At the very least, a unit would be a step up from the treadmill, which has been antagonizing runners ever since the days of George Jetson. If your health club installed a few Green Wheels alongside the regular treadmills, wouldn’t you rather pick the one that had some external benefit? Don’t worry, someone will figure out a way to show your favorite TV program inside the wheel by the time we get there.
Health clubs can make an even more tangible impact if similar technology is incorporated into exercise bikes. Imagine a spin class full of energetic 30-somethings pumping their legs up and down like crazy, generating small increments of electricity with each pedal stroke. If nothing else, the power they create will offset all the hot water they’ll use when showering afterwards.
For the concept to succeed, Green Wheels need to be used in large numbers, because the power output is somewhat low. By Inaty’s calculations, a single unit used for 30 minutes will produce roughly 120 watts – which is enough to light a compact fluorescent bulb for five hours, or to charge 12 mobile phones. Yes, it’s small in individual doses – but think about how many treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes are in motion all day long in gyms and health clubs all over the country. If each of those machines contributed a small charge to the grid, the impact on city infrastructures could become significant.
Therefore, another necessary component is altruism, in that runners or cyclists will voluntarily contribute their efforts for the greater good – which is where the whole Thanksgiving thing comes back in. If you’ve been blessed with the ability to run, wouldn’t you appreciate a creative way to leverage that gift for a greater good? Or if you’re looking for a unique way to get in shape, would this kind of eco-friendly mission be enough to inspire you?
The Earth needs your help. Get out there and run!
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