How do you combine American’s need for the big, the fast, and the green? (Yes, we’re talking about lawn care). Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have one answer in the works: The Mowercycle by Real Power.
One of the entrants in the third annual Engineering, Mechanics and Aeronautics design competition, Mowercycle combines the size and maneuverability of a motorized sit down mower with the lack of emissions of an old fashioned manual push mower.
This emissions free, 100% human powered Mowercycle looks to be a mix of recumbent (reclining position) bicycles with a wider four wheel stance and a mower blade. In this video they demonstrate that the blades are linked directly to the rotation of the front wheels, except they go 6 times as fast. The user sits in the Mowercycle, pedaling it forward, and steering it via handles on either side of them.
It’s a brilliant idea, as people will have the speed of a gas powered garden tractor while not emitting or having to inhale the disproportionately high amount of emissions lawnmowers emit as compared to other motorized devices.
While as shown there is no clear way the Mowercycle will capture the grass it mows, that’s to be forgiven as this is an early stage prototype. The overall execution and idea is sound and could prove a big seller, as it appeals to people’s desire to be greener, without sacrificing their quality of life.
Yes, having something other than a big water intensive lawn would be the clearly more sustainable option, we can’t expect everybody to go that route any time soon. The Mowercycle is a great bridge between the way things are and the way they could be.
Readers: What other bridges to more sustainable behavior are you seeing out there? What’s your feedback for the Mowercycle designers, in terms of the actual device itself and how to get it out there on the market?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.
image via Rick Wood