Citi Bike Riders Will Help Power the Times Square Ball on New Year's Eve

Pedal Power Stations went up this weekend to start generating energy in anticipation of Tuesday night's festivities.
The Citi Bike program in New York City found a new way to promote sustainability on New Year's Eve. (Photo: Stan Honda/Getty Images)
Dec 29, 2013· 0 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

Across the country, New Year's Eve is a time for champagne and celebration, but in New York City, it's also a time for some serious sweat.

Citi Bike, Manhattan's bike-sharing program, is helping New Yorkers generate enough pedaling power to light up the Times Square New Year's Eve ball this year.

WNYC reports that on Saturday, six stationary Citi Bikes were set up on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, where they'll stay until Monday evening, collecting energy from passersby who want to hop on and cycle.

Expected to generate about 75 watts of energy every hour, each stationary bicycle is hooked up to a 12-volt deep-cycle battery. On Monday night, the energy stored in those batteries will be transferred to the New York City power grid in anticipation of Tuesday's epic party.

The New York Daily News reports that it takes about 50,000 watts of energy to power the ball, which is encircled by more than 30,000 LEDs and weighs in at almost 12,000 pounds.

To native New Yorkers and tourists alike, it's an instantly recognizable symbol of the city that never sleeps.

Citibank spokesperson Elissa Gray told WNYC that the energy-generating plan isn't only about sustainability but about camaraderie. "It's a really great way for people to come together at the end of the year," she said, "in a way where they feel like they've been a part of something—something big."