This made me laugh – can you see why?
A typical bicyclist may generate 100 to 200 watts per hour on a bike. A very fit bicyclist might generate up to 300 watts per hour (and their peak output – like a sprint – can produce 500 or more watts briefly). (Good explanation here. Another way to look at this is that 1 horsepower is 746 watts. Are you as powerful as a horse?)
Consequently, for most people, 30 minutes of bicycling produces in the range of 50 to 150 watt hours (.05 to .15 kwh) (or stated another way – 100 to 300 watts per hours is 50 to 150 watts per half hour).
American homes have an average consumption of about 11,000 kwh per year or about 30 kwh per day. (The amount consumed varies greatly by where you live in the country, and depends on local climate and local sources of energy, particularly for heating and cooling.)
See the problem? Let’s say .1 kwh produced relative to 30 kwh consumed per day. 30 minutes of bicycling produces less than 1/2 percent of the electricity consumed by an average home in a day.
This type of propaganda uses the simple method of assertion, making a claim (30 minutes of bicycling could power a home for a day). Few people will fact check – few have an intuitive sense of what a “watt” means or how much power they actually consume per day.
Consequently, many people think this assertion sounds great and quickly jump “on the bandwagon” to share this item with their friends.
While the above is from Twitter, the link is to a Facebook page that has been viewed 6.2 million times, shared 89,000 times!
People who ride stationary bikes tend to listen to music or watch TV (visit a gym to see this), which means they are producing less electricity than is being used by the TV. It’s possible for a group of riders, in a gym, to collectively out produce the TV’s demand, but that’s about as good they will do. They still need to power the lights, which they would not be doing! Effectively, riding a bike in the gym is likely to be a net loss of energy versus not riding that bike.
Yet this “meme” will likely takeover and people riding bikes in gyms will be sanctimonious about their behavior, virtue signaling how wonderful they are for the planet. When in fact, they are likely increasing energy consumption 🙂