Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Five Ways to Pedal Power Your Devices

Why should racers have all the fun? They've got Powertaps and fancy electronic shifting, carbon fiber and aerodynamics, but how has the cycling industry been reinventing the wheel for bike commuters?

Perhaps the most interesting innovations for cyclists of the commuting variety will integrate our digital lives and devices with our otherwise utilitarian and low-tech machines. We ride to work, school, to shop and socialize, and can't always rely on battery power or a nearby outlet to power our smartphones and other gadgets. 

Here are some more sustainable, and self-sufficient innovations we found that can provide pedal power to your digital devices.

1. USB-equipped bikes that can charge your mobile devices. 

These German-made bikes have built-in USB ports.

From Springwise.com:
As part of Silverback’s 2012 Starke line for city use, the Starke 1 and 2 models both come equipped with a built-in USB port. As cyclists pedal, energy is generated by the bike’s front-mounted dynamo hub, which can then be used to charge GPS units, smartphones, MP3 players and other low-voltage devices via the bike’s USB port. Also powered by the dynamo is the bicycle’s lighting system, according to a report on Wired. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.  Read more

2. The SpinPOWER I4 iPhone 4 Bicycle USB Charger Kit

A dynamo-based kit, this product comes with everything you need to self-install on your existing bicycle, and powers a number of accessories from your iPhone 4, MP3 players, lights and more. 

3. Nokia Bike-Powered Mobile Phone Charger

Earlier in the year, Nokia launched their own dynamo-powered phone charger.

Ten minutes in the saddle produces enough power for 28 minutes of talk time, or 37 hours of standby time.

It looks like the product is currently only available in Europe, but hopefully Nokia will spread the bike-love to the U.S. and around the world soon. You can view the product at Nokia's Europe site here.

4. PowerFilm USB Solar Panel Charger

Probably more geared toward tourers and long-distance commuters, why not slap one of these on your Pannier and keep your your batteries charged on the way to the office?

5. The DIY Solar Altoid Tin Solar Charger

What can't you make out of an Altoid tin?

With under $20 and only a handful of parts, you can make your own and power your device on the go. Hack away. Read more at Discovery.com

The best is yet to come for bike commuters, and hopefully our best biking nerds are hard at work bringing these products to market. Have a tip on such a product you'd like us to check out? Let us know!

...and what ever happened to "power dressing"?

Joe @ BCN


  1. Here's what I'm talkin' about
    A stem cap with a USB port that plugs into an existing dynamo hub system. Too bad it's so freakin' expensive...