People riding bikes for exercise, recreation or commuting don’t need to waste their energy any longer. Oh, they can still ride, but now they can recoup some of the power they generate on their ride and use the juice to charge up their mobile devices. A new Kickstarter project for the Siva Cycle Atom is the secret.
The Atom is made of two parts: a small generator with electronic power regulation and a removable battery pack with a USB port. Most bicycles with a quick-release rear wheel can use the Atom, which sits between the rear tire and bike frame. A USB cable can be run from the Atom to a charge a mobile device while riding, even as the battery pack recharges. Here’s how it works:
Taking the Atom’s battery pack with you when leaving your bike is a snap; just remove it when you lock up your bike. I like the fact that the battery pack pulls “double duty”: You can recharge it through a conventional outlet as well. With a 1300 mAh battery capacity, a fully-charged Atom should recharge an iPhone to about 70 percent full. Handsets with larger batteries — say the new Galaxy S 4, for example — would only get about 40 to 50 percent of a recharge with the Atom.
The project is hoping to raise $85,000 by May 23 and it’s well on its way already: At time of writing, over $55,000 were pledged. The first 300 early-birds already committed a discounted $85 for the Atom, so if you want in now, you’ll have to fork over $95. The project founders expect to sell the Atom for $105, so you can still get a discount now. Delivery estimates for the Atom are November.
Are there cheaper ways to recharge your devices? Of course there are. But this product is perfect for heavy bike commuters. And when I take weekend rides, I often use my phone to track the ride via GPS so I can get speed, elevation and other data. The apps and radios to make that happen aren’t kind to my phone batteries, so the Atom would be a great companion for those activities too.
This post was updated at 6:11am, April 26, to accurately reflect the product name.