UpCycle Ecocharger Testimonials

Thousands of people from around the world have experienced the UpCycle Ecocharger: Athletes and Fans at The 2015 Pan Am Games set a world record for most people generating electricity in a week, sponsored by Chevrolet. 7/27/2015: Over 10,000 people in 10 days had a blast generating electricity on the UpCycle Ecocharger at The 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Chevrolet’s installation also set a Guinness World Record for most people generating electricity in a week (4,739)! Check it out: Schools “You would be so happy to see all the use the bikes are getting…. They have provided an option for our active learners that we have never been able to offer before their arrival. Teachers are starting to embrace the opportunity and availability of the bikes. THANK YOU!” “Every school should have this option for their active learners!” Amateur Competitive Cyclists “I am an active duty military member who has received multiple concussions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have used cycling for the last few years as part of my recovery. Now I save $30 in training tires plus $30 in electric bills each month (note: this doesn’t mean he generates that $30 in electricity. Click here for clarification). The UpCycle Eco-Charger is quieter than an air trainer or a fluid trainer. I look forward everyday to putting power back into the grid and I feel like I am still useful and can give back in my little way.” – Will Fetters Eco-Friendly Businesses “When the UpCycle Eco-Charger was at our Zipcar office in Portland, we were ecstatic to have the opportunity to give it a spin. Not only were we able...

The UpCycle Ecocharger, Pedal Power, The Pan Am Games, Chevrolet, and the #PowerOfPlay

How the little guy worked with the big boys to innovate, delight, and inspire thousands! Update 7/27/2015: Over 10,000 people in 10 days had a blast generating electricity on the UpCycle Ecocharger at The 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Chevrolet’s installation also set a Guinness World Record for most people generating electricity in a week (4,739)! Check it out: It Started Innocently Enough In late January, 2015, I got an email from a managing engineer from Chevrolet Canada, saying they were interested in the UpCycle Ecocharger for help charging an interactive exhibit based on a concept they were developing called a Microgrid. They were creating an interactive demonstration, and wanted pedal power to help make it more engaging. Based on their research, the Eco-charger appeared to be durable enough for their setup, but they needed to do extensive testing to be sure it would be up to their standards. That sounded interesting to me, but I was doubtful it would work. It was a lot of complicated electronics. They Had Bigger Plans After sending a DIY kit for testing, I was told it was going to be part of a display at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Obviously this was exciting to me, and I let them know I’d be happy to help them make it happen, given my extensive experience explaining human power since 2008. Little did I know this would turn into such a big production, and that my little DIY kit would end up being an integral part of an international sporting event, sponsored by one of the largest auto companies in the World. Car Companies Are Thorough As they were testing, they...

The History of The UpCycle Ecocharger

The UpCycle Ecocharger DIY kit has been used all over the world to harness human power! This is the story of how it went from a crude prototype… The very first hub motor flywheel bike trainer idea To the best pedal generator kit in the world, helping Chevrolet power the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games! Necessity is the Mother of Invention It started with a phone call from the New York City Mayor’s office a week after Hurricane Sandy. They were frantically looking for any possible solution to getting electricity to the people who had been powerless for several days. At that point, I only had electricity generating gym equipment, and no way to get such heavy machines shipped across the country. But it gave me the inspiration to flesh out an idea that might work for the home. A New Twist The idea of using an electric bike hub motor as a generator was not new to us. We had been working on that for awhile, but always with the idea of using it as part of an indoor cycle at a gym. I knew a device for the home would have to be more simple (no electrical engineers and no custom software!), and probably would sell best as an affordable DIY kit instead of a fully assembled, out of the box solution.  So, I started trying to figure out how it would go together.  My first shot was using a bike trainer stand with a wooden flywheel. It worked, but not very well.  The wooden flywheel was hard to install and way too light to do any good.  A heavy flywheel was necessary to...

5 Reasons to Stop Driving & Start Biking

Guest Post from Susan Finch: Susan Finch is a freelance writer with a passion for travel and helping small businesses find their online voice through content marketing, blogging and beyond. She is an eclectic writer with more than 10 years of experience contributing to guidebooks, magazines, iPhone apps, online publications and more. Susan can be found at BySusanFinch.com. 5 Reasons to Stop Driving & Start Biking According to Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future, more C02 is emitted in the United States’ transportation sector than across any other nation’s entire economy, except for China. Choosing to live a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle can be as simple as lessening your dependence on a vehicle and biking instead. You can save money, reduce your health risks (and consequently, health care costs) and help save the planet at the same time. Here are some reasons to consider cycling as your primary mode of transportation. Reduce carbon emissions According to Transportation Alternatives, some 150 million pounds of C02 emissions per year could be reduced if just 5 percent of New Yorkers stopped commuting by car or taxi and started taking public transportation, walking or cycling instead. To put this figure in context, you would need to plant trees in an area 1.3 times the size of Manhattan to achieve the same type of reduction. You may not live in a metropolis like New York City, but simply switching to bicycling, starting a carpool to work or opting for public transportation can make a big impact on carbon emissions. Eliminate gas guzzling The U.S. Energy Administration reported that the United...

Why the Time Has Come for Green Fitness Equipment

If you’re reading this, you are a pioneer. You want to make the world a better place for future generations. You know there are no magic bullets that will instantly change everything for the better. You understand that every little bit of progress is good, and you have to start somewhere. You also understand that making electricity through human power is not a money-maker all by itself. It’s a common sense way to introduce and educate people on all things Eco-Fitness, like healthy eating of less-processed food, to efficient use of facility resources, and building community through consistent exercise. If you have the choice between wasting energy and not wasting it, what would you choose? Now you can start a Green Gym without having to re-invent a business model, or invent new technology.  The equipment now exists, and it’s affordable.  The Green Microgym, established in 2008, is known as the world leader in Eco-Fitness, and is the blueprint for the future of fitness: The cost to produce/purchase the equipment is the same Until late 2014, although the technology to retrofit exercise equipment to send electricity back to the grid existed, it was not cost effective to do so. You would have to purchase regular equipment and then retrofit it.  That’s what I had been doing since 2009. It worked fine for me in my gym, but there was no way to scale up.  But now, SportsArt Fitness has come out with a line of grid-tied, plug into the wall fitness equipment that is priced competitively with other gym-quality exercise equipment.  Their elliptical machine, upright bike, recumbent bike, and spin...

The Top 4 Ways For Your School to Get Money for an UpCycle Ecocharger

Ask Your Principal Who knows, there might be dollars set aside or available for this. Since it integrates  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Special Ed (Movement Breaks), Physical Education, and Green/Sustainability, there are a lot of potential pools to draw from. I experienced this first hand, where a High School in Bremerton, Washington was able to buy 2 Ecochargers on the spot with a school credit card.   Set Up a Donors Choose (public schools) or Go Fund Me campaign This takes only an hour or two to fully set up. An elementary school in Portland, Oregon funded their entire $3600 campaign in 2 days!   Apply For a Grant This is a longer process, so definitely should be something you do after the first two don’t work, but again, there are lots of ways you can make this happen, because of the STEM, Special Ed, PE, and Green angles you can take when applying.   Put On a Powerthon You’ve heard of a walkathon and danceathon, so why not a Powerthon! This is most easily done AFTER you have an Ecocharger, but could be pulled off to get one. Put some kids on stationary bikes, and estimate that each minute of pedaling is equal to about 1 Watt Hour of electricity. Have sponsors pledge $1 per watt hour...

The 4 Best Ways to Demonstrate the UpCycle Eco-charger Bicycle Generator

The UpCycle Eco-Charger is a great tool for getting people excited about renewable energy and conservation.  The following are the best ways to show off your Bicycle Generator so people walk away saying to themselves “That’s really cool what (Your Group’s Name) are doing!” and NOT “That’s a Silly Gimmick”. BUT BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER, You Will Have to Redirect People From These Misconceptions: Humans Generating Electricity Will Drastically Reduce Power Bills – Folks want this to be more than it is.  When the average price of a Kilowatt Hour is $0.10, the amount of hours one person would need to pedal to make even $1 is way over 20. Instead, Say: “This is one small way to harness our energy when we are exercising” This Technology is Not Real – I’ve heard from “experts” that electricity can’t go back into the grid this way. This is just not true. We’ve had engineers test our equipment and it really does work the way we say it does. Instead, Say: “This technology is just like small scale wind or solar power.  It just connects in a different way” This Technology is Unsustainable – Because electricity is so cheap and the electronics to generate electricity cost money, some will say that it will never pay for itself, and therefore is not sustainable.  Instead, Say: “The technology is no more expensive than the technology in traditional exercise equipment” and “This shouldn’t be compared to solar or wind in terms of payback, because it’s also competitively priced as exercise equipment” The Following 4 Ways to Show Off The UpCycle Ecocharger Will Help You Deliver...

The History & Future of Eco-Fitness

In late 2014, I was interviewed by David Allen from D.A. Productions about the History and Future of Eco-Fitness for a video that will be used for learning English as a second language. David did a really good job of helping me explain how The Green Microgym began, many of the challenges and successes along the way, and where I believe Eco-Fitness is headed in the...

How Schools are Crowdfunding the UpCycle Eco-Charger

Post by Portland Public Schools.   “Powerthon was today!  I was actually going to send you a picture tomorrow. .. it was insanely busy! The kids biked all day. .. it was fantastic!!! Thanks!!!” – Tara   “Hi Adam! That was amazingly fast for a grant that large. DonorsChoose will be contacting you regarding the delivery. We are very excited about having the bikes at Glencoe.  I think that’s obvious by the support for the project!” – Lisa   In the past month, two different schools, one in New Jersey, and one in Portland successfully used innovative thinking to fully fund their purchase of UpCycle Eco-Chargers.  They did it in two ways: Purchase the Eco-Charger first and then do a fundraising Powerthon This is the easiest way to do it, by using school or district funds to buy the equipment, and then set up a Powerthon, where individuals and businesses pledge dollars per watt-hour to generate funds.  It can be a one-day or an ongoing thing. Crowdsource the funding through Donors Choose This campaign was fully funded in 2 days!  A bit more work up front to write the grant and submit the proposal, but the result was fantastic! Congratulations to both of these schools and their hardworking, innovative teachers who made this happen! If you are interested in crowdfunding your own UpCycle Eco-Chargers, contact us and let’s make it...

Two Resolutions in One: Put a Little Green in Your Workout Routine

Just Energy, a leading provider of natural gas, electricity and green energy solutions, wrote a great article about ways to Green Up your workouts.  Check it out: Two Resolutions in One: Put a Little Green in Your Workout Routine Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to start a new exercise routine? Especially after the holidays’ feasts, we could all stand to work out a little bit more! If you’re eco-conscious, I bet you also made a resolution to add some green alternatives to your lifestyle. This year, why not combine these two resolutions to knock them both out at once? Seize the opportunity to make your exercise routine a little more green! It’s easier than you think and it’s a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint while getting fit. Here are four ways you can accomplish these two New Year’s resolutions by putting a little green in your workout routine. Workout at a Green Microgym. Green Microgyms have popped up all around the country and are powered by the energy you’re using to exercise. These gyms utilize spin bikes, elliptical machines and recumbent cycle generators that harness exercise energy and convert it into electricity through your workout. With this eco-friendly energy generation, Green Microgyms use about 85% less electricity than traditional gyms. Even if you aren’t looking to work out at a gym, you can purchase Green Microgym’s UpCycle Eco-Charger to convert your home bicycle into an electricity generator. It’s as easy as replacing your back wheel and plugging the device in the wall. Join a running club. If you’re tired of working out at a gym,...

What’s Next? The UpCycle Eco-Charger, SporsArt, and a How-To Guide

Now that I’ve sold the two gyms I was running, I have more time!  What am I going to do with it? I wish I was one of those awesome people who is so focused they just keep on truckin’ knowing exactly what they are destined to do.  But in the immortal words of SNL’s Drunk Uncle, “That’s not me”.  So, I’m figuring it out as I go along. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Continuing to innovate on The UpCycle Eco-Charger electric bicycle generator (and DIY kit). Working with SportsArt to sell their new line of grid-tied, plug-and-play, high-end Ellipticals, Upright and Recumbent bikes (and soon – Spin Bikes!). Creating a step by step guide showing how I started up two Green Microgyms, got them cash-flow positive on 5 hours of work a week, and sold them for a profit. 1. I’ve been working on the UpCycle Eco-Charger for over a year now, and it continues to sell! Mostly, I’m getting orders from either 1) idealistic people like me who own electric cars, are trying to live as green as possible, or want to make a difference in the world in a million small ways; or 2) schools that are looking to educate their students on energy, conservation, fitness, etc. As I’ve been building and shipping Eco-Chargers, I’ve been innovating on the product a bit and have come up with some pretty cool versions like: A custom Chopper bike with a headlight that glows when you pedal: A neighbor of mine goes to vintage bike swap meets (gotta love Portland). He found an old frame from the 1930’s, added...

I Just Sold the Alberta Street and Sellwood Locations!

I’m sitting at my regular table at the Hopworks Bike Bar on North Williams street (my office), and it’s starting to hit me.  I just sold the gyms! I’m letting a huge part of my life for the past 6 years go.  In April of 2008, my wife, Danielle and I moved to the Alberta District of Portland.  She was finishing up her last internship to become a sonographer, and I was coming to start my first real business. I had been self employed before, but never with any responsibilities beyond doing a job and collecting payment (as a handyman, musician, or personal trainer).  I’d rented out a garage in Seattle as a personal training studio, but nothing like what I was about to do. If I would have known how much work, worry, and adventure it would have become, I’m not sure if I would have done it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taking risks, being innovative, following your dreams and all that, but this was beyond anything I could have imagined. But I did it!  With a lot of help, I started a gym that generates electricity through solar and human power and uses 85% less energy than normal gyms per square foot.  I franchised a successful gym in Belmont (owned by Dan Caplan), invented a grid-tied spin bike and co-founded an electricity generating exercise equipment company, started up a second gym in Sellwood, got on CNN, in Entrepreneur Magazine, and lots of other places.  I avoided bankruptcy a couple times, finally found the formula to cashflow the gyms, and now have come full circle...

Who’s on the Eco-Fitness Equipment Bandwagon?

The UpCycle Eco-Charger (and some of our older equipment) can make a difference in a lot of places.  Check out some of the people and places we’ve worked with so far: Amateur Competitive Cyclists “I am an active duty  military member who has received multiple concussions in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have used cycling for the last few years as part of my recovery. Now I save $30 in training tires plus $30 in electric bills each month. The UpCycle Eco-Charger is quieter than an air trainer or a fluid trainer. I look forward everyday to putting power back into the grid and I feel like I am still useful and can give back in my little way.”  – Will Fetters Eco-Friendly Businesses Kids Bands Breweries Leading Sustainable Universities and High Schools Individuals just like you all over the...

The Bicycle Generator That Pays For Itself (in as little as 21 months without even using it very much)

When I say the UpCycle Eco-Charger is the only bicycle generator that pays for itself, I am completely aware it sounds like an exaggeration. I also know it’s true. The UpCycle Eco-Charger is by far the most powerful and efficient bicycle generator ever made. It’s also the most stable, most reliable, and most likely to be used consistently because its 30 pound flywheel creates a smooth, realistic feeling ride. But that’s not why it will pay for itself in as little as 21 months, much more quickly than solar panels on your house (which I wholeheartedly endorse getting). No human could ever generate enough electricity on a bike or any other machine to make up for the cost of the generator, let alone all the other components, R&D, and effort required to put it all together. This excellent and well-researched article pretty much makes it clear – the physics just don’t exist for it to happen.  No wonder we rely on coal, hydro, nuclear, etc.  It takes massive amounts of energy to power our way of life in the Western World. So how in the world is it possible that the UpCycle Eco-Charger could pay for itself? Two big reasons: Important note: It’s not because you will generate $30 in electricity a month, or even a year. First, you’ll save $30 a month on “indoor training” tires if you’re riding a traditional bike trainer or less efficient pedal generator with any type of consistency.  $30X21 months = $630 – you’re halfway there.  Will Fetters, an UpCycle Eco-Charger user and amateur competitive cyclist told me this.  It makes sense – rubber tires rubbing against...

Using the Ensupra Energy Monitor to track your workout stats

I’ve been waiting a long time for something that is better than the Kill A Watt for tracking energy generation with our grid tied electricity generating exercise equipment, and here it finally is! (Click on the picture to buy it on Amazon and help me get a tiny kickback!) The Ensupra energy monitor tracks time (even if you pause your workout), current watts being generated, and accumulated watt hours.  So, if I workout for a half hour, I’m going to know how many watt hours I generated!  This is a major upgrade over the Kill-a-watt, which would only show watt hours generated to the nearest 100. Here’s a quick 3 minute video of how it works with The UpCycle Eco-Charger Bicycle...

An unexpected achievement

UPDATE: Here’s the excerpt from the book with our story Wow!  What a cool honor! I just wanted to thank you for supporting The Green Microgym.  Whether you have ever purchased anything from us or not, you have helped keep us going all these years.   It hasn’t always been an easy ride, and it’s just a book, but it’s gratifying to be recognized for the hard work put in by everyone associated with The Green Microgym.   Great Work, by David Sturt, includes my story.  It’s pretty amazing to know that people like Larry King and Steven Covey might have at least skimmed through the part about The Green Microgym (they wrote brief reviews of the book).   Check out the book – it might inspire you: ALSO!   I’m in need of your ideas and advice.  As you probably know, I’m now mostly out of the day-to-day operations of The Green Microgym, and looking to broaden the scope of The Green Microgym with the limited time I have available as a stay-at-home dad.   If you can think of anything, please let me know.  My main goals this year are to get the UpCycle Eco-Charger in as many places as possible (not gyms – more like homes and businesses), and to work to further establish myself as an expert in the field of Eco-Fitness.   Again, thanks so much for your support all these years.   Adam...

DIY Off the Grid with the UpCycle Eco-Charger

UPDATE: Here’s a video that shows our off-grid system in action WITHOUT the $170 ultracapacitor.  I think the ultracapacitor would make it a bit easier and smoother, but isn’t completely necessary. You would think that charging up batteries with the UpCycle Eco-Charger would be the best way to be off grid.  Turns out there’s a better, much more efficient and reliable way. For 99% of us, we have power available to us via the grid for 99% of the time. However, it’s good to be prepared for power outages, living in remote locations, etc. It’s also much greener, because batteries aren’t all that green, and in this scenario, won’t last long either. Keegan from Time’s Up, a NYC based non-profit, showed me a page on their site where they have used an ultracapacitor to replace the battery.  In essence, the ultracapacitor regulates the voltage so you can hook up a 12 volt auto inverter and run your phone, computer, etc. off that. The whole DIY package costs about $200 I asked Keegan if this was something worth doing and here’s his response: “Yep, works great. What you do is, power the ultracap above 12v, then turn on the inverter, then as you plug things in, you’ll see you need to pedal faster to keep the ultracap above 12v. DO NOT GO OVER 15v, or the inverter craps out, then you have to wait for the ultracap to discharge, and it takes it a while to do so since the inverter will not be drawing any load in the meantime. This is what I mean when I say it is...