Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I want to ride my bicycle power grid...

After a wonderful May, in which a large number of NBBJ'ers participated in bike-to-work month, I was in wonderful shape...but very, very, very cynical as to the possibility of ever marketing Columbus as a green city.*

Our first rider was hit within 3 days and due to some quick thinking by citizens on patrol, the driver was eventually apprehended (driver took off insisting that he/she didn't see/hear body/clunking noise of said biker).

Me? I already knew the in's and out's of biking in Columbus. Back in my bartending days, with Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday completely off (w00t!), I used to log anywhere between 45 and 90 miles per day on my Giant. But if I wasn't on a country road, rhythmically pedaling corn field after cornfield, I'd prefer to be riding in downtown rush hour traffic.


Stopped cars are predictable - slow moving cars are estimable - 35 mph cars aren't paying attention - and 55 mph cars hold up everyone in the fast lane. Simply put, I'd rather weave in and out than dodge; and the faster a driver gets in Columbus, the worse they operate their W-stickered Denali.

By the end of May, bike-to-work month came to a dreary end and I was all but fed up with the two-wheeled commute. It was time to try out COTA (and a whole new user-unfriendly bitchfest all together).

Anyways, why a 4-month-late rant? Because I finally found something for the agoraphobic cyclist in all of us (actually, it wasn't my find, but our IT guru aus Deutschland).

You can now be green AND get in shape...

The Pedal-A-Watt Stationary Bike Power Generator!

From their website:

The Pedal-A-Watt bicycle stand keeps the user aerobically fit while creating power that may be used to power lights and/or other small appliances. The Pedal-A-Watt may also be used to charge a battery so that the power may be used at a later time (see the PowerPak under the Accessories page). The battery may then be tapped at a later time, after dark for example, when the energy is needed to power lights or appliances. The Pedal-A-Watt bicycle stand is an excellent addition to an existing battery system that may already be charged from the photovoltaic panels, 120 VAC grid power or wind power. The concept behind the Pedal-A-Watt bicycle is that electricity can be created from human effort and then stored in batteries...
The Pedal-A-Watt, creates 200 watts of power. If you pedal for 2 hours, then you have created 400 watt-hours ( 200 watts x 2 hours) of power.

This 400 watt-hours would power a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours, a 200 watt large screen TV for 2 hours and so on.

So since I don't live in Davis, California, I still need to four-wheel it to work (lest I become a speed bump). And while I love Plug-In Hybrid Technology, PHEVs still draw from your home's electricity, thus relying on the coal-based plants of the Midwest. Soooooo, if I want to be truly green, I should pedal power my car with a Pedal-A-Watt for my daily commute.

Using the above calculations - applied with the specs from Hymotion's Plug-in Hybrid Kit (the L5 for the Prius) - I need to pedal for 25 hours to get a full charge on the conversion kit...a full charge being a 20 mile range.**

Include the 24 mile RT commute, thus adding an additional 5 hours worth of pedaling, means 5 days of commuting gives me 18 hours in which to work, eat, sleep and spend time with my family (168 hours in a week, less the 150 hours of pedaling).***

I think I can manage.

*Greening of Columbus is, apparently, still in R&D phases
**Last math class I took was Poly-Sci and Stats sophomore year at Eckerd. No math is guaranteed.
***Seriously, see first "*."