Do Exercise Bikes Need to be Plugged In?

Do Exercise Bikes Need to be Plugged In?

It depends on the type of bike you have. Principally, stationary bikes are manual, which means the rider pedals to turn the flywheel and must then keep pedalling to maintain momentum. 

You don’t need to plug the bike into an electrical socket because the person riding provides the power. 

Once they stop, the wheel will begin slowing down before eventually stopping too. Resistance can also be controlled manually, and you’ll find many manufacturers (especially budget ones) opting for a battery-operated display panel and reading basic metrics like calories burned and distance.  

However, some smart bikes include a screen that requires a power source. For example, a Peloton bike uses a built-in screen to display live and on-demand classes, leader boards, etc. While the bike still functions as a stationary bike without being plugged in, the screen and accompanying interactive features won’t work without electricity. If you’re paying a monthly subscription to unlock all the interactivity, this is worth bearing in mind.  

You’ll find smart bikes that don’t include a display but which will have a tablet or device holder so you can access apps or stream classes without worrying about where to plug in.

Can you get electricity from exercise? 

It is possible to generate electricity from exercise although, typically, this has only been possible in relatively small amounts and wouldn’t be enough, for example, to power an entire house. Or at least for individuals exercising at home. Gyms are much better placed to tap into this type of energy generation.  

It is possible to generate electricity from exercise although, typically, this has only been possible in relatively small amounts and wouldn’t be enough, for example, to power an entire house. Or at least for individuals exercising at home. Gyms are much better placed to tap into this type of energy generation.  

We’ll use indoor cycling to highlight how you can get electricity from exercise. Essentially, mechanical energy is the energy produced by movement. On an indoor bike, the rider pedals and transfers this energy into the pedals and flywheel. Using a generator makes it possible to capture and convert this into electrical energy. Creating energy this way isn’t new; typically, people have used dynamo generators and alternators to capture small amounts of human power. Energym developed the Enerbox, which sits on the back of the bike and handles complex energy generation at higher efficiencies before transferring that power either to a portable battery unit locked onto the bike (the RE:GEN) or into a central lithium-ion battery for a gym to use later (the RE:GEN Studio).  

We mentioned earlier that one of the biggest problems with this type of electricity generation is that it’s not very efficient. It's why Energym began working on increasing the efficiencies of this process, ensuring that a rider can generate as much clean power as possible in the time they’re exercising rather than losing a percentage of this physical effort as heat. But even with this added efficiency, it’s still only small-scale power generation, but given that you’d be exercising anyway, why not take that power and use it?  

The RE:GEN's portable Ohm battery stores up to 100wH of power and has USB-A and USB-C charging ports. From 1 workout, you'll be able to charge: 
 

  • 2.6 Macbook Pros 
  • 4 iPad Pros 
  • 14 iPhones 


But where’s the one place where small-scale energy happens regularly and consistently? Gyms and cycling studios where several classes can take place each day with dozens of riders working out altogether at once. Expand this power generation across the UK, Europe or globally, and suddenly this small-scale generation adds up to something much bigger. The more renewable energy we can produce, the less we rely on fossil fuels.
 

It's great for riders because they can enjoy an immersive and engaging workout session while the gym can use this power to help offset their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint.  

Should I buy an exercise bike that requires electricity? 

 
It depends entirely on personal preference. There’s a huge range of indoor bikes now catering for all budgets and goals. You don’t need an indoor bike with a screen, but you may find having one makes exercising more engaging and interesting. If you decide not to have one, you can always use a tablet or other electronic devices to access classes and games as you ride. One of the biggest advantages of this is that not only is the bike likely to be cheaper, but you can also position it wherever you’d like in your home.  

You can learn more about our technology and now pre-order the electricity-generating RE:GEN for 2023 delivery. 

 


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