Would You Pay $800 for a Bike Power Generator?

pedal power generator photo
Migrated Image

Image via Convergence Tech

That's what Pedal-A-Watt wants you to pay in order to generate 250 watts of pedaled energy. But unless you regularly hook up your bike to a stationary stand in order to get some exercise, this is not exactly an eco-friendly option for how to generate a little charge. The idea of using a bike to charge your television is fun, but getting a little grating considering most people aren't going to use it as a solution to their energy issues. Still, Red Ferret directs us to this piece of rather expensive equipment that is unlikely to generate enough power to justify the price point - or even be considered really green.

The problem is it would take hours upon hours upon hours of cycling to generate enough energy on this thing to offset its embodied energy, and the likelihood of anyone other than Lance Armstrong and cohorts actually doing so seems highly unlikely. So, it becomes a hunk of metal that you put your bike onto every so often, and get enough charge for maybe your cell phone.

Are we going to ever either a) move away from this type of pedal power as an electricity-generating option altogether or b) find a way to make the generator so efficient at converting kinetic energy that it equals the same ease and speed of charge as plugging a device right into the wall? It'll take at least that much effortlessness to convince me to shell out $400 for the generator, and another $365 for the PowerPak inverter and battery that lets you actually store and use what energy you drum up.

Yes, it gets you off-grid. No, that isn't enough of a solution to justify the product.

If you're set on gathering up a charge by cycling, there are cheaper options like the POWERplus Gazelle, or the BioLogic FreeCharge that hooks up to your bike. Or better yet, just make one yourself.

But unless you're using your bike to get somewhere, we're doubtful that gathering power by cycling will really take off as an off-grid option.