PEDAL Power!

By | December 9, 2012

I don’t know if you have noticed, but this blog has just gotten interesting.  I was cruising along at about 1-30 views a post.  Last week I posted an amusing cycling music video.  I quoted a line from the song for my blog post title.  All of a sudden my views rocketed to numbers approaching triple digits.  Ooooh!  Ahhh!  Well it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened.  I put a crude word in my blog title and my blog got much more attention.  I admit using crude language to up this blog’s popularity is really quite immature, juvenile, cheap and stupid.  SCHLONG!  BOOBIES!

So now that I have taken care of that, lets get to today’s topic.  PEDAL Power.  I recently wrote about a pedal powered theater which led me to investigate turning pedal power into electrical power.  If money were not an object and I had loads of free time, I would love to build my own bicycle generator.  It is the sort of project that I never have the time or money to attempt.  Sad.  Maybe someday.  The bicycle generator is just one possibility for using pedal power.  What else can pedal power do? 

Laundry.  This cute, likely vegan, couple are in my neighborhood.  Their prototype washing machine is actually very clever.  There is room for improvement, but it functions quite well.  It is made from locally available recycled parts and has loads of capacity.  This simple design could be very helpful in third world loacions where everything is washed by hand.  In fact this gentleman has taken this idea one step further.  However, what I imagine is a pedal powered laundromat.   Just picture taking your clothes to a building with a series of cycle-machines.  You load up a machine with your delicates crank away for a while and you have clean clothes.  A pedal powered dryer?  Now that is a real challenge.  To make the experience even better add an instructor and you have a laundry/spin class 🙂 
Yard work.  Few things are more polluting than your lawn mower and other gas powered lawn tools.  Electrical yard tools are a hassle with the risk of electricution if you cut the cord.  Having your battery dying constantly is also a pain.  Let us not foget that the gas powered leaf blower is the most annoying invention of the 20th century.  (If I could, I would go back in time find the inventor at the moment of inspiration and kick him square in the nuts).  Why not turn to pedal power?  Here we see a giant pedal powered rotating compost bin.  It uses scrap bicycle parts and seems to work quite well.  I do worry about the functionality of the hubs with a fully loaded bin.  This pedal powered chipper/mulcher is pretty cool too although it doesn’t seem likely able to handle very large branches.  Now imagine a while series of pedal powered lawn tools.  Lawn mowers, leafblowers, chippers, weedwackers and even leafblowers could all be pedal powered.  Take it one step further and imagine a very in-shape yard maintenance crew arriving on bicycles pulling trailers carrying their lawn equipment.  They would pedal around your property for an hour or so and move on to the next house.  They would hardly make a sound!  Finally I could take a nap when the neighbor is mowing his lawn.  Plus after a few years worth of mowing, I would not be so grossed out when he wanders around his lawn shirtless.  This is a win win. 

These are not new ideas, we have had pedal powered sewing machines and woodworking tools for hundreds of years.  The modern convieniences of modern life are very energy intensive.  Comparing and converting such tasks back to human power really give us perspective. 

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