- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The following invention relates to a bicycling exercise apparatus that mounts a conventional bicycle by its rear wheel. The improvement allows an indoor cyclist to stand while pedaling by permiting lateral rocking of the mounted bicycle. A suspension system holding a pivotal frame from a base structure is the operative mechanism that differentiates this apparatus from previous bicycling exercise devices.
Indoor bicycling exercise devices, called trainers, which support the frame of a bicycle have been available for several decades and offer a good alternative to bicycling outdoors during inclement weather. All trainers hold the bicycle in an upright position and allow the pedals and rear wheel to spin. Most offer varying intensities of resistance which are applied to the rear wheel of the bicycle to simulate cycling outdoors. The modes of resistance differ from fan (called “wind trainers”); magnetic resistance devices to fluid resistance trainers.
An outdoor cyclist experiences varying terrain and situations where he or she will rise out of the saddle while continuing to pedal. Most cyclists rise out of the saddle for several reasons: leg stretching, discomfort of the buttock, increased circulation to the buttocks region and reduced numbness, and a recruitment of different leg muscles for more power in hill climbing and sprints. It is estimated that professional cyclists may ride out of saddle (or also called “standing position”) as often as 30-40% over the course of a 100-200 km ride/race.
When a cyclist pedals in the standing position he naturally sways or rocks the bicycle from side to side with each pedal stroke, swaying the bicycle to the left as the right leg goes downward and conversely to the right as the left leg goes downward. Current bicycle trainers hold the bicycle in a fixed vertical position and restrict the natural side to side rocking motion of a standing cyclist and consequently do not allow the option of comfortably riding out of the saddle. Cyclists on these trainers tend to experience soreness and numbness as a result of having to remain seated during exercise.
The following patents are illustrative of bicycle training devices.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,768,782 discloses a bicycle exercising apparatus allowing for stationary pedaling exercise. To simulate load, a fly wheel and wind cage provides a resistance against the pedaling force.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,522,781 discloses an exercise stand for a bicycle which includes a resistive force generator to provide resistance against pedaling.
- BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
U.S. Pat. No. 4,441,705 discloses a bicycle apparatus that comprises a stationary frame that supports a bicycle at the front fork and crankshaft hub. A rotatable driven friction wheel member engages the rear wheel and a flywheel drive to offer varying momentum forces that simulate actual bicycle riding conditions.
The present invention relates to an improvement in a stationary bicycle exercising device. The basic stationary bicycle exercising device adapted to reside on a ground surface is one having a frame that supports the rear wheel of said bicycle during exercise and comprises:
a frame including at least one but preferably two generally U-shaped support structures that are engaged to each other, one said support structure being located toward the front of said rear wheel, and the other support structure being located toward the rear of said rear wheel; and,
each said U-shaped support structure including support arms adapted at one end to provide support to the axle of said rear wheel, and adapted for fastening to a support base for the bicycle at the other end, said support arms being disposed to substantially lie in a plane that is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of said bicycle and thereby allow for rotation of the rear wheel between said support arms;
The improvement allowing for lateral movement of said bicycle from side to side of the vertical plane while pedaling in the standing position comprises:
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
U-shaped support structures pivotally fastened to said support base for permitting lateral movement of the bicycle from the vertical plane. Preferably, at least one limit stop for at least one support structure is provided. These are pivotally supported to the support base at one end and pivotally fastened to the support structure at the other end, whereby lateral movement of the bicycle while pedaling in a standing position is limited to an angle of from not more than 300 from the vertical plane. Optionally, means for urging the bicycle to a vertical position are provided.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a bicycle exercise device incorporating the stand allowing for lateral movement.
FIG. 2 is a left side view of the apparatus allowing for lateral movement of the bicycle while riding.
FIG. 3 is an end view of the pivotable U-shaped support allowing for lateral movement of the bicycle during riding and a view of the spring/shock for urging the bicycle to an upright position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 are top, front and right side views, respectively, of the exercise apparatus allowing for lateral movement of the bicycle while riding.
This invention is directed to an improvement in a stationary bicycle exercising device which allows for lateral movement from the vertical plane during riding. The purpose is to allow for the cyclist to sway when in a standing position while riding, and particularly, allowing for side to side movement when the cyclist faces increased loads during the exercise.
To facilitate an understanding of the invention, reference is made to the drawings.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a bicycle 2 including a frame 4 and support base 6 allowing for lateral movement. As depicted the support base 6 is comprised of two lateral supports 6A and two longitudinal supports 6B which rest on the floor and provide support for the frame 4 and bicycle 2. Optionally, to permit collapsing of the support base, if desired, the two longitudinal supports 6B may be made from nylon straps or the like to permit folding for transportation and storage. Typically, however, the longitudinal supports are comprised of rigid material, e.g., steel pipe. The support base 6 also provides support for U-shaped frame members (to be described) which incorporate structural arms for each side of the rear wheel 8. The lateral supports 6A form a broad base to prevent excessive tipping of the device while in use. Optionally, a plurality of rubber feet 10 can be attached to the lateral and longitudinal supports to prevent damage to a floor and slippage during use.
The support base 6 carries a forward substantially U-shaped support and a rearward substantially U-shaped support. The forward U-shaped support is disposed toward the front of the rear wheel 10 (in front of the axle 12 of rear wheel 10) with the base of the “U” positioned towards the ground. It carries two support arms 4F which project upwardly and rearwardly. Likewise, the rearward U-shaped support is disposed toward the back of the rear wheel 10 (in back of the axle 12 of rear wheel 10) with the base of the “U” positioned towards the ground. It caries the two support arms 4R which project upwardly and forwardly. Each U-shaped support is further positioned such that the rear wheel 10 is disposed to rotate within the open portion of the “U”, that is, between the support arms of each “U”, such that support arms 4F and 4R are disposed on one side of the rear wheel 10 and the support arms 4F and 4R are disposed on the other side of the rear wheel 10.
The forward and rearward “U” shaped supports are pivotally attached to support base 6 at points 14A and 14B respectively to allow for lateral rotation of the “U” shaped supports from the vertical plane 16 as shown by the arrows (FIG. 1). Typically lateral rotation of the “U” shaped brackets is limited to an angle of 30° but generally not more than 20° by means to be described. Excessive lateral movement can allow the bicycle exercising device to tip over during riding and at rest. Excessive lateral movement can cause injury or damage to the bicycle.
An alternative embodiment to the use of the generally “U” shaped support is to split the “U” at the base and pivotally attach each support arm of the U shaped support to lateral supports 6A of support base 6. The segment of the lateral support 6 between each support arm of the split “U” shaped bracket is deemed to complete the “U” and, therefore, is embodied within the definition of a “U” shaped support.
As is additionally depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, the upper end of each of the support arms 4F and 4R of each U-shaped support is joined to a horizontally disposed tubular mount 18 for retaining the axle 12 of wheel 10 in fixed position and providing the support while riding. Each mount has a mounting hole 20 formed axially therethrough. Threaded wheel mounting bolts 22 are disposed to pass through the aligned mounting holes disposed on each side of the rear wheel when the U-shaped brackets are properly aligned. A mounting bolt handle 24, as shown, is engaged to the outer end of each mounting bolt 22 to facilitate the rotation of the mounting bolt in its threaded engagement in the mounting holes 20. To facilitate the mounting and dismounting of the axle of the bicycle the mounting bolts 22 may be screwed inwardly. Other conventional means of attaching the support arms to the axle for support may be employed.
When the axle 12 of the bicycle 2 is attached to the support arms of the forward and rearward U-shaped supports 4F and 4R, respectively, via the tubular mount 16, the bicycle, because it is supported to the support base 6 at pivot points 14A and 14B respectively, the bicycle 2 and frame 4 may depart from the vertical plane 16. In that way a cyclist may rock from side to side in a standing position.
In the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, lateral rotation of the U-shaped support brackets, (the frame 4), is restricted and limited by spring/shocks 26L and 26R. The spring/shocks are pendent from the support arms of the U shaped frame members 4F and 4R and hold the U-shaped frame supports in a way that urges the frame 4 and bicycle 2 to an upright and vertical plane 16. The spring/shocks 26L and 26R are pivotally or flexibly connected, e.g., flexible strap or pin, at an upper point to crossbars 28L and 28R which are positioned horizontally within the respective arms 4F and 4R. Spring/shocks 26L and 26R are pivotally or flexibly connected at the other end to longitudinal supports 6B carried by the support base 6.
Spring/shocks 26L and 26R have an outer cover 30 slidably extending over an inner spring tube 32. Inside spring tube 26 of each spring/shock is a compressible coil spring 34. At rest the coil springs urge the outer cover 30 outward thus urging the frame 4 and mounted bicycle 2 to an upright position. As a cyclist stands while pedaling and weight is applied in a lateral direction, the coil spring 34 is compressed allowing for lateral movement of the bicycle 2 while simultaneously providing increasing resistance to such lateral movement. A pedaling, seated cyclist would not create great lateral force thus, the coil springs 34 would maintain a predominantly vertical position of the bicycle. Optionally, the resistance of spring/shocks 26L and 26R to compression can be adjusted by means know in the art. Also, to minimize the degree of oscillation during riding, a perforated piston with oil dampening can be provided as is known in the art.
To prevent lateral movement of bicycle 2 beyond 300 from the vertical plane 16, limit stops 36L and 36R which are in the form of outward projections prevent the outer cover 30 retained on spring/shocks 26L and 26R from further sliding over the spring tube 32. Preferably the range is limited to an angle of 20° from the vertical plane 16.
Forms of mechanical resistance to rotation other than the spring/shocks 26, as described, can be used. These include torsional springs fastened at the junction of the base 6 and the U-shaped frame 4, at points 14A and 14B to allow for stability while simultaneously offering lateral resistance to movement of the bicycle 2 from the vertical plane 16. Additionally, mechanical resistive forces can be generated between the base and frame members by a variety of spring/shock types that offer; compressive, resistive and torsional characteristics.
In a preferred stationary bicycle exercising device a means for offering variable load during riding is provided. In the present design, a generator 38 is provided. It is carried by the rearward “U” shaped member of the frame 4R so as to engage the rear tire 8. Resistance to rotation can be applied to the rear wheel to provide for exercise.