Energy Bikes, how-to

Time’s Up! was involved with the Occupy Wall Street Sustainability working group. The first task was to make the Occupy Movement in Zuccotti Park more environmentally sustainable. Time’s Up! Volunteers spearheaded a wide range of projects, including the iconic renewable alternative energy project, building 14 energy bikes to fulfill all of Occupy Wall Street’s energy needs sustainably. Working with Pedal Power NYC, Occupy Boston, MIT Pedal Power, and Brooklyn Machine Works, we designed and built the below system. Please use and adapt our designs to meet your energy needs, and send any feedback and request for information or help you have to

This page covers the technical details of the energy bikes. We have also posted the story of our Energy Bikes and an overview of all of our work at OWS.

(Note: our direct-contact wheel-to-roller design is not the most efficient for energy output. However, this design was perfect for the needs of Zuccotti Park/Liberty Square after all the outlets had been turned off. We needed to have power 24 hours per day, we could not have people pedaling 24 hours per day, so we needed to use batteries. With two bikes per unit, this system generates the perfect amount of energy to charge batteries. Any more would damage batteries. If your energy bike is going to remain stationary and you are going to use it to direct power appliances or offset the grid, you may want to use more efficient systems with belt drives or generators with bike cogs.)

The two crucial components of our system are our battery boxes and our bike stands. First, The Battery Boxes:

Here are links to all of the parts in our electrical schematic (You can also find many of these parts at your local hardware store):
Generator Diode Terminal Board Fuse holder Fuse Charge Controller Watts Up Meter Battery DC Outlet DC Port Inverter Box


On the left, you can see that we mounted the terminal, inverter, and watts up meter to the outside of the box. This is so you can easily connect and disconnect bikes from the system, plug directly into the inverter without opening the box, and read the watts up meter to keep an eye on how full the battery is and how much power you are generating.

On the right, you can see that we kept the charge controller, fuses, and most of the wiring on the inside of the box so that it was less likely to be ruined by the elements.

Second, The Bike Stands

Our Stands were built using a drill press, welder, hand tools, and automotive parts. If you do not have access to a welder, consider this no-weld model from our friends at Occupy Boston

PDF of Stand Design and Parts List Coming Shortly

On the left, you can see our motor is attached to a flange. The shaft that comes out of the motor is attached to a coupling, to which we attached a much longer shaft. This shaft passes though two bushing that hold bearings on either side of a roller that is secured to the shaft with set screws. The flange is adjustable to accommodate any wheel size with the large t-screw on the right, which passes through a threaded nut welded to the flange.

On the right, you can see we welded two threaded nuts to the top of our a-frames, into which we screwed bolts, onto which we welded two more nuts to clamp on any size wheel. The bolts easily clamp onto quick release skewers as well as bolt-on hubs, and generally hold well enough that hand-tightening will never slip off.

The Stand and the Battery Box 

You can see we taped the diode to the stand, and left plenty of extra wire so the unit can be moved free and easy.

With your help, we plan to design and build an even more efficient system to use for direct actions around New York City and beyond. The new system we are designing will cost approximately $10,000. To support this social innovation and ongoing campaign, please donate here!