Delayed at the station? Get pedalling to charge your phone

Around 20 cities in France are offering a novel way to charge your phone or laptop – a free stationary bike where you can sit at a table and pedal to create the charge.

The idea can be found at several airports, train stations and entrance halls including in Dunkirk, Lille, Amiens, Le Havre, Paris, Rennes, Orléans, Nancy, Strasbourg, Belfort, Nantes, Poitiers, Limoges, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Tarbes, Avignon, and Marseille.

The table and bike was created by WeWatt-duo Patricia Ceysens and Katarina Verhaegen and aims to motivate people to adopt a more healthy and active lifestyle. Each model is custom-built using recycled materials and produced in workshops employing disabled people in Belgium.

“We wanted to create a sustainable product that does something good for everyone – the local producers, the environment, and the customers that are encouraged to do more sport,” explains Patricia Ceysens, a former Flemish Government Minister and founder of the WeBike.

Customers sit on the exercise bike, plug their appliance into the electrical outlet on the desk and pedal at a constant rate to produce power. Electricity is then harvested using a USB cable or charging cable.

“Pedalling faster does not mean your device charges quicker. The charging process takes the same time as it would with an electrical wall socket. However, one should try to keep a consistent rhythm to allow a steady flow of electricity.”

The optimal speed for recharging is indicated by a light meter. During the ride, electro-cyclists can enjoy free on-bike Wi-Fi to distract themselves during the workout.

WeBikes come in three different versions to suit a range of environments. The ‘kiosk’ is well-suited for public spaces, whereas the more elegant appearance of the ‘hub’ works well in offices. Both systems can be arranged into a circular or a linear set-up to seat multiple people at once. Finally, the ‘outdoor’ WeBike offers a cycle-and-relax arrangement for two people where one person cycles and the other watches.  

So, the next time your train gets delayed, why not go for a quick cycle to boast your phone charge?

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