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Title:
Stinger Bike Rack Transition System
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The Stinger Bike Rack product, designed by Mike Vickers, is a system for securing bicycles in an upright position during multi-sport athletic events that include cycling, such as triathions. The system allows quick racking and un-racking of bicycles during the race which is a goal of the competitors. The design is modular, lightweight and durable to solve the problem of set-up, tear-down and transport of the infrastructure required to secure hundreds to thousands of expensive bicycles at one time. Racks are computer cut from expanded PVC sheet. Each rack is six interlocking pieces weighing a total of 25 pounds and holds up to ten bicycles. Assembled size is 2′ wide, 8′ long and 8″ tall; disassembled (packaged) size is 1½″ tall by 8″ wide by 8′ long. A standard pick-up truck can haul racks to accommodate 800 bicycles. Set up time is approximately 30 seconds per rack.


Inventors:
Vickers, Michael (Lawrence, KS, US)
Application Number:
11/279211
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
07/13/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAR MEDIA GROUP (801 E. 9TH ST., LAWRENCE, KS, 66044, US)
Claims:
1. This is an independent claim, nothing else exists in the marketplace similar enough to warrant a dependent claim.

2. Bike racks for this use are home-made items generally resembling giant saw-horses that have numerous problems as described herein. The Stinger was developed to solve all the problems related to temporary one-day bike storage for a very large volume of bikes. The key objective is to make the racks stable and easy for athletes to use, while at the same time making them minimal in weight, maximal in strength and durability, and extremely simple and fast to set up, move around, tear down, pack, load, ship and store. This product is extremely unique in all these characteristics.

3. USA Triathlon, the governing body of the sport, immediately endorsed the Stinger due to the claims herein, and promptly ordered 100 racks for use at all their owned, national championship events. USAT will Support all claims and notions expressed herein, and is recognized as the experts in the sport of triathlon.

Description:

A. DESCRIPTION

The Stinger Bike Rack System is designed primarily for “Triathlon” type (to include “Duathlon”, “X-Terra” and other multi-sport events that feature a bicycle race as part of the overall race) races. Triathlon racing started in 1980 and has had tremendous growth in the past 25 years. It is an International Sport with professional athletes and a full Olympic sport. The amateur base, worldwide, is vast.

A traditional triathlon is a combination of swimming, biking and running in that order. Lengths vary from Sprint events lasting less than one-hour to Ultra events (Ironman) lasting 8 to 16 hours. Fields consist of men and women of all ages, teams, disabled, and so on. Individual races vary from 100 up to 5,000 participants, generally averaging around 500 participants.

Athletes arrive to the race with all their swim, bike and running gear. They check in and are admitted to a “Transition Area” that is usually secured and fenced off from the public. The transition area must feature bike racks that support, in orderly fashion, anywhere from 100 to 5,000 bikes including skinny tire “Road Bikes” and wider tire “Mountain Bikes.” Athletes store their remaining gear on the ground wherever their bike is racked. After completing the swim athletes travel by foot, as quickly as possible, to the transition area. They put on their biking shoes, helmet and so on, grab their bike from the rack and take off Professional triathletes can complete this process in less than 30-seconds, they practice the art of “Transition.” After completing the bike transition, they re-rack it in their “spot,” shed the bike gear, put on running shoes and take off to complete the race. Current bike rack systems are home-made affairs. The most common system consists of a 10′ steel pipe with makeshift A-frame-type legs inserted into the ends, resulting in a giant “saw horse.” There are also 2″×4″ wood versions and many other designs. These are usually made by the race director in his garage. They must break down somehow for transport to the site, be set up, and marked with race numbers. Athletes rack their bikes either by race number or first come first serve. They hang their bike from the cross tube either by the handlebar brakes or the nose of the seat. Either version is unstable, and athletes fight over their space allotment, or move each others bikes, and so on. Many times the racks are unstable and fall over in wind or when an athlete jostles them, causing damage to the bikes. After the race the racks must breakdown, load up, ship, or be unloaded and stored until the next race.

The Stinger Bike Rack System addresses and solves all the problems described above. There is no product currently in the market that is remotely similar to the Stinger. Fabricated in-house by our employees, the Stinger is:

    • 1. Made 100% from lightweight yet durable expanded PVC plastic
    • 2. Each rack is 8½″ tall by 96″ long (another model is 120″ long)
    • 3. The weight of a complete rack is 25 pounds
    • 4. It consists of (2) long stringers and (4) short cross pieces
    • 5. The pieces slide and lock together forming a rack; the process takes less than 20 seconds.
    • 6. The rack is easily positionable on hard, soft, uneven or sloped surfaces
    • 7. It is very stable on the ground
    • 8. Slots hold the back wheel only securely in place, making the bike very accessible for entry and exit
    • 9. A Mountain Bike Adaptor is included; if the tire is to wide to fit in the slot the adaptor is simply employed
    • 10. The slots are fixed; it is impossible for athletes to fight over space
    • 11. They are low to the ground, increasing visibility so that athletes can find their spot easier
    • 12. Removable, computer printable labels are included for numbering each slot if desired
    • 13. An optional rack numbering system is offered, to aid in finding the rack where your bike is located.
    • 14. Multiple sponsor areas are provided on each rack
    • 15. Each rack breaks down very easily and stacks flat and neat
    • 16. Provided with every set of racks is a storage system. Boxes are made of heavy gauge aluminum for strength and light weight, reinforced with wood bracing for rigidity.
    • 17. Each box is identical size and holds 6 complete racks. Fully loaded the box weighs 175 pounds.
    • 18. Boxes nest and stack neatly
    • 19. One pick up truck can haul enough racks to store 800 bikes.
    • 20. Racks and boxes have been designed to be as modular as possible, lightweight, durable, unscratchable, flexible in construction.
    • 21. Stinger has been endorsed as the official bike rack system of USAT (USA Triathlon, the governing body of the sport)
    • 22. Ironman endorsement (a private corporation) is pending.

B. FABRICATION

    • 1. Stinger racks are fabricated from expanded pvc sheet, 12 mm for the 8′ versions; 19 mm is used on the 10′ version for added rigidity
    • 2. The geometry of the Stinger is critical, every dimension has been tested and must be precise or bicycles, which feature either 700C wheels or 650C wheels, will not be adequately supported.
    • 3. Computer files are constructed for cutting the pieces from 4′×8′ sheets of pvc.
    • 4. Slot size must be precise; units must slide together easily, but not be too loose or rigidity is compromised.
    • 5. Stinger and/or sponsor decals are utilized, with a scratch resistant laminate (as opposed to direct printing).
    • 6. Boxes are fabricated of 0.080 brake formed 3003H14 aluminum sheet and must be of precise dimension to accommodate layers of racks without being too loose (which could cause damage) or too tight causing loading and unloading problems
    • 7. Boxes are fabricated from one piece of 080 aluminum other than each end, which is separate and continuously TIG welded.
    • 8. Each box is reinforced with 1″×2″ treated wood, two continuous skids on the bottom and one continuous “loop” or handle around the top that serves as a handle and protector from damage to fingers.
    • 9. Again, dimensions of the wood skids on the bottom and the top opening must be precise so units will nest and stack securely.
    • 10. Mountain Bike Adaptors are required. Slots are usually pre-numbered at races, and race directors never know who might show up with a mountain bike with a tire too wide to fit in the 26 mm slot. An adaptor is handed out and slips in place to support the wider tire.
    • 11. The Mountain Bike Adaptor is fabricated of 2″ schedule 80 PVC pipe, ripped in half and cut to length. Edges are eased smooth. A flat spot is cut on the back side; two layers of 12 mm pvc are glued and screwed too the PVC pipe, forming a “T” shape that locks the adaptor into the standard bike slot.
    • 12. A sign stand is available as an option to number each rack, so competitors can find their rack and bike (many races feature 2,000 participants).
    • 13. The sign is a ¼″ rod that fits into a ¼″ hole in the end cross piece; the rod holds a cardboard sign for marking.

C. USE

    • 1. Primary market is for triathlon races, in transition areas
    • 2. Bike races use them as well, for time trial races where bikes must be stored, or in mechanic's areas for bike or wheel storage
    • 3. Bike shops use stingers to display bikes
    • 4. Individuals use stingers
      D. CONCLUSION AND CLAIMS