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Picture This: Operating Facilities with Cyclists’ Energy

4/20/10 update: Here’s an example from a Danish hotel where guests cycling about 15 minutes on an exercise bike earn a free meal as a thank you that they have just generated electricity for the hotel!   See:  BBC News item, Danish eco-hotel offers pedalpower free meal.  Talk about an ecology-economy partnership, a win-win!  (Thank you for this heads-up, Nathan.)

Photo courtesy of BBC News

Among related resources:   “Can You Bike Your Way to Power Small Appliances?”

In Monterey County, you’ll often see local bike courier Green Pedal Couriers blending up smoothies by bicycle power at events.

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(Item below originally posted 9/10/09.)

How about working out at a gym facility that is powered by renewable energy, energy that is renewed when the source wakes up each morning—human power?

The technology exists to permit bikes, treadmills, and other cardio equipment to be hooked up so it could, for example, power the TVs that many  gym enthusiasts are watching while they work out.  As gyms need to replace cardio equipment, why not explore new cardio equipment that would allow the people working out to power their TVs, fans, and more?

Decades ago, I read an article about someone who did just that, on a small scale. This was a guy who powered his TV at home by pedaling his bicycle right there in his living room. The article was published in the old Well-Being magazine, and the idea has never left my mind.

This week, Monterey County Green Action director Megan Tolbert brought a related business to my attention, Rock the Bike.

It’s easy for me to envision the Monterey Sports Center as a human-powered gym facility.  I can imagine facilities throughout California, and the world, powered by human energy too.

Help lead your own community

The mayor of the City of Monterey was among those who signed the US Council of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.  Surely Monterey Mayor Chuck Della Sala and our City Council would be proud to power the Monterey Sports Center—even partly—with human energy.  (Of course, it makes sense to get some photovoltaics on that roof too!)  Perhaps you are just the person who will lead the effort to support city officials in finding a way to make this happen.

With the economic pressures on our cities today, finding new ways to cut energy costs is critical.  Doing it in a way that’s also good for the Earth can really fuel your passion for helping to make these things happen.

Think it’s not possible to the most economical thing and also have it be environmentally optimal?  Here are some successful examples:   “Eco Illusion.”

Naturally, skipping the cardio equipment altogether is the best green action–getting outdoors to bike, run, ski, swim, or whatever your pleasure.

This post was published on 18 April 2010. One or more changes last made to this post on 16 August 2021.

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