Make: Projects – Stationary Drumcycle

Bikes Fun & Games Music
Make: Projects – Stationary Drumcycle

Mounting a digital drum controller on an exercise bike may seem silly, at first, but personally I consider it one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It makes what used to a be a tedious chore into something joyous—more like dancing or marching in a drum line than “working out.”

To use the machine, start the click track at a comfortable riding tempo (which for me is about 120 bpm), and operate the pedals in time to the beat. Then start using your hands, without losing time with your feet. The mental problem of coordinating all four limbs to make interesting rhythms is completely absorbing, and the time flies by. Since installing the drumpads, I’ll often keep riding long past my planned exercise period because I’m enjoying working out whatever pattern I’m developing so much.

As your strength, wind, and coordination develops, you can increase the challenge by adjusting the bike’s resistance setting, the speed of the click track, and the complexity of the rhythms played with your hands, respectively. You can plug in an amp and shake the ground with your sound, or plug in a set of headphones and work out in the middle of the night without disturbing family members or housemates. It’s great for your Rock Band chops, too!


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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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