Some examples of human ingenuity and creativity – applied to the humble bicycle.
A lock for your bike can be awkward to carry and use. It also adds weight. But worst of all is completely forgetting to bring it with you! But concerns like this could soon be a thing of the past – if your bike IS the lock!
True, with an angle grinder or blow torch a thief could still take it (so ‘unstealable’ is little more than a catchy name for the concept). But wrecking a bike while stealing it will put off a lot of serious thieves. Because considerable repair will be needed before reusing or selling on. Which is going to reduce the rate of theft worldwide.
Ever since the notion of pedaling my own power struck me, David Butcher’s Pedal Powered Prime Mover has always appealed.
The PPPM has many advantages over the Turbike. Namely:
- comparatively small footprint: the Turbike takes up two pallets worth of floor-space; the PPPM might consume (based on a visual guess) slightly under one pallets worth.
- easier to make: you won’t need to… weld… wind coils of copper… attach dangerously-jumpy, powerful magnets to rotors… use clever engineering tricks to prevent the two rotors permanently sticking together as you align and space them on either side of the stator… mix and pour fibreglass… align the turbine frame with the bike stand… I could go on and on…
- cheaper to make: magnets… steel discs (2 x 10mm thick, laser-cut into perfect circles)… 2-3m of angle iron… 2-3m box iron… welding rods… bike chain… bike training stand… and you’re suddenly well over €500 (whereas the PPPM plans cost $50 and materials maybe $250).
- flexibility: the PPPM’s design allows it be more readily adjusted to mechanically power drills, saws, hammers… and perhaps more. Adapting the Turbike to do the same would be far more complex.
So, about the only way in which the Turbike might trump the PPPM is in power output – and clearly, given the time and money costs involved in constructing it, the Turbike would need to put out a LOT more power than the PPPM to make it worth the finances and time invested.
The Turbike’s power output potential is something I hope to share here once I’m sufficiently recovered from Follicular Lymphoma to get things up and running again. However this make take me several months. So, if you’re eager to get pedaling your own power, I suggest you consider David’s PPPM in the meantime.
Trying to find a way of coping with the polluted Beijing air, Matt Hope has come up with ‘The Breathing Bike’. The notion that his setup produces 5,000v makes me green with envy! The video was produced by the “Cool-Sparks” team of Xiao Li Tan & O Zhang – whose aim is to “profile cool people doing inspiring work”.
The mobile phone was busy taking video and pics. The frame was viewed from all angles. The bike was pedalled up to 20kph. Twice. The tyres were metaphorically kicked… and so the ideas emerged gently into the nurturing silences between the three of us.
Two local lads, each with their own, quite different electrical needs, came to visit. Both were keen to try pedaling – and were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to overcome the inertia and resistance. It was nice to see their reassurance.
Also nice to realise our chat has saved them time, energy and frustration by helping them steer clear of some pitfalls.
Like making sure your alternator frame design makes it easy to align the turbine with the bike chain. Or exactly centering the sprockets on the front of the alternator hub (because the 5mm off-centre alignment I have is causing immense chain-wobble and vibration at higher speeds).
Thanks to their different needs it looks like they make two very different turbikes. Both intend taking plenty of photos and I hope to visit them often during their work. So both their projects will be documented here in time. Check back here. Or like this Facebook page to stay up to date.
Meanwhile here’s a well-written piece reviewing various pedal power strategies: Pedal powered farms and factories: the forgotten future of the stationary bicycle
My friend Miriam Sheerin of BuildYourOwnWindTurbine.com is scheduled to feature on the TG4 programme “Garraí Glás” at 8pm tonight. If you’re at all interested in a project like the turbike (or even a normal ‘turbine’) then I’d highly recommend going on a course with either Miriam & Jimmy or Hugh Piggott himself.
Also want to let you know I plan to put up a FAQ page soon on this site. So drop me your questions to the ‘[email protected]’ address and I’ll try and work them in.
Whether you want to produce your own electricity, or simply cut your grid-dependence, I’d highly recommend this Hugh Piggott course. It’s simply brilliant. One of the best and most empowering courses I’ve ever been on in my life.
You don’t need any knowledge or experience of welding, carpentry or electrical work. Nor do you need to know about volts, resistance, current or other such stuff (take it from someone who didn’t know his amps from his elbows before he began this turbike project!).
Your gender doesn’t matter either. Both men and women have enjoyed and learned heaps on past courses with Hugh.
All you need are an ability to work with your hands and an open mind. Oh, and as it’s in Ireland, some warm and waterproof clothes and boots might be in order!
Visit BuildYourOwnWindTurbine.com to learn about fees, booking, accommodation etc.