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Title:
METHOD OF COUPLING BICYCLES TO ONE ANOTHER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1995/009761
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Two bicycles (51, 52) are coupled to one another by removing the front wheel (53) from one of the bicycles (51) and mounting the front fork (11) of that bicycle (51) to coupling means (c) attached to the frame of the other bicycle (52) such that the rear wheel (54) of said other bicycle (52) is disposed in the said fork (11). The coupling means (c) comprises a pair of brackets (56), each incorporating a bearing (18), in use attached to the rear frame (21) of the said other bicycle (52), and a pair of stub shafts (19) in use extend respectively through the bearings (18) and the two limbs of the said front fork (11) for mounting the latter to the coupling means (c).

Inventors:
DEAVIN COLIN FREDERICK (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB1994/002173
Publication Date:
April 13, 1995
Filing Date:
October 06, 1994
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
DEAVIN COLIN FREDERICK (GB)
International Classes:
B62K13/02; (IPC1-7): B62K13/02
Foreign References:
DE9014206U11991-04-04
DE3729879A11989-03-23
FR1014277A1952-08-12
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A method of coupling bicycles to one another, said method comprising the steps of removing the front wheel from one of the bicycles and mounting the front fork of that bicycle to a coupling attached to the frame of the other bicycle such that the rear wheel of said other bicycle is disposed in the said fork.
2. A method according to Claim 1, wherein said coupling is arranged such that the said mounting of the front fork is on or in the vicinity of the axis of the said rear wheel whereby the free end of the front fork is well within the perimeter of said rear wheel.
3. A method according to Claim 2, wherein said coupling is arranged such that the axis of the rear wheel extends coaxially with the axis of the said front wheel prior to its removal.
4. A method according to Claim 2, wherein said coupling is arranged such that the axis of the rear wheel extends substantially adjacent to the position of the axis of the said front wheel prior to its removal.
5. A method according to any preceding Claim, wherein the method steps are reversible so that the two separate bicycles can be reconstituted.
6. Coupling means for use in a method according to Claim 1, wherein the coupling means comprises a pair of brackets in use attached to the rear frame of the said other bicycle, and a pair of stub shafts serving in use to extend respectively through the two limbs of the said front fork for mounting the latter to the coupling means.
7. Coupling means according to Claim 6, wherein each bracket incorporates a bearing, and a said stub shaft is accommodated therein.
8. Coupling means according to Claim 6 or Claim 7, wherein the said brackets are welded to the frame of said other bicycle or may be removably attached thereto (e.g. by bolts) .
9. Coupling means according to Claim 6 or Claim 7, wherein the said brackets are removably attached to the frame of said other bicycle (e.g. by bolts).
10. Coupling means according to Claim 9 and including bolts for removably attaching the said brackets to the frame of said other bicycle.
11. A bicycle, the frame of which has attached thereto the brackets of coupling means according to any one of Claims 6 to 9.
12. A pair of bicycles, one bicycle carrying support means to mount the front wheel thereof in an outofuse condition, and the other bicycle being in accord with Claim 11.
Description:
METHOD OF COUPLING BICYCLES TO ONE ANOTHER

DESCRIPTION

This invention relates to cycles and cycling. In particular the present invention is concerned with a method and apparatus for coupling cycles to one another.

It is known to provide a four-wheeled vehicle by coupling two bicycles rigidly to one another such that they are disposed mutually side-by-side. Such a four-wheeled vehicle is heavy and difficult to manoeuvre (no precession is possible during turning) and it occupies a substantial width on the roadway.

Also known, e.g. from GB-490344, are two-wheeled tandem bicycles that can accommodate two riders sitting one behind the other on an elongated bicycle frame. Such a two-wheeled vehicle reguires that both riders, whilst pedalling, employ generally the same fixed gearing with respect to the driven rear wheel - which is difficult where there are substantial leg power differences between the two riders. It is also known, from US-A-5067738, to provide a geared, one-wheeled articulated trailer unit to be attached to the seat pillar of a bicycle, the trailer unit (when detached) having no other useful purpose.

The present invention is concerned to overcome or at least alleviate one or more of the above-stated and/or other disadvantages of the prior art.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of coupling bicycles to one another, said method comprising the steps of removing the front wheel from one of the bicycles and mounting the front fork

of that bicycle to a coupling attached to the frame of the other bicycle such that the rear wheel of said other bicycle is disposed in the said fork.

Preferably the arrangement is such that the said mounting of the front fork is on or in the vicinity of the axis of the said rear wheel (e.g. such that the axis of the rear wheel extends coaxially with or substantially adjacent to the position of the axis of the said front wheel prior to its removal) whereby the free end of the front fork is well within the perimeter of said rear wheel.

Preferably said method steps are reversible so that the two separate bicycles can be reconstituted.

According to a second aspect of this invention there is provided coupling means for use in a method according to said first aspect of this invention, wherein the coupling means comprises a pairĪ¹of brackets in use attached to the rear frame of the said other bicycle, and a pair of stub shafts serving in use to extend respectively through the two limbs of the said front fork for mounting the latter to the coupling means.

Preferably each bracket incorporates a bearing, and a said stub shaft is accommodated therein. The bearings minimise wear upon relative angular movement between the two inter- coupled cycles (in the plane of the cycles), e.g. when riding over bumps on the ground.

The said brackets may be welded to the frame of said other bicycle or may be removably attached thereto (e.g. by bolts). In a preferred embodiment however, the brackets are mounted adjustably on the frame of said other bicycle so as to facilitate inter-coupling of two bicycles of different sizes (i.e. of different nominal wheel diameters).

According to a third aspect of this invention there is provided a bicycle, the frame of which has attached thereto the brackets of coupling means according to said second aspect of this invention.

According to a fourth aspect of this invention there is provided a pair of bicycles, one bicycle having means on its frame (e.g. on the handlebars or the frame's handlebars pivot tube, or alternatively on a stub shaft attached to a conventional rear baggage-carrier or pannier) , to mount the front wheel thereof in an out-of-use condition, and the other bicycle being in accord with said third aspect of the present invention.

By way of example three embodiments of this invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings of which:

Figure 1 is a side view of two cycles coupled to one another in accord with the present invention, Figure 2 is an exploded schematic side elevation of a first embodiment of coupling means according to the invention, Figure 3 is an exploded schematic front view of parts of a second embodiment of coupling means according to the invention,

Figure 4 is a schematic side view showing the coupling of

Fig 3 in use, Figure 5 is a schematic side view of a third embodiment of the invention, and Figure 6 is a schematic view of mounting means for a removed front wheel.

The two cycles 51,52 of Fig 1 are interconnected by coupling means "C" attached to a rearward portion of the frame of the front bicycle 52. The front wheel 53 of the rear cycle 51 has been removed from the fork 11 (and mounted on the rear cycle 51 in a temporary out-of-use position) and the front fork 11 of the rear cycle 51 has

been positioned to overly the rear wheel 54 of the front bicycle 52 and be connected to the coupling means "C".

In Fig 2 the coupling means is referenced 15. Fig 2 shows the front fork 11, coupling means 15, and the rear-wheel- mounting part of the frame 21 of the second bicycle 52 (its rear wheel 54 having been omitted from Fig 1). The position of the axis of the front wheel 53, when present, is shown at 12; and the position of the axis of the second bicycle's rear wheel is shown at 22. The coupling means 15 comprises a pair of brackets 14 provided with attachment holes 13 at locations corresponding to apertures 23 on the frame 21 of the front cycle 52. The two brackets 14 are attached to the frame 21, one on each side, by bolts extending through the bracket's attachment holes 13 and the frame's apertures 23 - the two brackets being mirror-image copies of one another. The lower edge of each bracket 14 is provided with a cut-out 17 through which the axle of the second bicycle's rear wheel can extend. Optionally, the brackets 14 can rest on this axle (or the wheel fastening nuts screwed thereto) so as to be supported additionally by that rear wheel axle.

Each bracket 14 is also provided with a laterally extending boss 16 housing a bearing 18. Each bearing 18 rotatably supports therein a bolt-like stub shaft 19 that extends laterally away from the central plane of the second bicycle 52. The outward (non-headed) end of each bolt-like stub shaft 19 is externally threaded. The front fork 11 of the first bicycle is mounted on the stub shaft 19, and is secured thereon by internally threaded nuts (or the like). The stub shafts 19 thus serve as replacements for the axle of the first bicycle's temporarily "missing" front wheel 53.

In the embodiment of Figs 3 and 4, the front wheel 53 of a first bicycle 51 is removed from its fork 31 and the fork 31 is attached by coupling means 35 to the rearward part of

the frame 41 of a second bicycle 52, this frame part 41 serving also to mount the second bicycle's rear wheel 54. The axis of the wheel 54 is shown in Fig 4 at 42. The coupling means 35 comprises a pair of main brackets 34 provided with attachment holes 33 and correspondingly apertured backing plates 43 whereby the main brackets 34 can be clamped on to the frame 41, one on each frame side, by bolts extending through the aligned holes - the two main brackets 34 being mirror-image copies of one another. The lower edge of each bracket 34 is provided with a cut-out 37 through which the axle of the second bicycle's rear wheel can extend. Optionally, the brackets 34 can rest on this axle (or the wheel fastening nuts screwed thereto) so as to be supported additionally by that rear wheel axle.

Each bracket 34 is also provided with a laterally extending boss 36 housing a bearing 38. Each bearing 38 rotatably supports therein a bolt-like stub shaft 39 that extends laterally away from .the central plane of the second bicycle. The outward (non-headed) end of each bolt-like stub shaft 39 is externally threaded and retained in position in the bearing 38 by a guick-release nut 39c. A spacer 39b is retained on each stub shaft 39, adjacent its head, by a circlip 39a. The front fork 31 of the first bicycle is mounted on (and, by quick-release nuts 39c, threadedly secured to) the stub shafts 39 which thus replace the axle of the first bicycle's "missing" front wheel 53.

It will be appreciated that the spacer 39b can be integral with the underside of the head of the bolt-like stub shaft 39. In this case the integral spacer 39b can be provided with two. parallel flats which, when engaged by the U-shape cut-out at the end of a limb of the front fork 31 of the bicycle 51, serve to restrain the stub-shaft 39 against rotation as the quick-release nut 39c is rotated during tightening or releasing the connection.

It will be appreciated that the pair of brackets 14 or 34 of the coupling means 15 or 35 used may alternatively be welded to the frame of the second bicycle instead of being removably attached thereto (e.g. by bolts) as illustrated. Additionally, instead of being removably attached to the generally horizontal leg of the rearward frame part 41 of the forward bicycle 52 (in the manner shown in Fig 4), the coupling's brackets may be of a different shape and/or may be instead clamped to the upwardly inclined leg of the rearward frame part 41 of the forward bicycle, or to both such legs.

Yet another alternative arrangement, illustrated schematically in Fig 5, utilises coupling means 55 which comprises a pair of brackets 56 each having a rearwardly extending main limb 57 mounted on the axle 42 of the rear wheel 54 of the forward bicycle 52. Each main limb 57 terminates at its free end in a lateral boss 48 containing a bearing for a stub shaft (such as bolt 39 of the embodiment of Figs 3 and 4). Each bracket 56 of coupling means 55 also comprises a forwardly extending supplementary limb 58 that is inclined upwardly at an angle to main limb 57. The limb 58 is provided with a slot 59 and is intersected by an adjustment link 60 extending across the two legs 61,62 of the rear frame 41 of the forward bicycle 52. The link 60 is connected to these two legs 61,62 via rubber bushings 65 and is provided with a series of holes 63 one of which receives a cross-pin or bolt 64 that also extends through the slot 59 in link 60. By appropriate selection of the connected hole 63 , the angle of main limb 57 can be adjusted and more particularly, the height of boss 48 from the ground can be set to that desired. Such adjustment permits the forward bicycle 52 to be readily connected to the front forks of different-sized rearward bicycles 51.

It will be appreciated that the coupling means 15 , 35 or 55 can be sold on its own as an "add on" item and/or that

bicycles can be marketed having the coupling means pre- attached (permanently or removably or adjustably) to their rear frame portions.

Optionally bicycles can be supplied in pairs, one bicycle of the pair having means on its frame (e.g. on the handlebars or the frame's handlebars pivot tube) to mount the front wheel thereof in an out-of-use condition, i.e. when that bicycle is to be coupled to the other bicycle of the pair, that other bicycle having the coupling means 15 or 35 pre-attached thereto as indicated above in the preceding paragraph.

A particularly preferred arrangement for mounting the rearward cycle's removed front wheel 53 is shown in Fig 6. The spokes of the removed front wheel 53 are shown at 53a. In this arrangement an L-shaped bracket 66 is secured by its longer limb to a suitable part of a conventional wire "luggage" carrier or p Iannier 67 mounted on the rear wheel of the rearward cycle 51. The shorter limb of bracket 66 is provided with a slot into which the axle of that cycle's removed front wheel 53 is hooked - and held in place by a conventional quick-release nut 68. Two possible positions for bracket 66 are shown in Fig 5.

It will be apparent that each of the above-described and illustrated embodiments of the present invention permit the permanent or reversible coupling of two (or more) bicycles to one another, by removing the front wheel from one of the bicycles and mounting the front fork of that bicycle to a coupling attached to the frame of the other (or next forward) bicycle such that the rear wheel of said other (or next forward) bicycle is disposed in the said fork. In the examples of the above-described embodiments, this disposition is such that the axis of the rear wheel extends coaxially with or substantially adjacent to the position of the axis of the said front wheel prior to its removal - and such that the free end of the fork is well within the

perimeter of said rear wheel. It will be appreciated that this interconnecting procedure is repeated for each adjoining pair of bicycles where more than two bicycles are to be interconnected. A multi-wheeled vehicle having 3N wheeels can thus be readily created from N-l bicycles.

It will be apparent that, in use, each rider of the intercoupled bicycles can use his or her own gearing for driving the rear wheel of his/her bicycle, and can effect this independently of the drive applied by the or each other rider. Similarly, each rider can use his or her own rear wheel brakes for reducing the speed of that rider's rear wheel, and (in principle) can effect this independently of the braking applied by the or each other rider. In addition, the frontmost rider can use his or her own front wheel brakes.

Many modifications and embodiments of the invention (other than or in addition to those described above) will be readily apparent to those skilled in this art. Furthermore, the invention is not to be deemed limited to the particular embodiment(s) hereinbefore described which may be varied in construction and detail without departing from the scope of the patent monopoly hereby sought.