New York City’s Citi Bike is the largest bike-sharing program in the United States. It opened to the public in May 2013 and by August, saw riders taking more than 40,000 trips per day. Now Citi Bike is putting some of that riding energy to use for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square.
This past Saturday, the organization set up six stationery bikes at the corner of 42nd Street and 7th Avenue to gives tourists and residents alike the opportunity to turn their kinetic energy into electricity for the New Year’s Eve Ball. Each bicycle is attached to a generator and a 12-volt battery. A computer keeps track of how many watts a rider generates. Once the battery is charged, it’s removed and a new one is attached to the bike. It will take 20 fully charged batteries to illuminate the more than 32,000 LEDs that cover the ball.
“We’re seeing most people get on between two to five minutes,” Ned Flint of Pierce Promotions told Inhabitat. “We had one guy stay on for the whole hour and he hit that 75 watt mark. But, most people generate one to four watts.”
Flint thinks that riders will generate at least 10,000 watts, but hopes they can reach the 15,000-watt goal by New Year’s Eve.
Tim Tompkins, president of Times Square Alliance, told Inhabitat, “Times Square has been at the forefront at a lot these green initiatives to change the way people get around. We’ve got a lot of Citi Bike stations; we also have been part of the closing of Broadway and making it for pedestrians instead of vehicles.”
The Alliance partnered with Citi Bike and Countdown Entertainment to make the human-energy machine possible.
Credit: Youtube Screen Grab