How to Use a Bicycle to Make Renewable Energy

Human energy can be used to generate renewable energy through the use of a bicycle. Solar and wind power are excellent choices, but in some ways can be a limited option for you, depending on your living situation. For instance, as a renter in a high-rise apartment, you may not be able to install your own solar panels or even use portable ones. You can still have access to renewable energy though, with a bike generator system. Even if you're not able to actually pedal the bike for long periods of time, or at all, you can adapt it to work without the need to pedal. Here's how to use a bike to make renewable energy:

Pre-Assembled Bike Generator

There are many ways to purchase a bike generator system online. For example, gives you the option to purchase a pre-assembled bike generator, or to buy the parts to build your own. The lowest price generator has the bare minimum you need to generate electricity. You can purchase optional parts to install to expand the functionality of your bike generator system, or add to it later. Once you purchase the generator system, you can pedal to your heart's content (or ability) to generate electricity. The amount of energy you put out gets stored in a battery power pack for use when you want.

Build Your Own

You might decide to build your own bike generator from scratch. The key is to understand the science behind the generator, which might make for a fun science project for you and your family. If you do venture to do-it-yourself, you'll need the following:

  • Deep cycle battery (preferably Duracell or Xantrex)
  • PM DC generator
  • V-belts
  • Bike stand
  • Pulley and powertwist belt
  • Blocking diode
  • Charge controller
  • Adapter mount plate
  • Watts monitoring software

Mount the blocking diode first. Then mount your PM motor generator to your adapter mount plate. Remove your rear tire off the rim and and install it to the bike stand. You're now ready to install the pulley to the PM motor generator. After you do that, attach the v-belts to the back tire and then attach the pulley and powertwist belt. You should end up with one belt system that goes around the generator and your back tire. Set your charge controller for around 14 volts. Use the volt meter to set your DC voltage, and you're ready to test the bike generator system you just built. Pedal very fast until the voltage exceeds 14 volts. The charge controller should eventually trip and go back down.

Don't let health issues stop you from considering a bike to make renewable energy. You can attach a bike motor or car alternator to turn the rear bike wheel hub. This will cause the back tires to spin on their own and accomplish the same thing as if you were on the bike pedaling.