The Art of Human Power

school playground disco

Eleanor Palmer Primary School, London

We had the pleasure of working with Murray from prop designers Andy Knight on a one of a kind playground interactive disco.

This permanent installation is completely powered by two of our X-Bike generators and one hand-crank. All of the generator equipment was fabricated using stainless steel. We collaborated with Andy Knight Limited, an amazing set designer who designed and built the structure. There is a console inside that allows kids to choose their own music while playing a 9-piece touch sensitive MIDI drum machine. At the front of the structure there are two LED strips, one to demonstrate real-time watts and the other acts as an energy bar to ensure they know how much power is in the system! Oh and if they pedal hard enough, the disco ball rotates!


the rose

Lumiere, London

We had the pleasure of collaborating with the artist Mick Stephenson on The Rose at Lumiere London.

Lumiere London is the biggest festival of light in London, celebrating the capital's spectacular and iconic architecture. But for many people access to light is a luxury.

Mick Stephenson's installation with Electric Pedals highlights how communities can be transformed by light. This life-size replica of the rose window at Durham Cathedral, made from thousands of recycled plastic bottles transformed into beautiful illuminated art. For Lumiere it was to be powered by bicycles pedalled by members of the public. The interactive installation grew and faded in response to the amount of energy generated by the audience.

Mick Stephenson explores issues of poverty, sustainability and climate change in his works. Filled with bottles designed during workshops with local school children, The Rose asks us to acknowledge the growing need for alternative technologies to support our everyday lives.



All over the world!

Without doubt, the bicycle powered cinema has been at the heart of what we do. Over the years, we've developed our own system that enables a quick setup of a system that is super efficient and super safe! It's one event that has taken Electric Pedals to all corners of the world! 

Energy Space

Croydon, London

We really enjoyed working with Binom Architects on part of an ambitious and innovative design project for the new 2,000 sqm London office spaces for a leading green energy supplier, Green Network. The concept was to create a space where people can become aware of their bodies through active engagement with their surroundings and where energy production through resistance would in turn produce light for beautiful LED cloud sculptures.



COP22 Climate Change Conference, Marrakech

We were very proud to be representing the UK at the #COP22 World Climate Change meeting in Marrakech, Morocco. 18,600 people attended over 12 days and pedalled 96 electricity generating bicycles. This energy was used to power a 8 metre LED sphere, a lighting rig and a sound system to communicate a powerful message about climate change:

'If we work together we can have a positive impact on the environment we live in.'

Bicycle Zoetropes

Tate Modern, London

As part of the Tate Modern's festival Undercurrent: Young People's Programme, we worked with artist Jacqueline Passmore to develop bicycle powered Zoetropes and projections in The Tanks.

Undercurrent was a series of events, installations and interventions by audio, visual, digital and performance artists. Over eleven days Undercurrent used the experimental space of The Tanks to explore the relationship and influences of subcultures upon dominant or mainstream culture.

At the core was the exploration of the ‘underground’ and the under-represented. We contributed to this discussion by inviting the public to pedal to project their own views onto the walls of the Tanks, allowing young people to express their ideas and concerns through an immediate, empirical exchange.


Backpack Cinema

Various location along Lake Malawi, Malawi

In 2013 Electric Pedals developed a pedal-powered cinema backpack kit, which in collaboration with UK charity Purple Field Productions (PFP) and their partner Temwa, was used to show educational films in remote areas of Malawi. 

PFP makes educational and humanitarian films for, and with, people across the world in their local languages. However, screening these films can be problematic in remote areas which have no electricity or even the fuel to power a generator. Electric Pedals therefore pioneered an innovative solution.

Backpack Cinema uses human energy to generate the electricity needed to project a film. The entire kit, including the projector, fits into a rucksack and can easily be carried across rivers and through dense undergrowth to be set up on site in minutes. Through constant but relaxed pedalling a full length film can be projected for the whole community to enjoy. 

PFP showed the film ULIMI MCHUMA CHATHU (Farming Our Wealth), an agricultural film made with and for Malawian farmers which demonstrated new techniques for combating the effects of increasing droughts brought about by climate change. It featured local farmers demonstrating effective ways of improving productivity and sustainability, thereby improving the quality of life in the poorest rural communities.

Backpack Cinema brings the outside world to some of the most far-removed places, igniting ideas and stirring debate through the luxury of film. 

Electric Pedals now has 16 Backpack Cinemas around the world.


First TransPennine Express

Manchester Rail Station

In May 2014 we worked with First TransPennine Express Trains and Manc Frank to support the launching of a new fleet of electric trains between Manchester and Scotland.

Electric Pedals created a customer engagement installation that used bicycle power to illuminate the sign, 'ignite the spark that signals change', activating the beginning of this new fleet. Gold medal cyclist Jason Kenny was on hand to power the installation and support the event as it moved from Manchester Piccadilly Railway Station, through Leeds, Sheffield and finally Liverpool. This project was so successful that we will continue working with First TransPennine Express at further stations.

This was another successful collaboration with the amazing Vivid Design Works.


At The End of Everything Else

Unicorn Theatre, London

At the End of Everything Else, a captivating childrens' theatre performance written and directed by award-winning Mark Arends, was performed with puppetry, animation, sound and only the performers' collective energy to generate all the power needed for the show. We engineered the bicycle generators for the production at the Unicorn Theatre, collaborating with animator John Horabin and the talented cast to create a unique theatre experience, which received rave reviews across the UK.

"Engineer Colin Tonks and Electric Pedals bring new meaning to the term physical theatre by having an on-stage team pedalling static bikes generating the electricity to power this production for over-eights. A bright idea, indeed, to spark enthusiasm in an audience..." Ronnie Haydon, The Stage


Light Installations

Various Locations, Europe

From festivals to museums, Electric Pedals has experimented with bold light installations to bring people together through creating energy, and spark public interest in innovative ideas.

Electric Pedals has previously worked at the Big Chill Festival and in Einstein's Garden at Greenman Festival, Lumiere in London and Untold Festival in Romania many other festivals bringing interactive lighting to festival audiences.



Schaubühne Theatre, Berlin

Atmen (or 'Lungs' in English) was directed by Katie Mitchell OBE, at the Schaubühne International Theatre, Berlin.  Concerned with population growth and climate change, Atmen looked at how these factors make it difficult when you're young and thinking about the potential carbon footprint of your baby. 

The central concept of Mitchell’s production was that the actors, and stage crew, were on bicycles in the shallow concrete cyclorama, generating the power for the entire show by pedalling throughout.  

As journalist Summer Banks states, 'this principle of human-generated energy is more than just flimsy greenwashing, it shapes everything about the production, from the lighting to the blocking to the sound design.' 

Electric Pedals' engineering therefore became a fundamental part of this cutting-edge, eco-theatre experience.


Tree of Light

Cultural Olympiad, Oxford and Henley

The London Cultural Olympiad was designed to inspire creativity and bring communities together alongside the Olympics. The 'Tree of Light' was commissioned as one of Legacy Trust UK's Community Celebrations; a series of large-scale outdoor theatre performances to contribute towards the Olympiad.

This project brought together 1,200 performers and a choir of 450 around a gigantic industrial 50ft structure. The 'Tree of Light' was designed by a creative team, working under the artistic direction of Henley Festival's Stewart Collins, including set designers Block9, composer Orlando Gough, performance director/choreographer Charlie Morrissey and Electric Pedals. Electric Pedals powered the Tree's LED lights with 28 bicycle and rowing generators from within the structure. 

The 'Tree of Light' was the culmination of a wider project exploring the science and art of trees. The purpose of the project was to use performance arts to highlight mankind's relationship with the natural world in our technical age. This piece triumphed as a grand community celebration and a very moving human spectacle highlighting the rich and fragile relationship between people and their environment.


backpack cinema

Various Schools, Kisoro, Uganda

The Great Apes Film Initiative was struggling in its efforts to bring conservation education to communities located on the edge of the Mgahinga National Park, Uganda. It was a victim of its own success, all too often turning people away from screenings due to overcrowding, with some children having to walk more than 20 miles back to their homes without seeing a single image of the mountain gorillas that live unseen alongside them. What was needed was an affordable, sustainable and eco-friendly way of bringing film to even the smallest of villages. The solution: The Pedal Powered Cinema Project.

With just two children's mountain bikes generating the energy for the screening, the cinema could be set up and dismantled by a team of two in a matter of minutes. Moreover, it was lightweight enough to be carried up to hilltop villages, yet sufficiently robust to withstand the bumps and potholes of a typical road in rural Uganda. Its carbon footprint and running costs are minimal.

Electric Pedals is constantly at the forefront of bicycle-powered innovation, but at it's core remains community. Consequently, since this project was launched, around 150,000 children and adults have been able to attend a screening, have fun and enjoy learning. 


Christmas Trees

Southbank Centre, London

As part of London Southbank Centre's Winter Festival 2013-14, Electric Pedals and Vivid Design Works were commissioned to create bicycle-powered Christmas trees on Riverside Terrace. The idea was to use human energy to light up the Christmas lights and turn the fans of the huge snow globe. In addition, hand cranks were positioned around the trees and could be used to activate speakers reciting Christmas poems.

Electric Pedals contributed to a delightful, festive spirit on the Southbank. 


School Workshops

Various Schools, UK

One of the most satisfying events we do are our school workshops. Developed to communicate science in a fun and interactive way and incorporating elements of the current school science curriculum. Working with children; you can't beat the incredible enthusiasm to learn and our energy workshops give kids an incredibly interactive method to understand energy, electronics and circuits. 


Human Power Station

A warehouse, Bedford

'So how many cyclists does it take to make a cup of tea? About 100, if you run your home on pedal power.' Will Hodgkinson, The Guardian.

A BBC 'Bang Goes The Theory' special event showed how much electricity we use and abuse without even thinking about it. This huge experiment attempted to power a house for an entire day solely through human pedal power, whilst the unsuspecting family inside went about their normal routine.

Hanging on the wall in front of the 100 cyclist volunteers was a screen displaying a continual live feed from the house, which meant that the knackered cyclists gasped with horror and desperately called for more people to jump on the bikes each time a family member approached a household appliance.

'This is where the fun comes in: it's basically like an episode of Big Brother with a sternly philanthropic sense of purpose and a curious emphasis on household appliances.' Charlie Brooker, The Guardian.


Radio Shed

Horniman Primary School, London

Julia Clark, the Head Teacher of Horniman Primary School  had the brilliant idea of building a bicycle-powered radio station in the school playground. A few months after winning a prize fund in The Guardian 'Schools We'd Like' competition, Julia's dream came true and the Horniman Primary School Bicycle Power Radio Station was launched!

This is an almost real-time system; there are no batteries. The pupils have to work together to provide a constant supply of energy for the DJ by pedalling the bicycles or turning the hand crank inside the shed. There is a small storage unit in the shape of an ultra capacitor inside the shed which holds the energy before it is turned into mains power. The teachers plan to use the equipment for science classes and for engaging the children about renewable energy. 

The project was a collaboration between artist Randy Klein, Horniman Primary School Students, Parents and Electric Pedals.


Talisker Atlantic Challenge

Tower Bridge, London

To celebrate the launch of the Talisker Atlantic Challenge in 2013, Electric Pedals was commissioned by Story PR to convert rowing machines for London's first ever rowing machine powered cinema. The electricity generated powered the film 'Through Hell & High Water', following James Cracknell and Ben Fogle as they attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat.

British rowing champion, double Olympic gold medalist and adventurer James Cracknell took part himself and rowed our electricity generating rowing machines to mark the beginning of the Talisker Atlantic Challenge. A race of 2,549 nautical miles (2,933 regular miles), it is largely considered to be one of the toughest challenges in the world.

We also broke the Guinness World Record for the most energy generated by rowing in one hour, a staggering 1kilo-watt hour.


School Presentations

Sevenoaks School, Kent

The success of the Sevenoaks School Science Week has been dramatic over the years, with 5,000 local students visiting in 2011, over 10,000 in 2012 and in excess of 12,000 for 2013.

So we were really pleased to get involved a few years ago, by supporting a Bicycle Powered Skype session with the school's 'twin' in the Maldives. During the session the Maldives' school was able to communicate first-hand the dramatic effect of climate change on their island. 


WWF Earth Hour

Royal Albert Hall, London

From London to Sydney, Toronto and Singapore, people all across the world switch off their lights once a year for WWF’s Earth Hour to show their support for tackling climate change and protecting the natural world. It’s a reminder to us all that we only have one planet Earth and we need to look after it.

In 2011, Electric Pedals took part by installing bicycle generators to power high spec projectors, which beamed a message about endangered species onto the side of the Royal Albert Hall. Television presenter Kirsty Gallacher led the WWF-UK team of 60 cyclists in one of the largest human-powered projections ever attempted in the UK.


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Various Locations, UK and beyond!

The festival atmosphere is one of Electric Pedals' natural habitats. With light installations, pedal phone chargers, childrens' energy activities and large bicycle-powered music and cinema events, Electric Pedals is suitably designed to the alternative and experimental vibe of UK festivals.

Electric Pedals has previously worked at the Big Chill Festival,  Einstein's Garden at Greenman Festival, Wishing Tree Field at Bestival, Shambala, Womad and  Untold in Romania. 


EON Activation

Southbank, London

We partnered with EON to create an active retreat. A place to recharge your body through action. We demonstrated energy transfer by connecting bikes to light sources and watt counters and visually related this to the idea of a smart meter; weaving in the idea of being able to see how much energy is being generated and how much is being used to power the light display. The environment had a gym feel, styled with bold messaging and dynamic colours.

The Recharge Retreat is a collection of cabin structures constructed to represent the recharge theme (mind, body, soul) and connected to a central EON structure that acts as the power source and brand activation hub.


The handlebards

Various venues, UK

Charmingly Chaotic bicycle-powered Shakespeare!

One night in the beautiful Riverhill Himalayan Gardens the The HandleBards performed 'A Mid Summer Night's Dream'. The HandleBards are a troupe of travelling actor who pedalled from London to West Angus, Scotland, carrying with them all the necessary set, props and costumes needed to perform two of Shakespeare's greatest plays: 'A Mid Summer Night's Dream' and 'Hamlet'.

We've been very fortunate to be involved in the design and build of a bit their tour set - a bicycle power 'washing line' (for want of a better description!) that effectively moves their set onto the stage using the power of pedalling!