Last Updated On April 21st, 2016

Exercise bikes are one of the most popular and effective ways of burning fat and keeping fit. But can they be used to generate electricity? This has been one of the frequently asked questions by many exercise enthusiast, scientists and people who care about green environment.

Well, the answer to that question is yes. Exercise bikes can generate electricity and this can be done by attaching it to a generator which helps to store the energy you produce when you pedal. The stored electricity can then be used to run small appliances such as laptop computers, TVs, LED light bulbs & mobile phone chargers. With a little technical know-how, you can actually turn you routine daily bike exercise into an environment friendly power generating activity.

How does it work?

Cardio machines – treadmills, stationery cycles & elliptical produces resistance while you exercise which subsequently creates friction that produces energy that is eventually converted to electricity by a generator. A classic cardio machine has resistors that reduce this heat. A generator can be used in the place of the resistors to take in the DC power generated by the machine, which by use of an inverter converts the DC power into AC which is then feed into the house power system & power grid.

To generate electricity using your exercise bike, you will require a small generator that you’ll attach to the bike. This generator is almost the same as the hand cranked generator and has the capacity of generating a small & inconsistent electric energy. With every pedaling, a force that is converted by the generator to electricity is produced.

The quicker you pedal, the more the electric energy you produce. 30 minutes peddling generates approximately 150 watts of energy. This is adequate to power a laptop or charge a mobile phone for 1 hour. The extra energy produced can be stored in a 12V battery which can later be used to power appliances. In the case of a gym, you can network several bikes to one generator. Some organizations have customized their power generating exercise bikes/machines; – however this can be quite expensive.

Much sweat but little power

The only undoing for generating electricity using exercise bikes is that they generate little power. As stated earlier, you can only produce 50 to 150 watts per day. In fact, a professional cyclist can produce a maximum of 400 watts. Note that, 100 watt-hours can power an iron for a maximum of six hours, a laptop for 2 hours & 15 watts florescent tube for approximately 6 hours & 40 minutes. If for instance you decide to exercise for an hour daily, for 30days at say 100 watts per hour, you will be saving 30 cents per month in electricity bill

Benefits

Producing electricity using exercise bikes has numerous benefits. As you generate your energy, you are not only burning fat, but you are also participating in an eco-friendly activity. Secondly, generating you own power to run appliance will help reduce your electricity bill. Moreover, producing electricity through exercises is good for your health and body fitness. Also note that, riding bikes is one of the cardiovascular activities that strengthen both your heart and circulatory system. It also helps to reduce the risks of developing lifestyle diseases e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, hypertension etc.

In conclusion, exercise bikes can be used to generate electricity but for it to be significant, it will require a lot of people exercising. It can be quite useful in Gym or training center setup as they are frequented by many people.

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