Bicycle Pedal Power with Ed Begley, Jr.

Learn how to generate power with a bicycle, just like actor and environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. does.

| January/February 2007

You might have noticed the new Sunday evening program on HGTV, titled Living with Ed. The show stars Ed Begley, Jr., actor and passionate environmentalist, whose home in Studio City, Calif. is a model of renewable energy production, recycling and sustainable living.

Begley explained how he produces energy with a bicycle each morning to make his breakfast toast. Just 10 minutes of pedaling generates enough power, stored in the batteries for his solar power system, to run the toaster.

To learn more about how to use a bicycle to make your own home power, read Cycle Power Part I: How to Build a Working Stationary Bicycle, Cycle Power Part II: How to Use a Stationary Bicycle to Generate Electricity or Cycle Power Part III: How to Use a Stationary Bicycle to Power Your Workshop from the Mother Earth News archive.

Begley is certainly not the only person who’s using pedal power in their homes. Mother Earth News contributor John Gulland, for example, has posted an excellent Web page about the pedal-powered generator he built. Gulland’s article about pedal power is scheduled for late 2007 in Mother Earth News.

If you want to learn more about all kinds of ways to slash your energy bills, we highly recommend The Home Energy Diet by Paul Scheckel.

2/28/2014 5:50:16 PM

We bought two years ago and still use the Pedal-A-Watt Bicycle Generator. I just checked and their website is still live at We got the package where you can store power and it has outlets on it to plug in your appliances. We love it.

kevin frye
1/12/2012 8:58:23 PM

I looked all over for a good pedal generator. Presto Wind makes a very nice hand crank and bike pedal unit.

8/13/2010 7:37:00 AM

This concept is being implemented in a City Jail here in the Philippines where prisoners are asked to use a stationary bike to charge a car battery that powers their lights at night. The full article is shown here and it has photos of the stationary bike that they are using. They are only using an outdoor stationary bike, in the long run it wouldn't last. They should purchase a real stationary bike, a recumbent one (photos of different types of stationary bikes can be found here for those who doesn't know the difference).

p l
2/9/2010 5:18:23 PM

Does anyone have th.e name or something of the can opener that makes storage containers? I would like to get one. Thanks.

cary lundgren
3/8/2007 12:00:00 AM

Here is what I think would be a great idea to go along with some of those who are producing 12vdc power! Having more sticks in the fire than I can capitalize on I would like to see someone else make use of this idea. If I am correct one could use a 12 volt trolling motor to generate power along with pedaling. Finding a suitable air type prop to replace the original one intended for water. It would be easy to tinker with because trolling motors have real nice mounting brackets, so you could position it in different spots to find out the location of your best wind. I am unsure of the type magnets used in them, but with a little electronics help it could be fashioned to work either way! The amount of windspeed might not be too far off, but some motors have different speeds! A tail fin could also be attached to swivel the prop into the wind If this can be helpful to someone great, its only an idea the rest is up to you! It would be nice to find out it helps!ThanksCary
3/8/2007 12:00:00 AM

My hubby made a new word "Begley-ist" meaning power tight wad. . . to which he has been inspired by Ed to accomplish. He's working on welding a 4 wheel peddle-bike (he saw one on, planting no mow grass for the lawn (from, changed all the light bulbs and is converting tvs to lcds. He bought a can opener that turns cans into storage containers. We put up a wind generator 3 years ago and are working on the greywater filtration system later this spring. . . and you got sticks in the fire?

greg glass
1/22/2007 12:00:00 AM

Ed Begley's Jr. uses a bicycle generator made by Currie Technologies from their iZip line. His bicycle is an iZip Electric Hybrid and the generator creates 12v DC that then goes into his inverter, creating AC that is stored in his battery array. For more info, check out

greg glass
1/22/2007 12:00:00 AM

Ed Begley uses a bike / bike generator system made by Currie Technologies. The bike is an iZip hybrid electric, paired with an iZip stationary power generator. The generator produces 12V DC which then goes into Ed's inverter, creating AC that is stored in his solar battery array. When he demonstrates the system (like at this weekend's Sundance Film Festival Project Greenhouse event), he simply generates 12V DC and helps people charge their cell phones by riding the bike! For more info, go to
1/12/2007 12:00:00 AM

What an Inspiration! I can't wait to see what's next!. . and how the rain collection system works to water that in-need indeed garden. I'm sure he won't get into straw-bale building but all the stuff to get "America Going Green" could use- Self-watering garden pots, NoMow Grass, a few nice laying hens in the yard or how about a solar power whole house attic fan instead of ac?Oh - and my hubby wants an EV ASAP!Thanks ED!

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