彭蒙惠英语：20110122 MP3在线课程 Exercise converted to electricity
Exercise converted to electricity
By Wendy Koch/ (c) 2010, USA Today. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Pedal power is gaining traction as thousands of bikes and elliptical machines are retrofitted to produce electricity.
"Business is really taking off," says JayWhelan, CEO of The Green Revolution, a Connecticut-based company that retrofits bikes for spinning classes. Since April 2009, he has added devices to nearly 1,000 bikes at 60 gyms that convert the direct current created by pedaling into alternating current to be sent to the power grid. The average cost: about $1,000 per bike.
ReRev, a Florida company, has added similar devices to more than 300 elliptical trainers at 23 gyms since June 2008.
"It's a low-cost way to get into the renewable energy game," says Beth Bennion, ReRev's marketing director. She says the novelty attracts users. She asks, "Who would ever have thought we'd capture energy from a workout?"
Pedal power cannot run factories, but Whelan estimates a spinning class of 20 people over a year could light 72 homes for a month. ReRev says a 30-minute workout on one of its ellipticals generates about 50 watts, enough to run a laptop for an hour or charge a cell phone six times. "We're not going to solve global warming, but we're trying to help in any way we can," Whelan says.
At the Habana Outpost restaurant in Brooklyn, it takes about a minute of bike pedaling to power a blender. "You get $1 off if you pedal your own smoothie," says Elvis Rosa, a manager. Most customers saddle up.
"It's been a wild success," says the Rev. Faith Fowler of Cass Community Social Services, which runs a homeless shelter in Detroit. She got a donation to retrofit 10 bikes at the shelter's gym to provide some of its electricity. She says she pursued the idea for both environmental and health reasons, noting that many residents struggle with diabetes and obesity. "It was a natural fit."