Healthy Cars

Apr 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Youth Blog

I have an idea on how to reduce fossil fuels. Instead of just fossil fuels directly powering our cars, or electric cars being repowered at designated stations, the cars can be partially powered by a generator which is spun by our feet. This car will be powered by gasoline of course, but if it can also be powered by our feet pedaling, that will reduce our need to go to the gas station by thirty to forty percent, or even more.

Yes, I propose that there are pedals at the foot of the seat in the car which, when someone sits down on it, can be spun like those on a bicycle. This would spin a generator, which would produce electricity for the car. What’s more, this will not actually tire one out. People ride bicycles like this for hours on end with a smile.

How will the generators be spun by pedals back in the car as well as in the front? Should the pedals themselves be generators or should do all pedals spin a generator in the trunk of the car? Do we need an engineer’s degree to answer that or is it imaginable by any one?

The bottom line is, you should be able to use less fossil fuel and of course, get exercise. I realized this is very important as I came across an article on Yahoo, from Men’s Fitness, which said that sitting down most of the day can increase your risk of a heart attack by 54 percent, even if you vigorously exercise for a few hours. So, you think you may get up and jog for two hours, then sit down on the computer for five hours, then do stretches and more exercise for one hour, and the rest of the day is computer until you go to sleep. Your muscle is developed, but that is not enough. The article said that there were enzymes in your blood called lipoprotein which break down fat. They are high when you stand or are active but low when you sit down. If they are mostly down, then, you get heart disease. Therefore, simply moving your body or legs for most of the day is essential. Most people sit down during most of the day, and even if they try to compensate by doing vigorous exercise during the free hours, they will be twice as likely to die of heart attack.

And there are two things which take up most of our sitting time, computer and car.

As for the latter, one just sits still no matter how long or short the drive. Now, this leads to that dangerous condition in which essential chemicals drop. Therefore, if you want to reduce your risk of leaving this world clutching your chest by fifty percent, you may want something to pedal on while you sit. Hence, these car pedals are good both for the environment and for your health.

Early humans constantly stood on their two legs all day – quite naturally – doing all kinds of stuff. We were evolved to keep standing. It’s only now that we sit down in cars for long hours and, on computers, for longer still.

As for the economic and environmental side, Pedaling cars will be useful for both long and short drives. You may wanna pedal all the way to the nearest grocery store and back, while on long drives pedaling also allows you to relax and worry less about running out of fuel if you don’t find a gas station within a limited span of time.

Therefore, foot pedaling the car’s energy supply is not just another hard sacrifice to help the environment. It’s beneficial for you. Furthermore, it’s easy.

Or is it? I see many problems.

There is not enough room in the car to pedal. Even if your legs are able to spin a generator, you must be able to do it for hours, and so it must be as comfortable as possible, like on a bike. Can you do that in a car? Let me go to the car and check it out.

I saw there is no room for the legs to comfortably sprawl out, having the knees going up to the stomach. By the way, I also realized I must sit at the edge of the seat to pedal like a bike.

There is one important thing to remember. On a bike, your legs can push the pedals around for hours without getting tired. The only way you can enjoy such constant exercise is if the legs are able to move around in a complete circle, with the knees going up to the stomach. If we don’t have this room in a car, then pedaling inside a car for a long time to generate energy for it will be an ordeal. People shun ordeals.

So, how do we make room in the car and have our legs make a wide circle continually? Do we make the car bigger? Or do we re invent the car altogether? Another thing, on a bike, our feet and the pedals go all the way down to the ground. Should there be holes in the floor of the car in which our feet go down, like the Flintstone cars? That is dangerous, as there might be something on the road that may go under the car. We may have to designate special lanes on the road for “Pedaling Cars Only.” (That of course, is less problematic). So, in order to design a car in which one can pedal for hours, we need it to be much bigger and higher? That takes more gas. Will this factor be compensated by pedaling?

But wait, I don’t think we need to make the car longer. It’s just that the legs also go high up, and what prevents that is the protruding desk in front of us. We need to remove that.
Now, let’s see how we adjust the car to install the new device.

In this car, the driver can push the breaks and the accelerator with his hands, sparing the feet for pedaling to spin the generator. In fact, the passenger seats can have pedals too, to share the task of pedaling for long drives, if need be. The pedals should be foldable if the passenger does not want it because he/she wants to run on fuel only. This is easy. In the back seats, it can be folded under the front seats, and in the front passenger seat, there is a thick dash board in front of us wherein pedals can be folded if unused.

Remember, the pedal car device assumes that the person can pedal for hours without getting tired. If there is even the slightest restriction that makes it a little more difficult than biking, then it will frustrate the driver.

And as for the back seats, well, how do we have enough room to have the legs freely pedal about. We cannot remove the front seat, so should we make the car longer? Will the front chair have to be stationary at all times or can it move back and forth?

I have decided to be generous and surrender the intellectual exercise to you, letting you decide how to solve this problem. Remember, the goal is to reconcile the environmental and health benefits of generating power for the car all by yourself, of being able to do it easily while having all the old comforts of the car, culminating in the ultimate goal of having our transportation become greener, cheaper, and healthier.

Hey, by the way, the same pedaling generator concept can apply to computers, which was labeled by the Men’s Fitness article as “the most dangerous thing you do all day.” A pedaling device can be designed to power the computer while you’re at it. The same thing can apply for TV sets. I once saw a video on PBS of a kid who was watching television by pedaling on an exercise bike. The TV turned off whenever the kid stopped pedaling.

This might be especially useful for Pakistan where load shedding frustrates screen watchers multiple times of the day.

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