5 Ways to Use the Bicycle Other than for Transport

bike washing machine

Image from here.

The machines we usually have at home today are most often than not, powered by electricity. Our civilization has definitely come a long way from horse-drawn or manually operated machines that milled the rice we cooked or wheat we baked. Electricity will always be the preferred power source when it comes to running the machines that make our life easier and better. However, for those who want to live off the grid, there are alternative power sources that can provide clean and efficient energy and don’t need fossil fuel as their ultimate power source. We can call it pedal power, or to put it in another way, we use the bicycle to power simple machines that we could use for our daily activities.

Here are five ways we can use the bicycle for purposes other than riding:

bike generator

Image from here.

1. Electric generator. There are many resources available in the Internet for designing and building a power generator using a bicycle such as this and this. It’s only a matter of being a handyman yourself in order to build one. The electricity it generates can be used to light LEDs, and power small machines such as blenders, or gadgets such as radios, smartphones, their chargers and others that run on electric power. The possibilities are endless and its uses can only be limited by the machines and gadgets themselves.

bike blender

Image from here.

2. Blender. Blenders can be used to make smoothies and other types of health drinks. Here is one model that can actually be used for commercial purposes. Using it can help not only making a refreshing drink but may also help in alleviating the guilt of enjoying the same since you have to pedal to make it work thus burning calories that results to toning your muscles before you can actually drink it and let it cool you down. This actually gives another meaning to cycling your way to health.

 bike to work

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Image from here.

3. Mill/Corn Thresher. Maya Pedal designed a bicycle-run machine that can be attached to a corn thresher or grinding mill. Their machine can mill any type of grain and produce up to 3 lbs. of grains per minute. Their one-person operated corn thresher can produce up to 100 lbs. per day of degrained corn.

the big rig

Image from here.

4. Multi-purpose machine. Pedal Power is a website that offers two types of bicycle-run machines that can be used in various applications. Their “Big Rig” is designed to run power generators, washing machines, water pumps, air compressors, milling machines and other small shop tools that are typically hand-cranked. Their portable model, the “Pedal Genny” is designed to power mechanical devices that consumes less than 1 horsepower.

pu on trailer

Image from here.

5. Ambulance. Inoy Africa, a Firefly Brigade member and contributor to our website came up with the idea of using the cargo bike to ferry victims of calamities such as floods and earthquakes. He is an advocate of using cargo bikes not only for recreational purposes but for other practical reasons that can actually save lives in times of need. Three years ago, he started “Agapan and Sakuna,” a cycling event designed to simulate disaster preparedness and response using cargo bikes. It aims to test and produce results on how to use the cargo bike not only as means to transport essential goods but also injured people, as an ambulance. This year’s event was held last August 17, 2014 and coincided with the Firefly Brigade’s CMR for August. Bikes without Borders has been doing the same for a number of years now in Malawi, Africa.

Bicycles are truly a wonderful machine that can be adapted to multiple use. We may not actually give much importance or realize this now because we still have plenty of oil to burn to produce the electricity that powers the machines we use daily. Inevitably, our civilization will have to face the problem of depleted oil reserves on earth and we will have to make do with what’s left of the oil-dependent machines we have invented. They will have to be reinvented to use other future fuels which may or may not possibly exist.  But bicycles will be there; bicycles then will be the BMWs, the Mercedes’s and Jaguars of today. It will be a luxury to have a bicycle.

If you have other ideas about where you can use the bike other than its original purpose, please share them with us in the comments. It's as easy as riding your bike.

 

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Supports the month of November as National Bicycle Month and every Fourth Sunday of November thereafter as National Bike Day.

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