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Pedal Faster! Lighting the House with Our Workouts?

August 15th, 2017 · No Comments · UAE

I remain on the mailing list of numerous public-relations companies in the United Arab Emirates. Generally, their missives call for about a five-second look-see at whatever person or product is being flogged, followed by punching the “delete” key.

Today, I got a release that actually got me past the first 15 words.

To wit:


Wait. We are going to power our own homes with our sad, half-hearted workouts?

Well, yes, apparently.

And I have one question.

Who else saw themselves replacing the hamster inside that little cage?

But this is serious. I think.

Let’s get to the key material. (And please note: The PR people are using the word “harebrained”, not me.)

How would you feel if you could power your home by foot? As harebrained and exhausting as that may sound, it could very well soon be your far-from-arduous reality.

The Leisure Show, the UAE’s leading annual celebration of all things sports and fitness, has gathered its greenest pool of exhibitors ever for its 2017 event, taking place in Dubai next month.

One of the most eagerly anticipated product launches is the latest in energy-converting exercise technology: ellipticals, cycles, and treadmills that transform movement into wattage – providing enough of it to power any fitness fan’s home.

So, again, think of the hamster, which runs forever while chasing a piece of cheese, or whatever hamsters will chase till they drop.

What would it be the lure for humans chasing their own dream of guilty (and probably unattainable) goals?

A stash of colorful M&Ms? Soft-serve ice cream? A Big Mac?

The upside is that you will be powering your own home.

Perhaps this can be done, from our own sad little exertions — though I seem to recall that in my youth my bicycle was fitted with a small generator that significantly reduced the mechanical advantage of my bike while powering a flickering headlight that illuminated about 10 feet of road ahead of me.

In theory, it must be possible that a more efficient system has been developed, one that allows our walking/jogging/cycling/elliptical-ing to produce a lot more power than my bicycle did.

(But wouldn’t much of the person’s energy go to powering the machine they are on? So we can light the lights and access all that workout data on the operational panel? Hmm.)

Let’s go back to the PR release. They wouldn’t blow a lot of smoke up our backsides, would they? That’s not how flacks roll.

In what is a world first, the SportsArt ECO-POWR™ range harnesses the energy created by a workout and sends it directly back to the grid, offsetting the electricity initially used to power the machine.

The ECO-POWR™ line is already being billed as one of the biggest energy conserving innovations since solar panels, and leads the way in the growing market of eco-friendly and digitally revolutionized fitness equipment set for exhibiting at September’s Leisure Show.

It’s green then? Eco-friendly?

Well then. All right-thinking humans have to be in favor of that. Think of the carbon trade-offs. Save the ozone by revving up a big battery in your house! Or something like that.

(Check the photo, above. That’s a 21st century power plant.)

See all those cycles? All you have to do is get on one, turn the resistance to 11 and pedal like a maniac for a couple of hours — or until you pass out.

If you can hire someone off the street to ride in your place, maybe you can even afford to run a carbon-neutral air-conditioning system. (More likely, you would need the winner of the Tour de France spending 12 hours a day in the saddle in your garage.)

Back to the media release.

Giovanni Berselli, EMEA Sales Director – Hotels Channel, for SportsArt said: “We are the only company whose products put watts back into the power grid, converting up to 74 percent of the user’s energy while cleaning it up, and converting it into utility-grade electricity. That is what is unique and why we are the pioneer in green fitness technology.”

Maybe the engineers out there can tell us if this is really possible — the 74 percent of the user’s energy going back to “utility-grade” electricity.

Call me skeptical.

I do believe that it is possible, theoretically. But I have trouble believing that any exercise machine can be produced that has extra energy left over, once the machine has lit up its control panels. Never mind charge your smart phone.

Maybe, just maybe, the exercise-machine industry has decided that tagging something “green” is a good marketing move at this point in history. Just like “fat-free” yogurt was a couple of decades ago.

That makes me a cynic, I suppose. How dreary.

Now, if it was me and, say, a thousand hamsters spinning like crazy …


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