Pedal Power is an enterprise that has adapted traditional cycling technology and applied it as a means of generating electricity and powering machines. Since 2008, the company has been capitalizing on the 97% efficiency of pedaling to create instruments that can run everything from electrical generators to water pumps, to air compressors. According to co-founder, Steve Blood, the ability to generate your own electricity can help connect people to the energy they use and give them an understanding of how precious that resource is.
Currently the company produces two versions of its self-powered generators, the Big Rig and the Pedal Genny. The Big Rig has its own built-in work surface, ergonomic seat, a flywheel to smooth pedaling, and a wide range of gearing. With it, an average adult can potentially generate 100 watts of electricity, pump 5 gallons of water per minute, or operate a variety of small shop tools.
The Pedal Genny is a smaller version of the Big Rig. Since it was designed to be more compact and portable, the Pedal Genny is a single function machine with no work surface of its own, but it can fit underneath a desk or table. Both units feature an all-steel frame and are entirely hand-built. Consequently, production can be quite time intensive, taking as much as four months to ship a unit.
Pedal Power founders Steve Blood and Andy Wekin would love to see Pedal Power applied in places like coffee shops so that people could work and power their electronics without using electricity. However, they feel the more interesting applications lie outside of the developed world in places where you don’t necessarily have access to a grid. In areas like that, where electricity is hard to come by, the ability to manually produce even small amounts of power can have a vast impact on the overall quality of life. Similarly, this technology could prove potentially invaluable as an alternative power source during emergencies, especially given it’s portability, ease of maintenance, and reliance solely on human power.
The Pedal Power team recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the manual power generators. They met their initial goal of $10,000 in just three weeks, and with approximately 40 days to go are looking to meet their stretch goals, which will go towards developing advancements for the unit or working with a manufacturer on a full production run, ultimately decreasing the cost and build time.
If you’re so inclined, $650 will get you a Pedal Genny of your own ($350 if you’re willing to weld it yourself), and $2000 will get you a Big Rig. Watch below to learn more about the campaign.