This stationary bike makes you pedal to watch TV

No pedaling, no TV for you! 

When it comes to exercising, sometimes finding the right motivation can be just as important as the equipment itself. Many folks will often come up with the wildest excuses to put off their workout, whether that’s taking the kids to school, cooking dinner or even tuning in to a favorite television show. But what if there was a device that allowed you watch that TV series while ensuring that you maintained your fitness routine?


That’s exactly what Maker  “Plays in Traffic” has done with his DIY stationary bike solution. Here’s the catch: As long as you keep pedaling, the television will remain on. Otherwise, it turns off.

“It turns out generators are pretty expensive, and turning your TV on and off repeatedly probably isn’t good for it. So I made something that does the other part of the job — it makes the TV go dark unless you keep pedaling,” the Maker writes.


Aside from an old bicycle and a bike stand, the system is comprised of three components: a detector, a relay and an Arduino Nano (ATmega328). The relay is hooked up to an RCA cable running from a video source to the TV. The Arduino looks for input from the detector, and if it doesn’t receive a signal within a designated amount of time, it turns off the relay which opens the circuit and the input to the TV goes dark. The Maker has even included a warning buzzer to alert a user when there’s only seconds remaining before turning off.

“The detector I’m using is a black/white detector normally used for robot line following. I put a strip of black and white tape on the back wheel of my bicycle, which is attached to the bike stand. The Arduino is looking for both black and white detections from the wheel,” Plays in Traffic explains. “If it doesn’t see both in 10 seconds, it activates a relay that turns off the video to the TV. Note- it doesn’t turn off the DVD player or the TV, it just disconnects the input until the pedaling starts again.”


Not really into stationary bikes? The Maker notes that the same method can be applied to a treadmill as well by simply placing a strip of white electrical tape on the tread and pointing the black/white detector towards it. “If you wanted to get really fancy you could hook it up to a weight set too,” he concludes.

Looking for that extra bit of motivation to get that beach bod ready for summer? Check out the project’s detailed log here.

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