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Bicycle Powered Generator

Updated on July 5, 2011

Human Powered Ideas

Humans and Bikes

If you are a cycling enthusiast, you have probably heard that the world’s most efficient form of transportation is a bicycle. Variables abound, so the equations that lead to this claim differ, as do their results. However, that doesn’t make it any less true that using the same amount of power, you’ll go farther bicycling than you would walking, running, swimming, riding a horse or driving any motorized vehicle.

An Example

For example, a 154 lb person can ride at nearly 15 mph on a flat stretch using 100 watts. The same man would burn 100 watts walking at a little over 3 miles per hour. This means that bicycles are five times more pwoer0efficient than walking. Meanwhile, in a car , 100 watts wouldn’t even got you out of the driveway. By some calculations bicycles are 25 times more energy efficient than gasoline vehicles.

Bike Generator

The bottom line is that bicycles are well situated to harness human power. That’s one reason so many human powered machines begin with bicycles or stationary bikes. Also, they’re widely available and relatively inexpensive. Many good intentions begin with an exercise bike in the basement and end with it abandoned on the front lawn or at the local Goodwill. Vast-off conventional bicycles are even more readily available.

Hows it Go?

Industrial engineers have a lot to say about how to use a bicycle to generate power and how to store that power. Ultimately, however, a bike generator is not that hard to manufacture and make. There are a couple of ideas that you should take into consideration before you set off on a journey to create your stationary bike generator. The first is that you need to understand the way a person interacts with a bicycle and how power is transferred from the body to the bike. The main connection points are the seat, the handlebars and the pedals.

Now most people consider the pedals the most important function of the bicycle, but really all three points work together to make the bike either more or less efficient. It’s true that the pedals are the main point of expressing the power o f the body to the bike, but the hands and the butt contribute to how effective that power is.

Other Considerations

You also need to consider the aspect of the chain and the gears. Gears are used to convert force into more or less force in order to make the bike easier or harder to pedal in different situations, such as going up a hill or down a hill. The use of gears are a must in any bicycle generator you create. The chain is also important in working out a very efficient bike generator – one that actually produces more power than you put out would be helpful.

There are many places to get plans for bike generators and you can find a few suggestions below. Good luck, be safe and have fun producing your own electricity!


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