On the day before I left Brisbane to fly to Rotorua for our annual MTB pilgrimage, I found myself in the city, around South Bank to meet a friend for lunch.
While walking around South Bank, I was happily surprised to see a bike powered Christmas tree. I’m a big fan of applying cycle-power to charge appliances and goods – for example when Robert Förstemann, the German Track Cycling Star powered a toaster to cook a single slice of bread – GOLD!
So I stopped to check it out and ended up chatting to the guy who was responsible for installing it.
Bike powered Christmas Tree
The tree looked very impressive standing 4.2 meters tall and apparently is the first of its kind in Australia. There are four bikes at the base of the tree and the tree is covered in over 3,500 LED lights, so that when you pedal on a bike your riding charges up lights in certain areas on the tree.
Even when I was there in the daylight there was a line of people waiting to try it. Even in broad daylight you could see the lights happily twinkling away. The owner said this was the second year the tree had been included in Brisbane’s festivities and that it had been very popular.
I thought it was a great addition to the city – not only for Christmas, but also as a promotion for cycling and for a more thoughtful approach to energy consumption over the holiday period.
Bicycle-powered Christmas lights
In the area I live, each year, there is an increasing number of houses being decorating in a ridiculous about of Christmas lights. I know many people think it looks beautiful – and it can, but I find it difficult to reconcile the massive and wasteful energy consumption involved. But, there is a way to have beautiful Christmas lights AND be environmentally responsible as well. To this end – I’m waiting for the day when people who decorate their houses in copious amounts of lights or those who want to enter a neighbourhood Christmas Lights competitions – can only so so if they produce their own green/sustainable power to do so – by solar panels, pedal-power or some other sustainable source. If you can do that – go for it! Int his way, I think the bicycle-powered Christmas Tree could be a step in the right direction.
Until then, the lone pedal powered Christmas tree in the city will hopefully serve as not only entertainment, but as a reminder to the community to enjoy a more sustainable, bicycle-friendly and fit and healthy Christmas.
For more info about the bicycle-powered Christmas tree read this ABC news report about the tree here (also includes the video link below).