17 Examples of Pedal Power and Propulsion

Cyclean Washing Machine

If you are handy with a spanner and have an old bike wheelbarrow and machine hanging about, you could emulate Alex Gadsen's Cyclean pedal powered washer and spin dryer. It took 20 weeks to develop his functioning prototype, which was used as a mini laundrette/laundromat at green festivals in the UK. Seems like he's now gearing up to make plans available for folk to make their own. We also noticed a recent post on his forum page suggesting he's at work on a new machine too. ::Cyclean Washer/Dryer

Tennis Ball Launcher

Once the bike tows the launcher to the court, the bike becomes both the propulsion power and the direction guide. Ingenious. Though maybe it's a solution looking for a problem. Why not simply have the person pedalling the Tennis Ball Launcher hit the balls with, say, a tennis racket? But at least it does highlight just how versatile bicycle power can be. And besides just what does one do, otherwise, with a leaking 5 gallon water jug and a lacrosse stick? ::Tennis Ball Launcher

Maya Pedal's Bicimáquinas (Water Pump)

Bicimáquinas is intermediate technology assisting Guatemalan village family economies to obtain higher production capacity in their agriculture and small businesses. Maya Pedal's 'bike machines' include a mill/corn degrainer, blender, tricycles and trailers, coffee depulper and a metal sharpener. They're also trialling prototypes of a washing machine, electricity generator, plow/till/hoe, nut-sheller and even a wood saw. The water pump (pictured above) is capable of drawing drinking water up from 30 m (~100ft) underground at the rate of ~20-40 litres (5-10 gallons) per minute. ::Bicimáquinas

Electrical Power Plant

50+ year old David Butcher uses his Pedal Powered Prime Mover to power electrical appliances by connecting bike pedals to a huge timber disc, which acts as a flywheel, creating torque greater than human legs/pedals would otherwise generate. This human-powered electricity generator has been tested running DVD players, TVs, laptop computers, battery chargers, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, bread makers, even drills, and soldering irons. Using the same flywheel he also made a hacksaw cutter! David sells plans to create your own. ::Pedal Power Generator


The Couchbike is a tandem bike built around an old leatherette loveseat, Yeh, but don't let the 43 kg (95 lb) vinyl Chesterfield fool you, because this pedal-powered, two-seater sofa has two independent drive trains, each with 144 different gear combinations, which on a celebrated tour through Maritime Canada helped it reach speeds up to 44 kph (27 mph). Available for hire from the Bike Forest, the Couchbike is sure to draw a crowd or turn heads wherever it is ridden. ::The Couchbike

Eco Cyclist Multimedia

Robert Newman is a wickedly funny British comedic performer, who doesn't own a car, bicycles to his local gigs, rides Amtrak for his US tour, and runs his live multimedia shows on pedal power. For example, his stand-up comedy routine, the 'History Of Oil' had the stage-lighting powered by two cyclists. When they tired members of the audience took over, and Robert even took a turn on the bike himself. The Hoxton Music Hall bike- assisted rendition of his performance is available on DVD. ::Robert Newman's History of Oil

More cool Pedal-Powered Apparatus on page 3!

17 Examples of Pedal Power and Propulsion
If the bicycle is the most efficient means of transport ever devised, it's not surprising that humankind, the great toolmaker, has sought to leverage pedal power into other vehicles and apparatus. Here we look back over some of our past posts that've

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