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Bicycles and Microwaves

  1. Aug 1, 2013 #1
    My friends and I have thought about this for a few years now and still can't come to a conclusion.

    If an electronic device was placed on a push bike and could be powered by it (for arguments sake we came up with a microwave) and was turned on while in motion, would the bike become harder to pedal as some, if not most, of the energy would be used to power the bike?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm assuming you're going to generate the electricity by turning the shaft of an alternator or generator. If so, the answer is yes.

    How much harder to push? That depends on how much power is needed to run the electrical equipment; but one way or another that power is coming from you pushing the bike.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2013
  4. Aug 15, 2013 #3
    Yes of course. I have in fact experienced this. I had a pedal bike with a headlamp that was powered by a little generator attached to the wheels. Whenever I turned on the headlamp, the wheels a little harder to push. Of course it should because you can't create energy out of nothing. I discovered that if I was going very slow, I had to push much harder when I turned on the lights, but if a was going faster, I did not have to pedal as hard when turning on the lights. Powering something as big as a microwave oven is going to take more power than human legs can provide. Your bike would grind to a halt once you flipped on the microwave. But charging up an iPod is much more doable. They in fact sell accessories for this very thing:

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