In a world where nearly everything needs to be filled up, plugged in, or recharged it’s easy to forget things weren’t always this way. It wasn’t that long ago that we moved our bodies a whole lot more in order to get work done. Here are some ideas to get back to simpler (and sometimes sorer) times.
Anybody who has spent time on a stationary bike or a treadmill has probably wondered where all that energy is going and whether or not it might be put towards some practical purpose. Pedal (and hand-cranked) generators get us halfway there – they won’t get you permanently off the electric grid but they’re great to have in an emergency or when the grid can’t come with you.
Power Your Household
You don’t have to go back to the days of churning your own butter to get a little more hands-on in your daily routine around the house. It wasn’t long ago that a lot of household labor was powered by old fashioned elbow grease. Companies like Lehmans specialize in hand-powered machines for everything from washing clothes to grinding coffee. They’ll even help you churn your own butter.
When it comes to human-powered transportation, the conversation generally begins and ends with bicycles. Even though they’ve been rolling around the world or nearly 200 years, innovations in design and safety keep the evolution pedaling forward.
Ever seen a velomobile on the road? Even though they are rather futuristic looking, the idea is more than a hundred years old. With tops speeds of almost 50 MPH (generally reached with electric assist), they’re becoming more and more popular as people look for commutes that are healthier for the commuter and the planet.
Another way to tackle your commute, especially if you have some access to public transportation, is by using a portable or folding bike. Manufacturers like the UK’s Brompton are seeing demand for their stylish and practical cycles soar. Even though they’re more expensive than traditional cycles, the benefits to your health and gasoline budget shouldn’t be ignored.
None of these ideas by themselves will dramatically reduce your power bill or need for gasoline – and that’s not the point. Each and every positive change, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.
And please, don’t forget to stretch before getting out there and powering the world!