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Pedal Powered Generators courtesy of Magnificent Revolution – Review

With their pedal-powered cinemas, sound systems, gigs and even food blenders, Magnificent Revolution's next bike generator workshop could well be a date to keep free in your 2010 diary...

Written by Liam Devany

Bike-powered blender.  All images: Magnificent Revolution, prescription edited by Zofia Walczak

Magnificent Revolution is an not-for-profit London-based education collective who put together regular workshops on energy use and generation.   One of their regular workshops is the Bike Generator workshop, adiposity and I went along to the last one.  The course was held at Hackney City Farm and I’m pleased to say it was a full turn out.  It started on time and everyone had to introduce themselves to their neighbour and explain why they were there and what their background was. The person you told your story to would then give a summary of oneself and you did the same for them – which is a good icebreaker technique with a new group that I think helps them to bond well from the beginning of a course.


Unbelievably the straw bale room where the course was being held was actually warm for the very first time out of any of the courses I had ever attended there in the past. There seems to have been considerable work done to the building to improve its insulation qualities and most of the walls have now been fully rendered. Rather than using the traditional fire to try and heat the room up I noticed there was an electric heater already switched on before the course had begun. This created an ambient temperature that was pleasant to sit in throughout the morning.


Bike-powered Sound System

The instructor level was very well provisioned for as well with no less than three instructors on hand. This was a very good move because it meant when it came to the practical component of the course – which was the whole afternoon – there was an instructor for each of the three groups that we were split into.


Bike-powered cinema

Barbora was the lead instructor and she explained all the theoretical aspect of electricity generation very clearly. Occasionally the other female instructor would chip in with more in-depth technical notes whilst the male instructor was more on hand to make sure all the technical equipment was working correctly.


Bike-powered gigs

The morning was dedicated to theory, but the afternoon was the part everyone was really on the course for – to rig up some projects utilising bike power. The three projects were well thought out and covered the three most typical applications people might use bike power for. The simplest was rigging a bike up to charge a battery; the second one ran a bike generator through a capacitor that ran a light then a laptop playing music. The third used the latest technology to run an LED projector.

All the equipment was on hand and it worked and I was amazed that they got all three groups to construct all three projects – a testament to their organisational powers and good timekeeping. I’m pleased to say that all three groups got each project to work – which was a 100% success rate. It is this sense of achievement that has people leave the course with a smile on their faces! All in all a very enjoyable day, it is clear that the instructors are very experienced at doing this sort of training and work together well as a team as they do not tread on each others toes. It also meant that everyone of the students always felt there was someone on hand to ask questions if they had got confused over something.

Full marks too for providing a good set of notes and URLs of suppliers, as for a subject as technical as this it is necessary that you can start researching on the web whilst the subject is fresh in your mind. Probably the most experienced trainers I have encountered on any of the workshops I have attended in the last year.


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