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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
BICYCLE BUNGEE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/081534
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a towing device which is designed to be attached between two bicycles which are ridden between riders of different riding abilities. The device comprises an elastic bungee cord which is attached to the seat post of the leading bicycle and to the handle bars of the rear bicycle. The elastic cord is rolled up around a spool or bobbin when not in use. In use a gradual transfer of force between the first bicycle and the second bicycle is provided when the two bicycles are ridden. Thus the riders of both the first and second bicycle are able to ride with the same effort they would ride at if not connected. This is provided by simply use the gears to control the effort with the towing rider choosing a lower gear than normal and the towed rider a higher gear than normal. In effect the device is a speed equalising device which allows the riders to stay together. The combination of a retracting spring and bungee cord allow for a progressive increase in assistance force so that speed equalization can occur with a wide range between the fitness of the towed and towing riders.

Inventors:
MEFFAN, Patrick, James (17 Ngatiawa Sreet, Nelson, NZ)
Application Number:
NZ2010/000246
Publication Date:
July 07, 2011
Filing Date:
December 12, 2010
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MEFFAN, Patrick, James (17 Ngatiawa Sreet, Nelson, NZ)
International Classes:
B61J99/00; B60D1/18; B62K27/12
Foreign References:
US20020070526A1
US7644945B1
US20090091100A1
US7334808B2
GB190513115A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAIRMAN, Jane, Elizabeth (Pairman IP, PO Box, Christchurch 8244, 33252, NZ)
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Claims:
A towing device adapted to be connected between two bicycles, comprising an elasticised bungee cord adapted, when in use, to continuously retract, the cord adapted to be attached to the rear end of a leading bicycle and to the front of a rear bicycle such that a gradual transfer of force between the first bicycle and the second bicycle is provided when the two bicycles are ridden.

A device according to claim 1 in which the riders of both the first and second bicycle are able to ride with the same effort they would ride at if not connected and in which the connection means between the first and second bicycles comprises an elastic cord to provide a speed equalising means thus allowing the riders of the first and the second bicycles to remain together.

A towing device adapted to be connected between two bicycles, comprising:

• a tow line having a bobbin end and an attachment end;

• a spring loaded bobbin means connected to the bobbin end of the tow line;

• a mounting bracket at the bobbin end, for connection of the tow line to a first or leading bicycle;

• a rear attachment means connected to the attachment end of the tow line, the attachment means being adapted to be connected to the front end of a second or trailing bicycle; such that in use, the riders on each bicycle can ride attached together via the towing device but wherein there is a gradual transfer of force to the bicycle being towed. 4. A towing device according to claim 3 in which the tow lines comprises an elastic bungee cord which extends between the spring loaded bobbin and the rear attachment means.

5. A towing device according to claim 3 in which the bungee cord is

between substantially 3mm and 8mm in diameter.

6. The towing device according to either of claims 3,4 or 5 in which the elastic cord is substantially 1-3 metres in length.

7. The towing device according to claim 6 in which the elastic cord is

substantially 3m in length. 8. A towing device according to anyone of claims 3-7 in which the bobbin means is located in a protective bobbin casing.

9. A device according to claim 8 in which the protective casing includes an attachment means for attachment to the seat post of a bicycle.

10. A device according to any one of claims 3-9 in which the bobbin means casing is made of carbon fibre.

11. A device according to anyone of claims 8-10 in which the front

attachment means includes a hinged portion of the bobbin casing allowing the device to be fitted and removed from the seat post of the leading.bicycle without removing the seat post from the frame. 12. A device according to anyone of claims 3-10 in which the rear

attachment means comprises a hook adapted to be attached over the handle bars of the rear bicycle.

13. A method of riding a bicycle using a towing device adapted to be

connected between two bicycles, comprising an elasticised bungee cord adapted, when in use, to continuously retract, the cord adapted to be attached to the rear end of a leading bicycle and to the front of a rear bicycle such that a gradual transfer of force between the first bicycle and the second bicycle is provided when the two bicycles are ridden.

A method according to claim 12 using a towing device adapted to be connected between two bicycles, comprising:

• a tow line having a bobbin end and an attachment end;

• a spring loaded bobbin means connected to the bobbin end of the tow line;

• a mounting bracket at the bobbin end, for connection of the tow line to a first or leading bicycle;

• a rear attachment means connected to the attachment end of the tow line, the attachment means being adapted to be connected to the rear end of a second or trailing bicycle; such that in use, the riders on each bicycle can ride attached together via the towing device but wherein there is a gradual transfer of force to the bicycle being towed.

Description:
Bicycle Bungee

Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a device which allows a bicycle to be towed behind another bicycle. In particular the invention relates to a towing device in which the quality of the ride for both riders is similar to the ride provided without the towing line attached.

Background to the Invention

There are devices on the market that allow cyclists to ride together. One such device is a tandem bicycle in which two people ride a single bicycle. Other devices are known in which a stronger person sits at the front and peddles whilst another person sits behind and can choose whether to contribute to the peddle power. For example, there are parent-child tandem bicycles on the market in which the front wheel of the child's bicycle can be disassembled, the front fork structure is bridged on a main frame of the other (adult's) bicycle, and the two bicycles are connected to form a non-synchronous tandem bicycle. This model has the practical effects of convenience and versatility.

Also available are tail cycles in which a connecting device connects a separate cycle wheel to a front main cycle. A connector is assembled between the rear of the lead bicycle and the front of the rear cycle. Such models are useful when riding with young children who like to feel they are riding with the lead bicycle and contributing to the effort needed. However the reality is that the rear cyclist can stop pedalling at any time and the front cyclist then does all the effort. One of the biggest disadvantages for riders connected together is that the quality of the ride for both is often reduced. For the rider being towed they are often close behind the front rider (if not immediately as in a tandem). They do not have an opportunity to select which line on the track they ride and they do not get an opportunity to see upcoming obstacles (such a rocks, ruts and steep pieces) before they are suddenly on them. For the towing rider the main issue is that there can be sudden changes to the level of drag depending on what terrain the following rider is on.

There is currently no device available in which both riders can ride together but with a similar quality of ride to that which they would experience if they were riding alone

Object of the Invention

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a towing device for a bicycle in which both riders ride at the same effort during the ride or to at least provide the public with a useful choice.

Summary of the Invention

The invention provides a towing device adapted to be connected between two bicycles, comprising an elasticised bungee cord adapted, when in use to continuously retract, the cord being attached to the rear end of the leading bicycle and to the front of the trailing bicycle such that the riders on each bicycle can ride together but with a similar quality of ride to that experienced by each rider if riding individually.

The invention provides a towing device adapted to be connected between two bicycles, comprising: · a tow line having a bobbin end and an attachment end;

• a spring loaded bobbin means connected to the bobbin end of the tow line;

• a mounting bracket at the bobbin end, for connection of the tow line to a first or leading bicycle; • an attachment means connected to the attachment end of the tow line, the attachment means being adapted to be connected to the front end of a second or trailing bicycle; such that in use, the riders on each bicycle can ride together but with a similar quality of ride to that experienced by each rider if riding individually.

Preferably the tow line comprises an elastic bungee cord. More preferably the elastic cord is of between 3mm and 8mm in diameter.

Preferably the elastic cord is between 1 and 3 metres in length.

Preferably the spring loaded bobbin means is protected by an external casing. The spring loaded bobbin has a spring contained within a recess in the side of the bobbin with the spring fixed to an axle and to the bobbin itself. The bungee cord is fixed to the central portion of the bobbin and then wound around the bobbin. As the bungee cord is withdrawn the spring is placed under increasing tension until the cord is fully withdrawn. Most preferably the external casing includes an aperture through which the tow line extends to the exterior.

Preferably the attachment end of the tow line includes an attachment means for attachment to the second bicycle. More preferably the attachment means comprises a hook. The hook is preferably adapted for attachment to the handle bars of the second bicycle.

The hook is preferably constructed of nylon 66. However other materials are suitable.

The casing and bobbin may be made from carbon fibre. However other materials are suitable. In particular the invention provides a towing device for towing one bicycle behind another in which an elastic bungee cable is connected between the rear end of a first bicycle and the front end of a second or posterior bicycle whereby a gradual transfer of force between the first bicycle and the second bicycle is provided when the two bicycles are ridden.

The invention also provides a towing device for connection between a first leading bicycle and a second rear bicycle in which the riders of both the first and second bicycle are able to ride with the same effort they would ride at if not connected and in which the connection means between the first and second bicycles comprises an elastic cord to provide a speed equalising means thus allowing the riders of the first and the second bicycles to remain together.

The invention also provides a method of towing a second bicycle behind a first bicycle including attaching a towing device according to the present invention to the rear end of the first leading bicycle and to the front end of the second rear bicycle.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the drawings in which:

Figure 1 is an illustration of the device attached between two bicycles. The bungee is not fully extended;

Figure 2 is an illustration of the bobbin end of the towing device when the tow line is in the retracted position when not in use;

Figure 2A is a top plan view of the bobbin casing of Figure 2;

Figure 2B is a side end view of the bobbin casing of Figure 2; Figures 3A and 3B are further drawings of the bobbin end of the towing device with the towing cord in the retracted position;

Figures 4A and 4B are diagrams of the bobbin end of the towing device showing the tow cord in a partially extended position; Figure 5 is a further view of the bobbin end of the device showing the attachment means in a slightly extended position out from the bobbin means;

Figure 5A is a top plan view of Figure 5;

Figure 5B is an end view of Figure 5;

Figure 6 is a cross sectional view of the external casing of the bobbin means, showing the aperture through which the bungee cord exits and the bobbin means inside the bobbin casing;

Figure 6A is a side view of the bobbin casing showing the bobbin in position in the casing;

Figure 6B is a side view of a cross section of the bobbin casing showing the bobbin in place inside the casing;

Figure 7 is a view of the bobbin inside the casing;

Figure 8 is a view of a plate of the bobbin casing according to a further embodiment of the invention;

Figure 9 is a drawing of a bobbin casing according to a further embodiment of the invention;

Detailed Description of the Invention

As shown in Figure 1, the towing device (2) is adapted to connect two bicycles, a front bicycle (4) and a rear or trailing bicycle (6). The towing device (2) is attached to the seat post (8) of the leading or front bicycle (4). The towing device (2) includes a bobbin casing (10). The bobbin casing includes an attachment means (12) to secure the bobbin casing to the first bicycle (4). In the embodiment shown in Figures 1-6 the bobbin end attachment means (12) is a cylindrical device which is adapted to fit securely around the seat post (8) of a bicycle. The bobbin attachment means is removable.

The rear end of the towing device includes a rear end attachment means (20) to secure the rear end of the towing device to a rear or trailing bicycle (6).The rear attachment means (20) is shown more clearly in subsequent drawings.

Figures 2, 2A and 2B show the bobbin end of the towing device in more detail. The bobbin casing (10) includes a rear end with an aperture (14) through which the bungee cord (not shown in Figure 2) exits from the bobbin casing (10).

The front end of the casing includes an attachment means in the form of a mounting bracket (12) for secure attachment of the casing to the first or leading bicycle (4). In this embodiment, the mounting bracket (12) comprises a cylindrical connection means (18) which is adapted to fit around the seat post (8) of the leading bicycle (4). The mounting bracket (12) in this embodiment is constructed as part of the bobbin casing (10) and encloses the cylindrical connection means (18). The front attachment means (12) is attached around the seat post of the leading bicycle by screws or the like. It is therefore easily removable.

The front attachment means mounting bracket (12) and cylindrical insert (18) are also shown clearly in Figures 3A and 3B and in Figures 4A and 4B.

Another embodiment of the front attachment means includes a hinged portion of the bobbin casing allowing the device to be fitted and removed from the seat post of the leading bicycle without removing the seat post from the frame. This embodiment may allow attachment with a quick release lever or velcro strap

The rear attachment means (20) is also shown in Figures 2-4 and in Figure 5.. In Figures 2 and 3 the rear attachment means (20) is shown in a fully retracted position. The elastic cord to which it is attached is fully enclosed inside the bobbin casing (10).

The rear attachment means (20) is shown in a slightly extended position in Figures 4A, 4B and Figures 5, 5A and 5B. The bobbin casing (10) includes an aperture (14) and the elastic cord (22) extends out from the bobbin casing (10) through this aperture (14). In use the elastic cord (22) can be extended further and further out from the casing to its full length. The rear attachment means (20) includes a means for attachment to a second or rear bicycle (6). In Figures 2-6 this rear attachment means (22) is in the form of a hook (24). The hook (24) is adapted to fit over the handlebars of a rear or trailing bicycle (6). A spring loaded bobbin (26) is located inside the bobbin protective casing (12). When in the fully retracted position and when not in use, the elastic bungee cord (22) is wound up inside the bobbin. The bobbin (26) is shown in Figure 6. The bungee cord (22) is wound around the bobbin (26) and extends through the aperture (14) in the protective casing (10) to the outside. The externally extending end of the bungee cord (22) includes the rear attachment means (20).

The spring loaded bobbin (26) applies a tensile force to the bobbin end of the elastic tow line (22). This tensile force tends to re-wind the tow line (22) onto the spring loaded bobbin (26). The bungee cord (22) is composed of elastic. In particular, the cord used in the preferred embodiment is 6mm in diameter. However it will be appreciated that the type of elastic cord used can be varied. The bungee cord is ideally about 3 metres long. However shorter lengths may be used if the device is used in adventure racing to take advantage of drafting

In use, the bobbin casing is secured to the seat post of a first or leading bicycle (4). The rear attachment means (20) - in the drawing comprising a hook (24) is extended and attached over the handle bars of the rear bicycle (6). As the leading rider starts to peddle, the bungee cord (22) gradually extends out of its casing (10) and unwinds from the spool (26). As shown in figure 1, the bungee cord (22) is not fully extended at this point and the assistance force from the front rider is being supplied by the retracting spring inside the bobbin. The distance between the bicycles can vary depending on how close the towed rider chooses to be.

If the rear rider decides to use very little, if any effort, the bungee cord (22) may extend to a fully extended position. In this case, the assistance force is largely being provided by the bungee cord (22) and progressively increases the more the bungee cord (22) is stretched.

The key principle underlying this device is that both riders are riding at the same effort that they would if they were not connected. They simply use the gears to control the effort with the towing rider choosing a lower gear than normal and the towed rider a higher gear than normal. In effect the device is a speed equalising device which allows the riders to stay together. The

combination of the retracting spring and bungee allow for a progressive increase in assistance force so that speed equalization can occur with a wide range between the fitness of the towed and towing riders. The distance between the riders allows the towed rider to choose their own line on a single mountain bike track or stop in time to warn the front rider. They can also choose to take advantage of drafting by choosing a closer position. An advantage of the device is that the hook can be engaged or disengaged while both bicycles are being ridden. This makes it easy to connect and disconnect the bungee cord for longer downhills without stopping.

An advantage of this towing device is that it provides the rear or slower rider with a better quality of ride. In addition the device allows riders to work at whatever effort they choose.

There is a gradual transfer of force to the bicycle being towed which results in a smoother and more comfortable towing arrangement for the riders.

The bobbin casing is made from lightweight carbon fibre which is strong.

However other materials are suitable. The shape of the casing can vary. A further embodiment of the casing is shown in Figures 7-9. In these drawings the bobbin casing is shown at 30. The rear attachment means for attachment to the leading or front bicycle is shown at 32. The elastic cord (not shown) would extend through the aperture shown at 34. When not in use, the elastic cord would be fully wound around the bobbin (36).

Whilst the invention has been described with reference to the particular embodiment shown in the drawings, it will be appreciated that various modification and improvement may be made to this embodiment without departing from the scope of the invention as set out in this specification. For example, the rear attachment means may not necessarily be in the form of a hook but could include any suitable attachment mechanism. Also the rear attachment means need not be adapted to be attached to the handle bars of the rear bicycle but could be attached at any suitable position on the rear bicycle. In addition, the bobbin casing may be attached by any suitable mechanism to the front bicycle. In addition, the front attachment means could attach to any suitable position on the first or leading bicycle.

The towing device is useful for any type of bicycle including, but not limited to, road bikes and mountain bikes. The length and stretchiness of the bungee cord and to a lesser extent the retracting spring, act as an energy sump that smoothes out the forces between the leading and rear bicycle in such a way that makes it relatively unapparent that the bungee cord is connected. The distance between the bicycles of substantially 3 metres gives the towed rider full vision and choice of route they wish to take.

Another advantage of the invention is that it provides the opportunity for the rear rider to ride with a similar effort to that which they would apply if they were riding alone.

In addition the rear rider can contribute to the riding effort required rather than be "pulled along" by the front rider. Hence it makes for a more satisfying ride for the rear, often less strong, rider.

When cycling in a group, the stronger riders will arrive earlier than weaker riders. They often wait for the weaker, slower riders to catch up. However once the slower riders have caught up, the pack of riders immediately cycle off again and the slower riders get no recovery time. Both groups of riders end up dissatisfied. However using the towing device according to the invention, if both riders are in the same gears they previously would have been in then the towing rider will be working harder than usual and the towed rider doing less than usual. If however they adjust the gearing up or down as appropriate they can alter the effort to whatever level they desire. Industrial Applicability

The invention relates to a towing device which allows two bicycle riders to ride together but in which the quality ride for each rider is enhanced from that normally experienced when one bicycle tows another. The device can be used on any bicycle to enhance the riding experience for riders where one rider is perhaps less strong than another. The towing device provides the rear or slower rider with a better quality of ride but it allows both riders to work at whatever effort they choose because there is a gradual transfer of force to the bicycle being towed which results in a smoother and more comfortable towing arrangement for the riders.