Want to burn a few calories while washing your whites? Behold "Bicilavadora," a pedal-powered washing machine that goes from "wash" to "spin" when you change gears.

Wait. Before you bolt out the door to Sears in search of this contraption, some news: It's only a prototype. The concept for Bicilavadora (the combination of "bicycle" and "washing machine" in Spanish) was conjured up in 2005 by an MIT student who must have really detested the Cambridge laundromat scene. This past January, the idea was made reality when a prototype was given a test ride (or run) at an orphanage in the slums of Peru.

Although the thought of exercising while performing a mundane chore holds universal "kill two birds with one stone" appeal, the fact that Bicilavadora was tested where it was makes sense: It requires no electricity, speeds up the hand-laundering process, and doesn't pollute waterways. In parts of the world where washing machines are scarce and washing is a real chore, the Bicilavadora is less of an "ain't that cool?" energy-saving green gadget and more of a practical, quality-of-life-improving resource. And as you can see in the video below, the components of Bicilavadora — bike parts, an oil drum and plastic parts — don't include any bells and whistles and can be probably sourced locally.

I admit that I do see some faults in the concept, however refreshingly low-tech it is. And as a commenter on HuffPo Green points out, it was already done on Giligan's Island. So don't hold your breath, folks — take a bike ride or zesty constitutional and then suck it up and then head to the laundry room or 'mat. Remember to take it easy on the hot water and consider line-drying.

I've encountered (but never mounted) a similar concept at Habana Outpost, a solar-powered Latin restaurant/hang-out in Brooklyn that claims to be NYC's first "eco-eatery." HO's bike-powered frozen margarita blender (yep) although novel and green, seems a disastrous idea to me: Booze + delicious shrimp burrito + furiously peddling a stationary bike that's churning tequila and ice. I'll pass.

Via [Huffington Post]

Thumbnail photo: numenia

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Washing while you work (out)
Is tackling the laundry and hitting the gym on your to-do list this weekend? Let 'Bicilavadora,' a bike-powered washing machine, motivate you.