Definitely not money. Because the turbike won’t…
- … reduce a household electricity bill by much. In fact, even after the turbike eventually pays for itself, if the cyclist was paid an hourly wage for the time needed to pedal a unit of electricity, the turbike would cycle itself deeper and deeper into debt.
- … reduce my grid-demand by much. A one-person office consumes very little power in a given day. But even if there were lots of electricity to replace, early efforts suggest I might at best generate a small percentage of a KWh in a day (details when I get my watt meters installed).
Instead, the main reason I’m doing this is because I simply don’t like the grid (reasons below). Which is why, when I get my own home, I will erect a wind turbine and photo-voltaic panel array. Meanwhile pedaling my one-man office off the grid will have to do for now.
Less food for the monster
Grid supplied electricity comes with several downsides:
- Environment: feeding the grid damages the environment. Even sustainable fuels like wind, solar and hydro (which I agree are preferable to peat, coal and nuclear) come with environmental costs. Especially when done en-mass and at the scale required for the grid’s purposes.
- Health: human, animal and plant well-being are affected by electro-magnetic fields* – and our ever-increasing reliance on electricity to do things for us is engendering an increasingly sedentary way of living and being.
- Society: the profit motive means grid supplies will not work to shrink the grid or free people from it. They will instead prefer to see ever-increasing individual, social and economic reliance on their product (grid supplied electricity) as well as steadily-increasing customer numbers.
- Human thinking: conditioned to ignore these near-invisible costs, grid-supplied-electricity is often consumed with a sense of entitlement (not a sense of reliance, dependence or addiction); it is often used in a careless fashion; it is preferred over non-electric options which are usually frowned upon; and money becomes the criteria by which the value of home-generation methods are assessed (more about that here). Consequently considerable individual, social and economic upset is experienced when supply is interrupted. Or the supplier decides to up the price or changes the terms under which electricity is supplied to the consumer.**
This is both a motive and a benefit.
When not at my desk I’m often driving – usually to sedentary jobs which do not up my heart rate. Regular stints on the turbike (during which I also plan to work on my computer) should help my aerobic fitness considerably.
Muscle strength and endurance should also increase. In my legs at any rate. Because there is considerable resistance to work against at higher speeds. So much so that a paltry 26kph is the fastest I’ve managed to pedal to date. Maybe in time this will increase…
When I began this project there was little to be found online about the reality of using a chain-driven alternator to make electricity. So I hope to address that lack by documenting my experience here.
Of course this may dash the hopes of those seeking to save money; or who believe large amounts of electricity are easily and quickly generated. But I do hope to at least get fitness and gym minded people thinking about to do something similar for themselves… and avoid some of the pitfalls I stumbled into 🙂
* The Biointiative Report is a comprehensive, meta analysis of the impact of EMF’s.
** Sound like the power dynamics between drug pusher and addict? You betcha! But, of course, making money from people’s demand for electricity is a legally approved activity. And as an example of suddenly changing terms, consider the forcing of smart meters upon customers – regardless of customers objections to being exposed 24/7 to the pulsing micro-wave radiation those units emit.