How Citi Bikes Will Power the New Year's Ball Drop in Times Square

Monday concluded the use of the Citi Bike Pedal Power Station, where "riders" could pedal their way to making the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square a little greener — and simultaneously give some free advertising for Citigroup.

At seven stationery bikes set up in Times Square, environmentally-minded cyclists could pump power into 12-volt deep cycle batteries that generated an average of 75 watts per hour. According to a Citigroup spokesman, over the three days, the folks on the bikes generated enough energy to light the ball for the one-minute countdown to midnight, and then a bit more. The effort will power the ball for about two minutes. 


Neither the Times Square Alliance nor Citi Bike was available to comment on the total time the ball would be powered up.

"On New Year's Eve, we're going to tap into the energy that's ridden Citi Bikes the equivalent of 450 trips around the globe," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "With the year's biggest party being powered by Citi Bike pedals, the world is in for an even more electrifying experience when the ball drops."

In any case, Citigroup got some pretty sweet, cheap advertising from the effort. While the tourists pedaled, "brand ambassadors" took their pictures, which the company recommended they "save and share via social media." Then, participants got a free day pass on Citi Bike to pedal the Citigroup logo around the city.

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Jessica Huseman

Jessica wrote for Mic.com until Feb. 2014. Now she's an investigative reporter at The Teacher Project, writing articles on K12 education for Slate.com. Her work has appeared in ProPublica, The Atlantic, Slate, The Dallas Morning News and Chalkbeat and more. Find her contact info and her recent work at www.jessicalhuseman.com.

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