John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
For people who can't stop cycling.
For folks who can't get enough cycling crammed into their day, there's this: an inventive desk that translates pedaling into electricity to power an array of gadgets.
The "Big Rig" bicycle desk is a custom-made $2,000 workstation that lets you engage in a variety of belt-driven activities, such as milling grain, sharpening knives, and splitting logs. For those who don't live in the middle of the forest, there's also a $400 generator kit that feeds juice into two 110-volt outlets, two USB ports, and one car-lighter socket. That's enough hardware to keep your laptop and accessories alive through much of the day, as well as your lower legs and thighs lookin' extremely tight.
The desk was created by a pair of upstate New York gearheads, Andy Wekin and Steve Blood, who've been honing the technology for 5 years. Here's their pitch from a fully funded Kickstarter campaign:
With an efficiency of 97%, bicycle technology is nearly perfect. So why do we use it only for transportation?
Bicycle technology can and should be used for many everyday tasks. Using your own power rather than plugging into the grid is not only fun, but helps you understand your energy use and reduce your ecological footprint.
There are a billion bicycles in the world today – nearly one in every home. One day, we hope to see every household charging phones, processing food, and pumping water with pedal power.
Like that high-tech desk that generates electricity from the warmth of your derriere, a mass-produced "Big Rig" won't be appearing in stores anytime soon. In fact, it can take Wekin and Blood as long as four months to ship one. But with their Kickstarter money, they are planning to release open-source schematics, so makers can build their own using (among other things) stock bike parts.
Have a look at the "Big Rig" in action:
Images courtesy of Pedal-Power