BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to attachment devices, and more specifically to a flexible attachment device for vertically and horizontally mounting pinwheels, flags and other objects supported by posts anywhere onto frames of bicycles, bicycle trailers, scooters, strollers, wheelchairs and other structures with tubular components.
2. Prior Art
Previously, it has been difficult for children to effectively mount pinwheels or flags for fun on their bikes, trikes and scooters and likewise for their parents for more safety-related reasons. The prevailing method for years has been either adhesive tape or rubber bands but neither of these methods look or more importantly work particularly well, due to the constant wind pressure they are under.
Attachment devices designed to hold flags next to bicycles and bicycle trailers also have their problems and limitations which is probably why children haven't adopted them for mini-flags or pinwheels. They are designed to support tall flag shafts in a vertical position close to the trailer's frame or body. As a result, it's difficult for children to stick pinwheels in these devices because most pinwheels have sticks shorter than 16 inches and petals wider than 5 inches. Both of these together mean the pinwheel's vanes will tend to hit either the spokes or the body of the trailer and not spin smoothly and efficiently. Moreover, they are also not designed to hold the flag shafts sideways, i.e. horizontally and perpendicularly away from the trailer body or tubing.
Attachment devices for holding flashlights onto bicycle handlebars have their problems and limitations. Firstly, they are not designed to hold pinwheel sticks which are much narrower than flashlights nor attach to larger or narrower than handlebar tubing, such as the frame that typically attaches to the rear wheel's axle. Additionally, even if they could be jury-rigged to accommodate a narrower pinwheel post, they are not designed to hold it sideways, i.e. facing horizontally and perpendicularly away from the frame, another limitation as there is only so much tubing on bicycles and tricycles that can accommodate a vertical oriented pinwheel or flag.
Previously, there have been some inventions to pair up the pinwheel concept to bicycles. U.S. Pat. No. 4,108,535 issued Dec. 3, 1976 to Harold Slaughter, discloses a device for attaching a pinwheel type safety device to bicycles. It appears to attach though only to bicycle fenders, and by means of a short screw and nut. This requires drilling a hole through the fender and securing it with a nut underneath. It takes great care and is time consuming to drill a hole and secure a nut to a curved fender closely positioned above an easily punctured tire. The alternative would also seem to be tricky and time consuming; i.e.dismantling the fender, drilling a hole on a curved piece of metal securing the device on with the nut, and putting it all back together again. If we grant this device a longer screw that would allow it to also attach to a bicycle's or scooter's frame and/or handlebar, then drilling through tubing, typically thicker and more curved than fenders, becomes even more troublesome. Another disadvantage is that it in addition to a standard pinwheel it has an extra part, a shroud meant to “protect” people from injury due to the pinwheel's petals and meant to protect the pinwheel from the “blowing garment” of the rider. This extra part makes it more expensive to manufacture and thus to purchase. Finally, it is not designed to allow children to be able to put their own pinwheels heads or flags shafts into it.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,361,718, issued Nov. 7, 1994 to Tien-Chu Cheng, also involves an extra part, a rim around its pinwheel, making it more expensive to manufacture and thus to purchase. It too requires drilling through tubing but because of its inflexible ring, drilling through tubing of only one size.
Another kind of attachment device, this one for holding sunglasses onto bicycles has its problems. U.S. Pat. No. 6,206,258, issued Mar. 27, 2001 to Michael Calder discloses such a device where the aperture through which one of the sunglass wands passes through is not only too wide to securely hold a narrow pinwheel stick upright under constant wind pressure but additionally the clip inside this aperture has a small contact surface, is soft rubber and similarly not designed to secure anything under much pressure. This is because the sunglasses are folded in an upside down V over the edge of the aperture and gravity for the most part does the rest, with the clip minimizing side to side movement. There is also a disadvantage to this sunglass carrier's attachment device, its built-in cable tie molded as a part of the carrier device. If like most cable ties, once pulled and tightened it can't be untightened without being cut, then this type of attachment device has a one-use only application and can't be reattached elsewhere. If its built-tab, as shown but not clarified in the patent, releases the cable tie without its being cut, then it lends itself to easily being stolen.
OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
Devices designed to support flags on bicycles and bicycle trailers but which may conceivably also support a pinwheel with a long stick are designed to only hold the flag's shaft vertically and in a close position relative to the bicycle/bicycle trailer or its wheels.
Accordingly, one object is to provide a device that allows a pinwheel to not only be attached in a vertical position but also in a horizontal position sideways away from the vehicle or its wheel. This allows a cyclist for example who rides at night to horizontally attach two standard large-size reflective pinwheels of approximately 7 inch diameter sideways away from their rear wheel support strut and not worry about the pinwheel's vanes hitting and being damaged by the rear wheel spokes.
Devices designed to hold flashlights onto handlebars are not designed to accomodate much narrower pinwheel sticks. Nor are they designed to hold objects perpendicularly either vertically or horizontally sideways from the handlebar with their rear flush with same. Nor are they designed to hold flashlights on widely different sized tubing.
Accordingly, one object is to provide a device that can hold a narrow pinwheel stick. Another object is that it can hold it perpendicularly either vertically or horizontally sideways away from the tubing. Another object is that it can do so with most any sized tubing. This attachment device for pinwheels on sticks accomplishes all three.
Slaughter's device is quite difficult and time consuming to attach and reattach to bicycles and other vehicles. Slaughter's device also has a shroud around its pinwheel creating another part in addition to a pinwheel and making it difficult if not impossible for a child to put their own pinwheel in it.
Accordingly, one object is to provide a device holding a pinwheel which is quick and easy to attach and reattach to most anywhere on the frame of a bicycle, tricycle, scooter or other similar vehicle or structure with tubular frame. This attachment device accomplishes that by being made of a flexible material such as rubber in a C-shape so it can easily go around various diameters of tubing and then be secured with two easy-to-use cable ties. To reattach them elsewhere, they're easily cut with scissors or wire snips and then reattached with two inexpensive, widely available cable ties. Another object was to make a attachment device that is simple, inexpensive and which allows a child to easily retrofit it with their own pinwheel, flag or other object with stick.
Cheng's device, because it requires drilling a hole, is also difficult and time consuming to attach and reattach to vehicles. It too cannot go on various sized tubing and also involves an extra part, an outer rim, making it more expensive.
Accordingly, one object is to provide a device holding a pinwheel which is quick and easy to attach and reattach to most anywhere on the frame of a bicycle, tricycle, scooter or other similar vehicle or structure with tubular frame. This attachment device accomplishes that by being made of a flexible material such as rubber in a C-shape so it can easily go around various diameters of tubing and then be secured with two easy-to-use cable ties. Another object is to make a pinwheel with as few parts as possible as so as inexpensive as possible. This invention also accomplishes that.
Calder's sunglass carrier can only hold large objects such as sunglasses that fold with appendages that go vertically through a large aperture and do not undergo much air pressure. Its built-in cable tie attachment system is either not reusable or lends itself to easily being stolen.
Accordingly, one object is to provide an attachment device that can hold smaller non folding objects such as pinwheels. Another object is to provide a device that can hold such objects both vertically and horizontally under much wind pressure. Another object is that the attachment system be easily reusable and at the same time not lend itself to easily being stolen. This attachment device for pinwheels on sticks accomplishes all three.
Further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and the accompanying drawings.
The invention disclosed herein pertains generally to a flexible attachment device that has a hollow barrel for accommodating vertically, horizontally or at any angle in between, the base of pinwheel posts, flags shafts or other objects supported by stick-like feature. It has a flexible C-shaped base which can mount to various sized frames on a variety of vehicles. This flexible base is secured, in its preferred embodiment, with cable ties, pulled and tightened, which hold it firmly to the vehicle's frame.
In conclusion, the reader will see that, according to the invention, I have provided a novel, simple to install, inexpensive, effective, durable and versatile device for attaching pinwheels and other objects supported by posts almost anywhere on the frames of bicycles, tricycles, scooters, strollers, wheelchairs and other objects with tubular components. In conjunction with a reflective pinwheel, its preferred embodiment, it can be used as a stand-alone safety device as the spinning holographic vanes make a very eye-catching, flashing, multi-colored display both during the daytime sunlight and at night when car headlights shine on them from front and rear. They can also be supplemental to other safety devices such as electric flashers, thus adding to the overall safety of the vehicle's operator.