Can you charge a cell phone with the DeskCycle?
Thank you for your suggestions!
First of all, we'd like to thank all of our customers who have taken the time to send us their ideas. Your ideas and suggestions are the primary reason that our bikes have evolved over the years. Please keep them coming. You can reach us at our contact page.
Charging cell phones with pedal motion is worse for the environment
Some customers have suggested that we make a version of the DeskCycle that would charge a cell phone or other hand held device using your pedal motion.
Initially this seemed like an excellent idea. We could add this feature for about $15.
However, after looking deeper into it, we realized that it would do the opposite of making the bike green.
It only costs about 50 cents per year to charge a cell phone 1.
You would have to use the bike for 30 years to break even on the cost of the generator and charging circuitry. This does not include the energy used to actually manufacture the generating system.
We decided not to add this feature because, in our opinion, it would be a misleading gimmick. It actually wastes energy. It would require more energy to manufacture the generator and circuitry than most people would ever save by using it to charge their phone.
The good news is that you can already use the DeskCycle to save much more energy.
Exercise bikes already generate energy.
Many people don't know that all exercises bikes already generate energy. They are 100% efficient at converting your pedal motion into thermal energy. Exercise bikes add heat to their environment. In reality, this is not much energy though. You wouldn't be able to measure the temperature rise at work or in home office from using a bike at work. The real benefit comes from speeding up your metabolism. Read the next section for details.
A real opportunity to save money and energy.
The real benefit is that exercise raises your metabolism and circulation. Exercise will keep you warm even if you were to drop the temperature at your work by a couple of degrees.
DOE’s Energy-Savers website says that you can generally save 1% on your heating bill for each degree that you turn your thermostat down during the winter.2 This is a much greater energy-saving opportunity than charging your cell phone.
Just lowering the temperature by 3 degrees can save about 100 times the energy that it takes to charge a cell phone.
Replace those space heaters.
A company in Canada purchased DeskCycles to replace the space heaters that people were using at their feet to keep warm. Space heaters use about 500-1500 watts per person.
What about the hot summer months?
Improved circulation makes your body more efficient at regulating it's temperature. You will also naturally drink more water, which is something that we all should be doing. Losing weight will also improve your internal temperature regulation ability.