Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Batteries Not Included

Well did you all watch the Olympic bicycle road races over the weekend? Were you impressed? Did you stop to wonder how much energy was put into the cycling by all those riders? Like if they were all connected to a generator producing electricity, how many kettles could they have boiled and how much fossil fuel would that have saved from spewing CO2 into our atmosphere?

And are you wondering what has happened to Barkingside 21s Energy Bike, MIRA (Magnetic Induction Rotary Appliance). I will tell you. We have been working with Justin Farndale and Barking College on getting it to do something more interesting than lighting up a row of 24V DC lightbulbs. We now have an Inverter which converts 12 Volts DC to 240 Volts AC. This works fine when connected to a charged up car battery but it cuts out if the input voltage is too high or too low. Maintaining a steady 12 Volts DC on a bike is not exactly easy, so we had to get a Regulator which takes a variable DC input, 8-40 Volts and outputs a steady 12 Volts DC. You don’t seem to be able to get these in the EU so I had to source one from China and it took quite a while. Suffice to say we can now operate low wattage mains devices from the bike, like my mains powered Disco Bubble machine, whoop! Here’s Mira testing out MIRA in my back garden.

And both Miras will be making their debut bubbles appearance at next Sunday’s Fairlop Oak Charity Bike Ride. Of course it will not be going around the lake - that’s our next task to make it mobile. You don’t need to peddle very hard to generate bubbles (it’s only 40 watts) so we won’t be inviting Bradley Wiggins or Lizzie Armistead because they would probably overload the circuitry and blow the bl**dy thing up.

On the following Sunday, 12th August, we will be at the Wanstead Festival on Christchurch Green with Emilie, who is on secondment to Redbridge Council from Sustrans, and is working on delivering the Biking Borough scheme. It is she who is organising the cycling activities for this event. Do pop along, and we might take you for a ride.


  1. How much 'toxic' CO2 would have been exhaled by all the cyclists?

    1. But the CO2 was exhaled by the cyclists anyway and we didn't get any boiled water for a pot of tea ....

      The latest investigation funded by the Climate Sceptics has concluded that Climate Change is happening and human activity is causing it.


    2. Have you read the extensive meta-analysis on Watts Up With That, regarding corrupted data from US weather stations?

    3. That's the bloke referred to in the link above who said he would accept the results and then didn't ...

  2. Peddle? Obviously a spelling vagary (and many comments have already be made about that) but, this specific 'peddle' makes my day, because you are referring to boiling enough water for a cup o tea!
    Seriously, sourcing some equipement to China for a 'practical' in energy saving?

    1. That's because I'm "peddling" the Bubble Bike!!?!! Maybe?

      The global economy is what we've got.

    2. Anne, Have you heard of Raspberry Pi - a computing project to improve IT education in schools?

      The original intention was to manufacture it in the UK. So, where is it made? China.

      Why? Because the duty levied on the import of components ,makes it uneconomical to build it in the UK. There is no import duty on the manufactured product ...

      It's a mad, mad, world ...!