Monday, March 23, 2009

Aerodynamic coasting bicycle and method of use

United States Patent 7,322,592
WWW.USPTO.GOV
Francis, et al.
January 29, 2008

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Aerodynamic coasting bicycle and method of use


Abstract
An aerodynamic coasting bicycle and method of use are disclosed. In
one form, an aerodynamic cycling apparatus includes a main frame
including a rear wheel mount and a front wheel mount. The main frame
includes a light-weight material and a front wheel is coupled to the
front wheel mount. A front wheel cover substantially covers an
interior portion of the front wheel. A gearless rear wheel is coupled
to the rear wheel mount and includes a rear wheel cover substantially
covering an interior portion of the rear wheel.


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Inventors: Francis; Nalan A. (St. Croix, VI), Francis; Marilyn S.
(St. Croix, VI)
Appl. No.: 10/999,556
Filed: November 30, 2004

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Related U.S. Patent Documents

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Application Number Filing Date Patent Number Issue Date
60533681 Dec., 2003


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Current U.S. Class: 280/152.2 ; 280/281.1; 280/288.4; 296/78.1
Current International Class: B62D 35/00 (20060101)
Field of Search: 280/87.01,281.1,152.2,288.4,152.1 D12/181,182 296/78.1



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References Cited [Referenced By]

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U.S. Patent Documents

D97461 November 1935 Bregman
2926927 March 1960 Enright
4326728 April 1982 Tatch
4732428 March 1988 Monte
D299220 January 1989 Trusky
4813583 March 1989 Carpenter
D301438 June 1989 Hanamura
5121937 June 1992 Lawwill
5131727 July 1992 Johnson
5275067 January 1994 Lew
D345725 April 1994 Camfield et al.
5324059 June 1994 Bryne
5603553 February 1997 Klieber et al.
D435817 January 2001 Lai
6450516 September 2002 Nall, III

Primary Examiner: Ellis; Christopher P.
Assistant Examiner: Walters; John D
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM
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Parent Case Text

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to co-pending U.S. Provisional Patent
Application having Ser. No. 60/533,681 filed Dec. 31, 2003 entitled
"Coast-2-Coast", having a common applicant herewith.
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Claims

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What is claimed is:

1. An aerodynamic cycling apparatus comprising: a main frame including
a rear wheel mount and a front wheel mount, the main frame constructed
of light-weight materials and no mechanical drive assembly; a front
wheel coupled to the front wheel mount, the front wheel including a
front wheel cover substantially covering an interior portion of the
front wheel; a gearless rear wheel coupled to the rear wheel mount,
the rear wheel including a rear wheel cover substantially covering an
interior portion of the rear wheel; a front aerodynamic cover
substantially surrounding the front wheel and a front portion of the
main frame, the front aerodynamic cover formed to allow placement of a
user's legs between the main frame and the front aerodynamic cover; a
rear aerodynamic cover substantially covering the rear wheel and a
rear portion of the main frame; a rear spoiler coupled to the rear
aerodynamic cover; and a rear view mirror assembly integrated as a
part of the front aerodynamic cover to allow the user to view objects.

2. The apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the main frame
comprises an elongated frame.

3. The apparatus as recited in claim 2 wherein the main frame further
comprises: a length at least five (5) feet; and a height no greater
than three (3) feet.

4. The apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the main frame
comprises a braking system operably coupled to at least one of the
front wheel and the rear wheel.

5. The apparatus as recited in claim 4 wherein the main frame
comprises aluminum.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the main frame comprises titanium.

7. The apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the front and rear
aerodynamic covers comprise a plastic material.

8. The apparatus as recited in claim 1 wherein the front and rear
aerodynamic covers comprise a fiberglass material.

9. An apparatus for use with a coasting bicycle to provide
aerodynamics during comprising: a front aerodynamic cover operable to
be coupled to a front portion of a main frame of a bicycle along each
side of a front wheel of the bicycle, the front aerodynamic cover
sized to cover at least fifty (50) percent of the front wheel's
laterally exposed face; and a rear aerodynamic cover operable to be
coupled to a rear portion of a main fame of the bicycle along each
side of the rear wheel of the bicycle, the rear aerodynamic cover
sized to cover at least fifty (50) percent of the rear wheel's
laterally exposed faces.

10. The apparatus as recited in claim 9 further comprising: a front
wheel cover operable to be coupled to the front wheel to substantially
cover an interior portion of the front wheel; and a rear wheel cover
operable to be coupled to the rear wheel to substantially cover an
interior portion of the rear wheel.

11. The apparatus as recited in claim 10 further comprising a rear
spoiler operable to be coupled to a rear portion of the main frame of
the bicycle.

12. The apparatus as recited in claim 9 further comprising a rear
spoiler operable to be coupled to the rear aerodynamic cover.

13. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the front aerodynamic cover
includes at least one rear view mirror.

14. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the front and rear aerodynamic
covers comprise a plastic material.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein the main frame comprises aluminum.
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Description

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FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The invention relates generally to cycling, and more particularly to
an aerodynamic coasting bicycle and method of use.

BACKGROUND

Road bikes today are constructed from a variety of materials, ranging
from the traditional steel alloy to aluminum, titanium, magnesium and
carbon fiber composites, to combinations of materials. Each of these
materials has their own favorable aspect. Steel alloys are known to
produce pliable frames that can be "tuned" for a particular type of
riding. Aluminum frames are among the stiffer frames and are thus
suitable for heavier riders or those that engage in high-energy
pedaling. Titanium and carbon-fiber frames are more exotic, with
better strength-to-weight ratios than steel or aluminum, but are
higher in cost. The current trend among high-end frames is to use a
combination of materials, such as aluminum or titanium for the main
part of the frame and using carbon-fiber for the front and rear
portions of the frame.

When designing race bikes, two of the most important variables are its
weight and aerodynamic drag. In order to reduce wheel weight and
improve aerodynamic efficiency, racing bikes have fewer spokes; a
typical number is 24. In some situations, the resulting weaker wheel
may not be suitable for heavier loads, landing jumps, etc., since this
could cause spokes to break. To reduce both air resistance and
friction on the road, tires are thin and smooth. Drop handlebars and
optional handlebar extensions are combined with a raised seat post in
order to put the rider in a more aerodynamic posture. However, what is
lacking is reducing the drag incurred from a rider being present on
the cycle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages, features and characteristics of the invention, as
well as methods, operation and functions of related elements of
structure, and the combinations of parts and economies of manufacture,
will become apparent upon consideration of the following description
and claims with reference to the accompanying drawings, all of which
form a part of the specification, wherein like reference numerals
designate corresponding parts in the various figures, and wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an aerodynamic coasting bicycle
according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a front perspective view of an aerodynamic coasting
bicycle according to one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective view of an elongated aerodynamic
coasting bicycle according to one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

An aerodynamic coasting bicycle and method of use are provided. In one
form, an aerodynamic cycling apparatus comprises a main frame
including a rear wheel mount and a front wheel mount wherein the main
frame includes light-weight materials and no mechanical drive
assembly. The aerodynamic cycling apparatus further includes a front
wheel coupled to the front wheel mount and a front wheel cover
substantially covering an interior portion of the front wheel. A
gearless rear wheel is coupled to the rear wheel mount and includes a
rear wheel cover substantially covering an interior portion of the
rear wheel.

In a particularized form, an aerodynamic coasting bicycle includes an
elongated frame having a front aerodynamic cover substantially
surrounding a front wheel of the bicycle and a front portion of the
elongated frame. The front aerodynamic cover is formed to allow
placement of a user's legs between the elongated frame and the front
aerodynamic cover. The bicycle further includes a rear aerodynamic
cover substantially covering the rear wheel and a rear portion of the
elongated frame. In this manner, a reduction in drag caused by wind
resistance is reduced allowing the aerodynamic coasting bicycle to
accelerate at a greater rate during use.

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an aerodynamic coasting bicycle
according to one embodiment of the invention. Aerodynamic coasting
bicycle 10 includes a main frame 11, a front wheel 17, a rear wheel 19
and a seat 15. Each wheel includes a height of approximately twenty
(20) inches and a width of approximately (23) millimeters. Through
providing wheel having the disclosed dimension, minimal roll
resistance is realized during use thereby allowing for greater
acceleration and operating speeds of bicycle 10. Bicycle 10 further
includes a front aerodynamic cover 12 coupled to a front portion of
main frame 11 and a rear aerodynamic cover 16 coupled to a rear
portion of main frame 11. Bicycle 10 further includes a windshield 21
made of a clear plastic or plexiglass material and a rear view mirror
assembly 13 coupled to and/or integrated as a part of front
aerodynamic cover 12.

Main frame 11 is formed from one or more light-weight materials such
as aluminum, titanium, steel alloys, carbon fiber, or other types of
light-weight materials having sufficient strength and durability for
providing a bicycle frame. Main frame 11 is constructed for durability
and strength with each joint being welded. Front aerodynamic cover 12
is formed to provide a streamlined shroud 14 for reducing wind
resistance of aerodynamic coasting bicycle 10 when used. Front
aerodynamic cover 12 is sized to allow a user to place a portion of
their legs between shroud 14 and main frame 11 (not expressly shown).
As such, aerodynamic cover 12 is sized such that it is sized and
positioned at a distance from main frame 11 to allow for a user to
place a portion or all of their legs along main frame 11 and behind
front aerodynamic cover 12. In one embodiment, front aerodynamic cover
12 is coupled to front fork 62 and may be varied in width from
approximately five (5) to fifteen (15) degrees allowing for
aerodynamic variability of front aerodynamic cover 12 and ultimately
bicycle 10 during use.

Front aerodynamic cover 12 and rear aerodynamic cover 16 may be formed
from one or more types of light-weight materials such as plastic,
thermoplastics, fiberglass, polyethylene, polypropylene and the like
such that a light-weight aerodynamic properties may be achieved. Each
cover may also be finished or coated with a paint, glossy finish, wax,
etc. to reduce wind resistance along each surface.

Front wheel 17 further includes a front wheel cover 18 and rear wheel
19 includes a rear wheel cover 20. Each cover substantially covers the
interior portion of each wheel to further enhance aerodynamics of
bicycle 10. Each cover may be coupled to a portion of one or more
wheel supports such as conventional wheel spokes using coupling
mechanisms such as clips, plastic tie-straps, and the like. Each cover
substantially covers the interior portion of each wheel to further
enhance aerodynamics of bicycle 10. Each cover may be coupled to a
portion of one or more wheel supports such as conventional wheel
spokes using coupling mechanisms such as clips, plastic tie-straps,
and the like. Each cover may be made of light-weight materials such as
plastic, thermoplastics, fiberglass, polyethylene, polypropylene and
the like such that a light-weight aerodynamic properties may be
achieved.

Bicycle 10 is provided as a non-mechanical bicycle that relies on
gravity to provide acceleration during use. For example, a user may
position bicycle 10 along a hillside or course having a downward slope
to allow a user to coast downhill along a surface. As the user
initiates bicycle 10 down a slope, each aerodynamic element of bicycle
10 contributes to increasing the overall acceleration or propulsion of
bicycle 10 through reducing wind resistance that traditional downhill
bicycles encounter. For example, wind resistance of a user typically
decelerates conventional bicycles. As such, a user using bicycle 10
having front aerodynamic cover 18 allows a user to be positioned
behind front aerodynamic cover 18 and windshield 21 thereby reducing
wind friction that may be caused by a user. Additionally, through
bicycle 10 having a rear aerodynamic cover 16, turbulent wind currents
may be streamlined away from main frame 11 allowing for an overall
decrease in drag that may occur as bicycle 10 accelerates downhill. In
this manner, through providing a non-mechanical bicycle made of
light-weight materials and aerodynamic covers, wind resistance is
reduced and acceleration of bicycle 10 is increased during use.

FIG. 2 illustrates a front perspective view of an aerodynamic coasting
bicycle according to one embodiment of the invention. An aerodynamic
coasting bicycle 25 includes a front aerodynamic cover 26 covering a
substantial portion of a front wheel 27 of bicycle 25. Front
aerodynamic cover 26 further includes rear view mirrors 28 positioned
to allow a user to view objects behind or along side bicycle 25 during
use. A windshield 29 further enhances aerodynamics of bicycle 25
allowing a user to be positioned behind windshield 29 to reduce wind
resistance of a user while allowing the user visibility.

Front aerodynamic cover 26 is operable to be coupled to a front
portion of a main frame of bicycle 25 along each side of front wheel
of bicycle 25. Front aerodynamic cover 26 is sized to cover at least
fifty (50) percent of front wheel 17. Similarly, a rear aerodynamic
cover (not expressly shown) is operable to be coupled to a rear
portion of a main fame of bicycle 25 along each side of the rear wheel
of the bicycle and sized to cover at least fifty (50) percent of the
rear wheel of the bicycle. In this manner, a substantial portion of
wind resistance, turbulence, drag, etc. that may be encountered during
use of bicycle 25 may be reduced thereby increasing the overall
acceleration of bicycle 25.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective view of an aerodynamic coasting
bicycle illustrating a reduced frame height according to one
embodiment of the invention. A downhill racing bicycle 60 that lacks a
conventional mechanical gear system and includes stainless steel or
aluminum foot pegs 56 for allowing a user to rest their feet during
use. Bicycle 60 further includes an elongated frame 40 having a front
wheel mount 41 coupling a front wheel 42 having a front wheel cover
43. Bicycle 60 further includes a rear wheel mount 44 coupling a rear
wheel 45 having a rear wheel cover 46. A front aerodynamic cover 47
includes a windshield 48 and is coupled to a front portion of front
wheel mount 41 using front mounting brackets 51 and a rear aerodynamic
cover 49 is coupled to a rear portion of elongated frame 40 using rear
mounting brackets 52. Front mounting brackets 51 and rear mounting
brackets 52 may be coupled to various locations along elongated frame
40 as needed to securely couple front aerodynamic cover 47 and rear
aerodynamic cover 49. In one embodiment, front and rear mounting
brackets 51 and 52 may be secured using threaded nut and bolts, wing
nuts, etc. allowing for each aerodynamic cover to be removed and
replaced as needed. Durable plastic coupling mechanisms may also be
considered for securely coupling front and rear mounting brackets 51
and 52. In another embodiment, front and rear mounting brackets 51 and
52 may be welded to elongated frame 40 to permanently couple front
aerodynamic cover 47 and rear aerodynamic cover 49 to elongated frame
40.

To further enhance aerodynamics of bicycle 60, elongated frame 40 may
include a height 55 no greater than three (3) feet and a length 54 of
no greater than, for example, fifty (50) inches as measured from front
axel to rear axel. Through providing a bicycle having a reduced height
and elongated frame, a lower profile or exposed surface area may be
realized thereby reducing the amount of drag that may be produced
during use. Bicycle 60 further includes a spoiler 53 coupled that may
be coupled to elongated frame 40 and/or rear aerodynamic cover 49 and
positioned behind seat 50. Spoiler 53 provides additional aerodynamic
enhancement through reducing drag and providing a downward force to
bicycle 60 during use. Spoiler 53 may be adjusted in a vertical
direction and at various angles as needed to reduce back drafts that
may result during use. For example, mechanical height and angle
actuators or linkage may be used to increase or decrease the height
and angle of spoiler based on the overall operational height of a
user. Actuators or linkage may include brackets having a track for
position spoiler 53 through various angles. Additionally, a height
adjuster may include a first tube coupled to spoiler 53 and an sized
to slidingly engage and fit within a second tube mounted to a rear
portion of elongated frame 40. Height adjuster may include a series of
apertures positioned vertical and sized to allow a spring actuated
nipple to engage an aperature and allow for increasing and decreasing
the overall height of spoiler 53.

Rear aerodynamic cover 49 may also include an adjustable foot
placement saddle 59 that allows a user to place their feet along rear
aerodynamic cover 49 during use. In this manner, a reduction in wind
resistance may be realized by a user placing their feet on foot pegs
56 or by a user placing their feet within foot placement saddle 59
thereby altering the center of gravity of a user as needed and
enhancing the speed of bicycle 60 during use.

Bicycle 60 is well suited for downhill racing through providing a
light-weight bicycle having increased aerodynamic to optimize
acceleration through non-mechanical propulsion means. For example,
bicycle 60 lacks gears, linkage, chains, etc. used on a conventional
bicycle. In this manner, a lightweight bicycle having streamlined
aerodynamics may be provided to minimize drag that may be encountered
due to wind resistance while allowing bicycle 60 to accelerate
efficiently.

Bicycle 60 further includes a mechanical or hydraulic brake system 57
that includes front and/or rear disc brakes and at least on actuator
(not expressly shown) for slowing and stopping bicycle 60 during use.
Additionally, bicycle 60 includes handlebars 58 operatively coupled to
elongated frame 40 for providing directional control of bicycle 60.

Note that although an embodiment of the invention has been shown and
described in detail herein, along with certain variants thereof, many
other varied embodiments that incorporate the teachings of the
invention may be easily constructed by those skilled in the art.
Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been
described above with regard to specific embodiments. However, the
benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that
may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more
pronounced are not to be construed as a critical, required, or
essential feature or element of any or all the claims. Accordingly,
the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific form set
forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such
alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably
included within the spirit and scope of the invention. For more
information please go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

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