April 11, 2005

Food Production and.. Bikes!

As per the following that caused much discussion last December, in the recent and most excellent newsletter that Bikes Not Bombs (BNB) publishes, there is a whole page dedicated to one group Maya Pedal in Gautemala, that is devoted to "Pedaling for Electricity, Food, (and) Other Non Transportation" applications. BNB supplies recycled bikes to Maya Pedal and in working with BNB, Mass Bike and the Boston Bike Festival people on our May 6 Boston NBG Day I came across this exciting stuff:

If you go to http://mayapedal.com , you will see that they make a:

Bicycle Mill/Corn Degrainer, Bicycle Blender, Bicycle Water Pump, Microconcrete Vibrator (Roofing Tiles), Bicycle Coffee Depulper, Bicycle Metal Sharpen, Bicycle Washing Machines, Bicycle Electricity Generator, Soil plow/till/hoe, Bicycle Nut-Sheller, Bicycle Wood Saw

In December, I had written:
[..] I have a video of a guy in Cuba who pedals an elevator like mechanism straight up a palm tree to pick coconuts!! Wish that I knew more about the who, what and where of all of that......

In fact, I hear about them all the time but I'd like to be able to document a pedal powered TV set. Does anyone know of anyone who actually has and uses such a device??

In Santa Cruz, John Welch used to power up a small, low energy band for some of the parades they held down there, But I have lost touch with him. Anyone here know where he is or know of similar pedal powered music amplification they can actually document??

One pedal-powered gadget that I greatly admire is Woody Parker's Juice Cycle. He is based in Santa Cruz. Like the name implies, fresh squeezed juice is the result of his pedaling efforts. His web: http://www.geocities.com/juicycle/juiceclub.html

I am sure Jan Vandertuin, an innovative builder and bicycle Rennaissance Man up in Eugene has created a pedal powered energy saving device or at least has a student that has or knows some one who has created such a "gadget". His bike school/factory/transportation hub is at http://www.efn.org/~cat/index.html .

I have Lightfoot Cycle, of Montana, on the cc. Founder, Rod Miner, another mechanical genius, worked with 3rd World countries a lot when he developed the PET (Personal Energy Transportation) hand powered trike for the needs of the people in Zaire and Cambodia. He builds cutting edge recumbents and trailers now but I am sure he has either built, seen or knows of pedal powered energy saving devices. The Lightfoot web: http://www.lightfootcycles.com

Another bicycle genius is Menlo Park based Tom Kabat. A TransAm vet, he designs bikes built from scrap. Widely read about matters bicycle, he has seen a lot of incredible pedal devices. In fact, I see them in my own mail box from time time. You can see what he has built at his site: http://woodenbikes.com .

How about the Santa Cruz Bike Church! Their site at the Santa Cruz Hub is down right now (www.santacruzhub.org/), but maybe Charles Hannah or Tim there, who see a lot of wild bike stuff almost on a daily basis can add to this. [..]

My mailing list of recumbent and home building enthusiasts (around 500) is on the cc. Perhaps someone there has some ideas they might like to reply with??

At 9:48 AM -0800 12/2/04, John C. wrote:

Carolyn H forwarded your inquiry (appended below).

Frankly I'm not surprised that there are few "first world" pedal-powered gadgets at other than "hobby" level. After all, the first world is somewhat defined by easy access to energy, and a culture of "convenience" regardless of external costs.

Here are some thoughts:

1) I'd ask the question on a list of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA):


Check out their new information exchange, PedalWiki:


2) Ask Andrea Cassaloti of Zero, a pedal-powered delivery service in London. You can reach her at info@workbike.org or possibly post a question on the http://www.workbike.org website, which is probably the best worldwide directory of pedicabs and cargo bikes, trikes, quads, and trailers.

3) I've copied Shane Rhodes of Pedal Express in Berkeley, Martin Krieg here in Palo Alto, and Ian Scholz (brother of a Bike Friday developer, and maker of the 2-wheel BicycleR Evolution cargo trailer that I own.) They may know of folks who have built pedal powered gadgets. I seem to recall that Shane's PedalExpress colleague Mike Cobb has built some. (Guys, please copy me and Carolyn on your replies, and feel free to forward this to selected individuals who may know of the kind of devices Nikki is looking for.)

4) Just a few of the Google hits on "pedal powered devices":



Citation on the cyclonordsud page;

(1) McCULLAGH James C., "Pedal Power in Work, Leisure and Transportation", Rodale Press, 1975.



5) I recall an exhibit at a museum (in Philadelphia??) decades ago when I was a kid. It had a pedal generator hooked up to a series of big light bulbs -- the faster you'd pedal, the more bulbs down the line would turn on.

6) My friend Joel Woodhull uses human powered wheeled harvesting implements on his organic farm in Sebastopol, CA. He may have contacts in the human powered device scene.

Good luck, and let me know what you find...

John C___________

Carolyn H wrote:

Any tips for this person? She is someone who used to work at RIDES.

-----Original Message-----
From: Nikki B

I've been working in the medical patient education research for several
years, and am seeing great potential for pedal devices as a public health
tool- as inactivity in our culture is so widespread and a risk factor for
many diseases. My research on pedal power has dug up many examples of
alternative energy projects in developing countries such as in El
Salvador, and the Jhai pedal-powered jungle computer in Laos, but very few
in the USA. Just a few pedal-powered blenders or VCRs- mostly alt energy
projects. I found one example of a "first world" gizmo called Gamebike,
invented by 2 orthopedic surgeons precisely to offset the deleterious
effects of sitting too long playing video games. They were concerned about
the rising incidence of inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes amongst
children. Though it doesn't actually power the playstation, you get a lot
of exercise navigating through the games.

I'm especially interested in pedal devices used in worksite health
promotion (not just exercise equipment in company fitness centers). Do you
know of anything like this, for a public health purpose? or of anyone with
this interest? I'm trying to send out many feelers to track down the
elusive subculture of pedal-power enthusiasts. I got laid off in
September, and hope to incorporate pedal gizmos into my next job,
hopefully in health promotion.
If anything or anyone comes to mind, or if you have further questions, I'd
be very happy if you'd let me know...

Posted by mkreig at April 11, 2005 06:58 PM