Some people take the phrase “a healthy work life balance” to the extreme, and none more so than Texas Instruments technical sales associate Steven Zhou, whose passion for biking is only enhanced by his enthusiasm for electronics.
Zhou, based in Shanghai, has not just created his own fully customized bike laden with TI parts, but has also ridden it on a major trek across Taiwan recently, in a 15 day solo trip, powering all his gadgets along the way using his kinectic energy.
The souped up two wheeler, nicknamed “Steven’s Spirit Bike,” boasts an LED flashlight with a high-power TI LED driver, a TI wireless lighting control system to connect it to his smartphone and a DC power generator --an old AC power generator combined with TI circuits-- for powering his cell phone, iPad and LED flashlight.
Zhou is no novice when it comes to the dusty road. His first bike route was a three mile jaunt from his hometown to primary school, aged eight, on his mother’s bicycle. Moving up to high school, Zhou found his route increasing too, a 62 mile trek from home, a full day’s ride.
By the time Zhou graduated to university, he was able to bike the 111 miles between Hangzhou and Shanghai in two days, the first time he’d ever ridden across a whole province.
It was these early trips that gave Zhou the taste for more, and the dream to cross China by bike. A biking version of Forrest Gump.
Like any fitness geek worth his salt, Zhou wears a watch powered by a TI microcontroller to read his heart rate, temperature and altitude. By using a generator, powered by the rotation of his bike’s wheels, Zhou said he never needed a fixed power plug for any of his travels.
“For a meaningful trip, the destination is not my purpose,” Zhou explained, noting that he was much more interested in the experiences he encountered on the road, the people he meets, the sights he sees. “Those are the best gifts. That’s why I enjoy cycling,” he said.
Getting other Tiers involved with his hobby, Zhou has even set up a cycling club for colleagues and customers and is planning a 125 mile trip to Tai Hu Lake, the biggest lake in East China.
Sound like fun or is this hobby a little bit too tightly coupled to work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.Related Stories:Biker steers code at the core of WindowsBicycles reveal engineering creativity and offer opportunityFirm demos computer powered by bicyclesGeek Hat competition at Design West 2013