If you're on a cycling holiday where you spend all day in the saddle, there's nothing like getting back to your accommodation and flopping down in front of the TV for a well deserved rest. But for guests at one UK bed and breakfast, it really is nothing like that ... because Cottage Lodge in Brockenhurst has installed a bicycle-powered television in one of its rooms.
Guests at the retreat in the New Forest National Park have the option of pedaling away to generate the electricity needed to power the LCD TV on their wall - which might make them reconsider what they're watching. "It isn’t a gentle speed - but equally it is not going to kill you," B&B owner, Christina Simons, warned Gizmag when asked just how much pedaling it takes to get the TV running.
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The setup is fairly simple and consists of a bike in a training stand which, when pedaled, spins a generator to create electricity that is stored in a battery wired to the TV. Christina says this isn't an off-the-shelf solution like the Pedal-A-Watt, but the result of hard work which has seen her get through three prototypes each made from recycled second-hand parts. The breakthrough, she says, was moving from a bike with 20-inch wheels to one with 26-inch wheels, capable of spinning the generator faster.
"In order to power the TV you need to do a little bit of cycling to get some power in the battery and then it will work whilst you pedal at a reasonable speed," said Christina. "The electricity is stored in a battery and then used to power the TV. This overcomes spikes of power as you speed up or slow down."
She said that response to the bike has been very positive adding that many hardened cycling enthusiasts stay at Cottage Lodge to make use of the New Forest National Park which has 192 km of off-road cycling. Less exercise-inclined visitors to the £129 (US$207) per night room have the option of using an electricity supply generated by photovoltaic cells on the roof.
Other eco-friendly tech at the B&B include a wood burning stove that heats the hot water during winter and solar panels on the roof to heat the hot water in the summer. Furniture has a low carbon footprint and is made from local trees. However, as this isn't the first time we've seen bikes used to generate electricity in the tourist industry we'd like to see them go the whole hog by doing the laundry with a human-powered washing machine and having a WeBike in the lobby.