The Gadgets Page

December 19, 2005

Bicycle Powered Generator

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Since I’ve been riding my bike regularly on an indoor bicycle trainer, I have thought a lot about bicycle energy. If my trainer had a generator attached to the back instead of a resistance module, I could be charging an automobile battery or maybe even powering my television. It feels like a bunch of wasted motion.

Mike and I have talked about it a lot and he is the electrical expert of the house. He says that the energy I generate on a workout isn’t enough to power a 15 watt light bulb for an hour. I would do better for the environment if I just unscrewed one bulb in the living room chandelier.

I found this website that took a bicycle trainer and attached a generator to it, measuring the output while his friend rode the bike:

Based on his findings, Mike is right. The best I could hope for is to keep a car battery charged. If I could run my computer off a car battery, then I might be able to be a little bit more self sufficient. Trying to do anything else would be difficult. When he tried to test the power with a circular saw, the tool ground to a halt when they tried to cut through a 2X4. I could do better with a hand saw.

This website has detailed instructions on how to build a bicycle generator out of an old exercise bike, including part numbers and places to order things like the generator:

I know that I could generate enough electricity to charge a car battery every day. I’m attracted to the idea of self-sufficiency, but I’m not about to hack my brand new bike trainer just to try it out. For now, I think I’ll just ride away and enjoy myself.

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