Staying lean and green at a pedal-powered gym

Green Revolutions alternative energy generating bikesI’ve been on a biking kick for a while, ever since i signed up for my first triathlon a few years ago. Now that I’m getting married next Spring, it’s even more incentive to stay fit and keep exercising.

This winter, though, was brutal – especially for an outdoor athlete. To take the place of outdoor biking, I began taking Spinning classes at various locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, where I live and work. (As a freelance writer, I got to cover them for Time Out New York, as well!)

One of the coolest classes I’ve taken so far is at the New York Sports Club in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood. The gym is part of a pilot program that uses technology called Green Revolution, which turns Spinner bikes into power generators.

As you pedal, you can see how many watts you’re generating. Crank up the resistance, and your wattage shoots up, too. Not only is it a cool way to produce green electricity, but it’s also really great incentive to try to work harder each class to beat your previous numbers.

The electricity generated goes back into the gym’s power grid; Green Revolution says that over the course of a month, this one room of Spinner bikes generates about 300 kilowatts – enough to light a typical home for half a year. (Here’s a video of some local news coverage from last year.)

We’ve talked about electricity-generating gym equipment here before, as a green trend that’s poised to go viral – and it seems that’s exactly what Green Revolution is doing. The technology is currently in about 80 fitness clubs around the country. You can find out more, or sign up to be alerted when it becomes available near you, at

[Photo: Green Revolution]

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About Amanda MacMillan

Amanda MacMillan is a health and environmental writer whose work has appeared in Prevention, Health, Whole Living, and National Geographic's The Green Guide. She lives in Brooklyn and is currently chronicling the process of planning her wedding while making sustainable, healthy, and budget-friendly choices on her blog, Lean Green Bride.

  • Jeffrey D.


    Twenty bikes at a gym over one month CANNOT power a house for 6 months. The actual number is closer to 15 DAYS.

    Twenty bikes at a gym could potentially generate 300 kilowatt-hours of energy over the course of a month. I use about 600 kilowatt-hours of energy in my house each month, so it would only be enough to power my house for 15 DAYS.

    One human can generate about 1/10th of a kilowatt of power or each hour they can generate 1/10th of a kilowatt-hour of energy. Twenty humans, five hours a day, for 30 days can generate about 1/10 kilowatt/person x 20 people x 5 hours/day x 30 days/month = 300 kilowatt-hours. This is enough to power
    a house about 15 DAYS.

    • Nanash

      WOW - negative much? How about kudos to a gym that is at least attempting to do something. Just think if every gym could implement it…or better yet Use this technology to help keep housing costs down for elderly and keeping them active….or in schools for a gym class… community centers that have pools and fitness centers… ALL of that would help lower energy bills for communities! 

      Be an OPTIMIST! 

      • Jeffrey Davis

        Optimism, FTW!

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  • Alistair Pipper

    Awesome. Some exercise equipment have tvs attached. It’d be amusing if the power generated from pedaling could power those tvs. Then you’d be motivated to pedal because you’d want to see the rest of the show. Maybe you could make tandem bikes too so couples or friends can work together to keep the show going.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      Ha. that’s an awesome idea Alistair!

  • Kettlebell Workout

    This type of
    gym is eco-friendly. Through using with these stationary bikes, they could
    generate electricity into it. This concept is very helpful and one way of
    generating energy in a natural way.

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