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Old exercise bike transformed into pedal-powered reindeer

Capable of powering a Christmas tree - Cardiff cycling and sustainability project to turn an dust-gathering exercise bike into a festive energy source.

Those at the Pedal Emporium are no strangers to creative projects. Over the festive period, they turned their hand to cleaning and transforming an old 1970s exercise bike into a pedal-powered reindeer, capable of generating enough power to light a Christmas tree.

"Rudolph started life as a tired and unloved exercise bicycle from the 70's - abandoned and feeling pretty down beat that his work-out days were over,” said Carolyn Ryves from Pedal Emporium.

“After adopting him we spent a couple of days turning him in to a pedal-powered reindeer with the sole mission of spreading some sustainable Christmas magic around the local community. He provides a great platform for conversation to develop about energy, electricity, and sustainability - whilst also being a great interactive and fun demonstration of alternative energy for children.”

Rudolph took 24 hours of sanding, spraying, sewing, wiring and sticking to make and was hired out over the festive season alongside other pedal-powered equipment including smoothie makers and discos.

An old permanent magnet motor from an electric bike was attached to the flywheel on the front.

“These motors can be recycled from many places,” said Carolyn.

“We mainly use ones from car engine fans & electric scooters/bicycles which can be found at reclamation yards. This pedal generator produces 12volts DC and around 80-100watts, meaning you could easily charge your phone, tablet, or laptop from it.”

Rudolph proved a particular hit with children. Now the new year has arrived, he will ditch his antlers and attend events as a horse for Pedal Emporium’s Velo Vardo (pictured) where he is able to power a mini pedal-powered disco and bubble machine.

From its humble beginnings of a dark dusty shed in 2006, The Pedal Emporium has grown in to a busy South Wales based group offering a wide variety of pedal powered generators for all occasions. The Pedal Emporium team turn shed junk into pedal-powered generators with the aim of promoting cycling and sustainability.

Carolyn said: “With a strong desire to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions, we create our generators from recycled materials and what we affectionately like to call 'shed junk': all those abandoned items you may find lurking in the dark corners. We give new life to broken blenders, turn fishbowls in to bingo machines, make old suitcases in to speakers... and then attach them all to pre-loved bicycles!”

From bicycle bingo to blenders, with bingo and bubbles in between, their motto is “viva la velorution!”and they team up with schools, offices and events such as fetes and festivals, in order to spread their two-wheeled message.

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By Lucy

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