This 59-year-young’s pedal-powered desk is a way to exercise while working from home and helping the environment

3–4 minutes

Working from home has become a norm post Covid-19. Most of us would agree that working from home leaves people with more time to sleep and exercise. Reality is strikingly different! People are more confined to their systems; bedrooms have turned into cubicles; and the idea and time for physical activity has gone for a toss.

For someone like me, who has been working from home long before the pandemic made it the new normal, managing time for exercising has always been a challenge. Whether you like it or not, we do not have defined work hours. Lack of routine means, no scheduled time for anything except nature’s call that comes back at the same time every morning beating the alarm by a couple of minutes.

Designer: Jim Gregory

In this purposeless regime, where typing is the only physical activity you can imagine, PedalPC is a godsent solution born from an individual’s willingness to counter the lack of physical activity mustered into his routine by having to work from home. How to stay active while spending so much time in front of the computer, you ask? 59-year-young Jim Gregory will tell you to pedal while you work and, in the process also power up the system, connected devices, and more with clean renewable energy.

By combining the ‘fun of cycling with his desire to reduce energy consumption,’ bicycle trailer-builder Gregory created the PedalPC back in 2010. Over the years he has perfected several prototypes and now what he uses is a repurposed bicycle trailer that can generate enough power to run his computer, home wi-fi, printer, LED bulbs, and even juice up his phone. “I pedal about four hours a day and generate between 200 and 250 watt-hours a day.”

When faced with the question of how to get adequate physical activity while working from home, Gregory considered getting a treadmill desk or bike desk, but the idea was too straightforward to his liking. A little more back and forth in search of solutions, he arrived at the idea of designing a pedal-powered generator. This would allow “plenty of exercise each day while making a positive impact on the environment,” he confirms. And thus the PedalPC, a human-powered computer desk, that lets the user exercise and generate electricity simultaneously came into being.

With an exercise bicycle-style form factor, the Pedal PC allows Gregory to pedal and generate electricity. The connected control box then channels this power out through USB and 12V outlets to the connected devices. A little computer in the back keeps track of the electricity produced and can also be seen on the webpage associated with the PedalPC. The access electricity that he ends up generating can be stored in the battery on board to work off the grid or when not in the mood to pedal.

Discussing the usefulness of his creation, Jim believes he could soon be deviating from his main business of building bicycle trailers to creating and selling the PedalPC. Not only because it’s a way to exercise but in Jim’s own words a “way to keep warm in the winter… lower thermostat, and save some energy.”

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