Snowmobikes at the Duracell Center

December 2, 2008 3:30:17 PM PST
On New Year's Eve, all eyes are on Times Square as the ball drops. And this year, your legwork can help ring in 2009.Unless you're a famous actor, there's little chance that you'll ever see your name in lights. So perhaps the next best thing is to help light up Times Square with a little sweat equity.

"We expected to be doing a lot of walking today, but not biking," Gail Fitzsimmons said.

And yet the entire Fitzsimmons family hopped on the Duracell "snowmobikes" and started pedaling during a recent trip to the city from New Jersey.

The Fitzsimmons are inspired by what all of this hard work will accomplish. You see, the energy they produced from pedaling will eventually be put to good use.

Every bike creates energy, like a windmill that will be channeled into a Duracell battery, said Rick June, from Duracell.

Well, it's actually four large battery cells that are hidden away. But come New Years, they'll be hooked into a sign, so when the ball drops, the sign will light up. And that's why Duracell needs you to hop on and pedal Approximately 230 hours of pedaling are needed to light the sign for about 10 minutes. Once those cells run out, the sign goes on the electric grid, which is all the more reason to keep pedaling.

Whether participating for exercise or to save the environment, consider making a detour the next time you're in Times Square. Pay a visit to the Duracell Power Lodge. They'll also let you recharge any device for free, and you'll be in good company. Cast members of PBS' new Electric Company and ABC's Ugly Betty took a turn on the bikes. And when 2009 starts, you'll be able to say you had part in lighting Times Square.

In addition to the free personal charging, the center also offers visitors to test their gaming skills at four different Nintendo Wii games, including Mario Kart and Wii Fit.

Visitors can check out the hottest Mattel toys for the holiday season, or take pictures on the snowmobikes in front of a replica 2009 sign.

The Duracell Power Lodge is located at 1540 Broadway between 45th and 46th streets. It's on the third floor, and it's open seven days a week from now until the December 31. And it's free.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Lauren Glassberg

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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