could tap that power to do things like run small appliances, charge a battery, or contribute to the “grid”. There have been dynamo lit bikes for years, where the front wheel drives a small engine, generating power for a light or light battery.
Consider the way many people like to watch tv while they ride their bike (exercise bike or road bike on rollers. etc). In some cases, there are already wheels being driven by the pedaling that are generating electricity (to charge a battery or power the system). Wouldn’t it be good (and perhaps motivating) if the act of pedaling powered the tv?
Anyway, I found an interesting video
, through a most interesting cycling site –
It takes 78 cyclists going full out to generate the electric power to run the shower and keep the water hot. That’s way more than I thought.
It’s an interesting experiment. Current battery technology has advanced a great deal, and continues to advance, similar to the way (and partly due to) computer chips have advanced. I’d like to see things such as exercise bikes (and other exercise equipment) that conserved the human energy used to operate it, perhaps into batteries. Then we can aim for a sort of net zero life, not only in terms of energy use, but in terms of general fitness and weight management.
Want to lay on the couch and watch tv? You’re going to have to pay for it directly, by generating the power needed to operate that tv. Want a chocolate sundae? You’re going to have to “earn it” by burning off those 500 calories (it’s easy to measure and keep track of calories burned with a monitor).
Even for those things you may never generate enough power for (like running an oven for 8 hours), I think the act of contributing directly to your own personal energy generation and consumption helps keep the real big picture in mind. We all need to be aware of the energy we’re using and generating, and we should try to get to net zero, or even become net generators if we can.
We’ll save a lot of money, and we’ll get fit, nd we won’t need to do anything different than we’re doing now. The big difference is putting a generator on our bike. I’d bet soon we’ll be working out ways to do that. The newer generation batteries, coupled with more efficient electronics, have brought a lot of things within reach previously considered impossible or unfeasible.
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