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The discussion of any type of equipment or transportation using human muscles, usually leg muscles with cranks and chains. This includes generators, mills, drills, presses, boats, planes, and land vehicles. If a human muscle powers it, it's on topic. -

Pedal Power: Spinning for the Future at CCAT

By Ben Erickson

Pedal power energy has been in use since the nineteenth century. Pedal power uses the most powerful muscles in the body: the quads, hamstrings, and calves. When pedaling in a circular motion at sixty to eighty revolutions per minute, with the use of toe clips, almost every muscle in the human legs can be used to make energy. Ninety-five percent of the exertion put into pedal power is converted into energy. The average rider at a continuous road speed of twelve miles per hour can produce a quarter horsepower, or enough energy to light two, one hundred-watt light bulbs (Wilson 1977).

The average, fit, adult rider can produce only 75 watts or 1/10hp when
cycling at a continuous 12mph.

Only a top cycling athlete can produce 200W or about 1/4 hp - and this is
only for short bursts before overheating - not continuously, and this was
confirmed during the Man Powered flights for the Kremer challenge in about

I too have read "Bicycling Science" by Wilson 1977, and I think that someone
has perhaps mistaken continuous power with peak power. At the end of the day
we are just machines, and if you stress us too much we will break sooner.

Ken Boak <>

In this day and age, with the over abundance of automobiles and powered machines, pedal power can still take a place in the lives of the earth conscious. Pedal power can be applied to a tremendously large variety of jobs besides the most familiar form, transportation. Tools that can be operated by pedal power are the bandsaw, meat grinder, wood carver, stone polisher and buffer, jewelers lathe, and pottery wheel. Appliances such as a juicer, potato peeler, meat slicer, cherry pitter, or a butter churn can be used with pedal power. On the farm, pedal power can pump water, plow, and clean grain. The list of applications that pedal power can be incorporated with can go on and on. Here at CCAT, pedal power is used to run a drill press, washing machine,grinder, TV/VCR, generator, and a human energy converter.

An important aspect of pedal power is that when the cranks are spun, the force is put into the machine unevenly. The energy being produced comes shakily and in spurts. A flywheel can be used to curb the effect of the unevenness associated with pedaling. Flywheels weigh between twenty-five and thirty-five pounds. The inertia of the spinning flywheel when spun at speed evens out the spikes of force that occur when pedaling.

Pedal Power is an excellent source of energy. Pedal power can be applied to a wide range of jobs. Pedal Power is a simple, cheap, and convenient source of energy. With the human population at six billion and growing, pedal power can be incorporated in the lives of families living in third world countries to improve the quality of their lives while being friendly to the earth. Pedal Power is an appropriate technology for now and for the future. -

Pedal Power - In Work, Leisure, and Transportation

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British Human Power Club


W.F. & John Barnes Patented Foot-Powered Machinery -

Taking the saying "One Less Car" literally, I decided to act as a transportation surrogate , carrying things on my bike for other so they wouldn't have to drive their car to meet their basic needs. I first started out delivering groceries to residents between classes or after school, using a small bicycle cargo trailer made by a well-known bicycle trailer manufacturer.

This scientific bibliography on human-powered submarines aims to list references containing some level of technical information. The references are listed in reverse chronological order: most recent first. Contact Peter Brueggeman if something useful was missed or if a reference needs correction or augmentation. You can obtain these items through your library's collection and/or interlibrary loan service. Alternatively you can order them directly from UCSD Libraries' fee-based document delivery service, PLUS Information Service, at -

The MIT Human-Powered Hydrofoil project was born in a discussion between Marc Schafer (MIT SM '92) and Bryan Sullivan (MIT SM '??) on a flight from Greece. As members of the Daedalus team, they had just helped set the world record for long distance human-powered flight. A human-powered hydrofoil, they mused, would be a vehicle which any team member could ride, not just the well-toned atheletes. When Marc and Bryan returned to the United States in the summer of 1988, they formulated a proposal and received seed money from the MIT SeaGrant office.

Useful Links in HPV Cyberspace

Here is a variety of HPV links. If you don't find it here, it may be because 1) we missed it, 2) a web page isn't available, or 3) we felt it was not relevant within the context of OHPV.

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