The One about the Pedal Power!

Building the bicycle generator, dreaming about the bicycle cinema

I really wanted to build the bicycle generator. Imagine using the human power to produce the electricity while pedalling. It is nothing new but it fascinates me! I decided I want to know how is it to build the bicycle cinema, ride to less accessible places and screen independent or student movies somewhere in nowhere. Bring the unknown to the unknown places. I like the philosophy of screening the films using the pedal power and so that without making an effort there is no satisfaction and also that all participants are supposed to contribute because only one person is unable to pedal the whole length of the movie.

However, once I have started to learn about the pedal power, the new possibilities of using my bicycle suddenly opened in the horizon. Finally, the number of possibilities brings the independence. As a pinhole photographer, I am going to teach pinhole photography workshops on the tour and install the solargraph cameras along the coast of the North Sea. On the way back I want to use the pedal power to scan the final pictures into the digital form.

The pedal cinema comes step by step, the first trial is scheduled on Sunday the 19th of June in Limehouse, London, in my former studio.

Thank you, everybody!

Before using the pedal power I had to learn how to build the bicycle generator. Searching online and talking with people (for example from London Bike Kitchen or with Slowly Tony, the electrician repairing the engine on our boat), I got to know that there have been already few groups in London generating the power for screening or playing the music. I especially talk about Magnificent Revolution and Rinky Dink.

The Magnificent Revolution has the section on their website devoted to building the bicycle generator and explaining how the electricity works. I learned a huge amount about generating power from them! Let´s say that before launching the project my knowledge about the electricity did not go so far, basically, I knew only that we should not put our fingers into the sockets! Nowadays, I know some basics.

If you are interested in learning check their website: Another useful website is the American one where you can watch plenty of videos how to connect everything together.

I do not want to explain all those steps how to make the bike generator because it gets complicated and I am not qualified to teach about those things.

However, I would like to send many thanks to people who helped me with little or larger issues which I had during the realization of the project. They are Mohammed from Alabhai Motors in Limehouse who taught me that the locking nuts are unscrewed a different direction than the normal nuts (what a little help which makes you move further ahead), also they are the guys from the hardware shop Tower DIY Ltd. on the Commercial Road who were crossing fingers for me and helped me to realized how to attach the skate wheel on the shaft of the motor using a grab screw. For getting support in purchasing the scooter permanent magnet motor MY1016 chain drive 250W 24V, I am grateful to the company Fireworks and scooters direct. The video shows the first trial of spinning the rear wheel of my bike against the skate wheel attached to the motor.

Another support came from Andrew from RS components where I got the blocking diode 20A 45V and the DC to DC converter. Although Andrew was more sceptical about me building the bike generator and worried me that playing with an electricity causes that my heart will stop beating. That´s why I am wearing the rubber gloves – to feel safer when pedalling the first time, haha. Finally, before finishing the project, I wrote on facebook page of London Boaters and ask for a help. I got an answer from one boater Tom who assisted me online with the curious questions. Many thanks to him as well as to my friends from Fig Row Studio and my boyfriend for help with pedalling! Finally, once you begin to thank namely, you start to think you forget somebody, so let´s thank to everybody for huge support!

It is fun!

I do not know how far I can get with a generating the power while pedalling, neither how far I can cycle with carrying everything inside the bike trailer! There are thousands of options. The important is that I have learnt again something new and the conclusion is that when we believe in our dreams and wishes, there is always a bunch of people willing to help us to make them happen!

PS: I am not clever as a radio, but I can power one in the middle of nowhere and play you a wish song!

The One about repairing my Foxie bike for the big Journey

Build your own bike with London Bike Kitchen

Finally, I decided that I will not spend the next summer working in London. I love cycling so a decision about what I am going to do was easy. Moreover, as a pinhole photographer connecting my pinhole project and cycling does not seem to be unreal.

At the second, I had to decide whether I buy a new bicycle or repair my old one. Everybody who knows my bike was convincing me to get rid of him and buy the “proper” one. Foxie (that´s his name) is an old mountain bike which I got from my friend Honza when I moved to London. I remember exactly how I was going to Acton to pick him up and try to ride. It was a shitty bike but I was really happy about him!

That day I saw my first fox in London. People told me that foxes are making strange, sharp, howling noises when they are making love. Driving back home my bike howl like a fox when breaking. It might sound a bit pervert but I love my Foxie bicycle. Later on, I have discovered he has a logo of the fox in the front of the frame. A decision that I am going to prepare my old bike for the journey was completed too.



One of the places which offer such repairs is London Bike Kitchen. Here I would like to say a big thank you to guys from LBK who are running their bike workshops in Hoxton (28 Whitmore Road, N1 5QA) teaching people how to fix their own bicycles including me. I got to know about them from Look mum no hands, the London´s café which also runs the workshops in repairing the bikes. In other words – Bikers to Bikers! Tiny space in London Bike Kitchen offers the space where all bike lovers can come, borrow the tools, ask for a help, participate in the workshops and repair his/her own bicycle instead of giving it for a repair to somebody else. Since my first visit, we have done a lot of work together and I have learnt how to be more confident about understanding my bike´s needs.

Seb teaches the whole day classes BYOB (Build your own bike) which means that you dismantle the whole bike to its frame and put everything back or replace the old parts so you learn how is your friend built and how everything works.

I have decided to strip the old paint so Foxie does not only runs well but gets a new coat too. I did not have too much time and wanted to paint him black afterwards. The product I bought did not work well so at the end I ended up stripping the old paint from the frame with scissors in front of my studio doors. It was Friday late afternoon the 13th of May.

Siggy – that time he was a random guy from Cable street studios – was passing by and could not resist asking me when seeing me heavily focused on stripping the bike with bloody scissors – “What the hell are you doing?”. Good point, Siggy. I have no idea what I was trying to achieve, I was just making the thing done on time. He advised me to not paint my bicycle in the rush and I listened to him. I told him about my bike tour and he listened to me.

I think Foxie looks great and he is ready to go.

What about myself?! Well, neboy!