Title:
Skate Braking System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A skate braking system includes a first wheel mount for holding wheels and a second wheel mount for holding additional wheels. A mounting plate is pivotally attached to the first and second wheel mounts. A first side brake mount for holding a first side brake pad and a second side brake mount for holding a second side brake pad are coupled to the mounting plate. The first side brake pad engages a skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted laterally in a first direction relative to the wheel mounts. The second side brake pad engages the skating surface when mounting plate is tilted laterally in a second direction opposite the first direction. The braking system may further include a biasing device for urging the mounting plate to have a normal orientation at which the first and second side brake pads do not engage the skating surface.



Inventors:
Bourne, James M. (Culver City, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/914403
Publication Date:
08/14/2008
Filing Date:
10/30/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63C17/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GURARI, EREZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FULWIDER PATTON LLP (HOWARD HUGHES CENTER 6100 CENTER DRIVE, SUITE 1200, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90045, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A skate braking system comprising: a first wheel mount adapted to rotatably hold a first wheel about a first rotational axis extending laterally; a mounting plate pivotally attached to the first wheel mount so as to permit the mounting plate to tilt laterally; and a first side brake mount adapted to hold a first side brake pad for engaging a skating surface contacting the first wheel, the first side brake mount coupled to the mounting plate such that the side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted in a first lateral direction.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein the first side brake mount includes an adjustment device configured to selectively secure the first side brake mount to the mounting plate in a plurality of orientations including a first orientation in which the first side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted through a first angle, and a second orientation in which the first side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted through a second angle less than the first angle.

3. The system of claim 1 further comprising a second side brake mount adapted to hold a second side brake pad for engaging the skating surface, the second side brake mount coupled to the mounting plate such that the second side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted in a second lateral direction opposite the first lateral direction.

4. The system of claim 1 wherein the mounting plate is pivotally coupled to the first wheel mount at a tilt axis located closer to the skating surface than the first rotational axis.

5. The system of claim 1 wherein the first wheel mount is configured to rotatably hold a first plurality of wheels including the first wheel.

6. The system of claim 1 further comprising a second wheel mount adapted to rotatably hold a second wheel about a second rotational axis, the second wheel mount pivotally attached to the mounting plate so as to permit the mounting plate to tilt laterally.

7. The system of claim 6 wherein the second wheel mount is configured to rotatable hold a second plurality of wheels including the second wheel.

8. The system of claim 6 further comprising a forward brake mount and a rear break mount, the forward brake mount pivotally attached to the first wheel mount and adapted to hold a forward brake pad, the rear break mount pivotally attached to the second wheel mount and adapted to hold a rear brake pad.

9. The system of claim 6 further comprising: a support member fixedly attached to the mounting plate, the support member disposed between the first and second wheel mounts and pivotally attached to both the first and second wheel mounts about a bore formed through the support member; a rod including a forward portion attached to the first wheel mount and a rear portion attached to the second wheel mount, the rod extending through the bore formed through the support member.

10. The system of claim 9 further comprising a tilt sensitivity adjustment device configured to control resistance of the mounting plate to tilting laterally.

11. The system of claim 10 wherein the tilt sensitivity adjustment device includes a threaded member in thread engagement with the rear portion of the rod, the threaded member configured to be rotated so as to move axially in relation to the rod, the threaded member further configured to push the second wheel mount toward the first wheel mount, thereby altering compression applied by the first and second wheel mounts to the support member.

12. The system of claim 1 wherein the mounting plate has a normal orientation in which the first side brake pad does not engage the skating surface; the system further comprising a biasing device configured to urge the mounting plate to the normal orientation when the mounting plate is tilted laterally away from the normal orientation.

13. The system of claim 12 wherein the biasing device comprises a spring member having a first end constrained within a slot formed in the mounting plate and a second end fixedly attached to the first wheel mount, the first end configured to move within the slot.

14. The system of claim 12 wherein the biasing device comprises at least one flat plate formed of a resilient material configured to flex so as to allow the mounting plate to tilt laterally.

15. A skate braking system comprising: a first wheel mount adapted to rotatably hold a first wheel about a rotational axis; a mounting plate pivotally attached to the first wheel mount so as to allow the mounting plate to tilt about a tilt axis oriented at an angle from the rotational axis, the mounting plate having normal orientation in relation to the first wheel mount; and a side brake mount adapted to hold a side brake pad for engaging a skating surface contacting the first wheel, the side brake mount coupled to the mounting plate such that the side brake pad does not engage the skating surface when the mounting plate is in the normal orientation and engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted away from the normal orientation.

16. The system of claim 15 wherein the tilt axis is located at a first distance from the slating surface, and the second rotational axis is located at a second distance from the skating surface, the second distance greater than or equal to the first distance.

17. The system of claim 15 wherein the mounting plate has a longitudinal axis substantially perpendicular to the rotational axis of the first wheel, the longitudinal axis being parallel to the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted away from the normal orientation.

18. The system of claim 15 further comprising a foot platform and the mounting plate forms part of the foot platform.

19. The system of claim 15 further comprising: a second wheel mount adapted to rotatably hold a second wheel about a second rotational axis, the second wheel mount pivotally attached to the mounting plate so as to permit the mounting plate to tilt about the tilt axis; a support member fixedly attached to the mounting plate, the support member disposed between the first and second wheel mounts and pivotally attached to both the first and second wheel mounts about a bore formed through the support member; and a rod including a forward portion attached to the first wheel mount and a rear portion attached to the second wheel mount, the rod extending through the bore formed through the support member.

20. The system of claim 15 further comprising a spring member having a first end loosely attached to the mounting plate and a second end fixedly attached to the first wheel mount, the spring member configured to urge the mounting plate to the normal orientation when the mounting plate is tilted away from the normal orientation.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/731,581, filed Oct. 31, 2005, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to wheeled skates, and in particular, to wheeled skates with brakes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many people find it difficult to learn how to use wheeled skates, such as roller skates and in-line skates. Being able to slow down and stop is critical to maintaining control in order to avoid obstacles and prevent injury. A common technique for slowing down and stopping, referred to as a “T-stop,” requires that the skater balance himself or herself on one skate while still moving forward, and positioning the other skate backward to form a ninety degree angle with the forward moving skate. In a “V-stop,” the skater uses both feet to form a V-shape so that the skates converge onto each other, or diverge from each other, in order to slow down and eventually stop. Both T-stops and V-stops feel awkward to a novice skater, which makes these techniques difficult to master. Also, these techniques may not allow a skater traveling at a high speed to slow down and stop within a short distance.

Various types of brakes have been developed to help the skater slow down and stop. Conventional roller skates have a forward brake pad, known as a toe stop, which can be dragged on the ground. To use the toe stop, the skater shifts most or his or her weight on one skate while moving forward, and positions the other skate backward and slants it so that the rear wheels are lifted off the ground. Rear brake pads or heel stops have also been attached to in-line skates or roller blades. With a heel stop, the skater positions the “braking” skate forward and slants it so that the forward wheels are lifted off the ground.

Braking systems have also been developed with a brake pad that engages a wheel to effect slowing down and stopping. Such braking systems may require special wheels or brake disks connected to the wheels, or may require the cuff of a tall boot to be used to engage the brake pad. These braking systems also may not allow the skater traveling at high speed to slow down and stop quickly.

In-line skates with side-mounted brakes are also known and may be used to effect a “hockey stop” or “side stop,” a technique analogous to that used by ice skaters to stop. With known skates having a side-mounted brake, the skater must shift much of his or her weight to one side or tilt the wheels of the skate at an angle to the ground, which can feel awkward or uncomfortable.

A need exists for a braking system that can be used with a variety of foot platforms, such as a shoe, boot, or a board. A need also exists for a braking system that can be used with conventional wheels and with readily available stops or brake pads. A need also exists for a braking system that allows the skater to slow down or stop quickly with a natural and relaxed motion. A need also exists for a braking system that can be easily adjusted to suit a skater's skating style or skill level.

The features and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood from the following detailed description which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly and in general terms, the present invention is directed to skate braking system that can be used with roller skates, in-line skates, skate boards, and other types of wheeled skates to allow the rider to slow down or stop. The braking system comprises a first wheel, a mounting plate, and a first side brake mount. The first wheel mount is adapted to rotatably hold a first wheel about a first rotational axis. The mounting plate is pivotally attached to the first wheel mount so as to permit the mounting plate tilt. The first side brake mount is adapted to hold a first side brake pad for engaging a skating surface contacting the first wheel. The first side brake mount is coupled to the mounting plate such that the side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted.

In other aspects of the present invention, the first side brake mount is adjustably coupled to the mounting plate. The first side brake mount has an adjustment device configured to selectively secure the first side brake mount to the mounting plate in a plurality of orientations including a first orientation in which the first side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted through a first angle, and a second orientation in which the first side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted through a second angle less than the first angle.

Other aspects of the invention may further comprise a second side brake mount adapted to hold a second side brake pad for engaging the skating surface. The second side brake mount is coupled to the mounting plate such that the second side brake pad engages the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted in a direction opposite the first direction.

In detailed aspects, the mounting plate may be pivotally coupled to the first wheel mount at a tilt axis located closer to the skating surface than the first rotational axis. The system may further comprise a support member and a rod. The support member is fixedly attached to the mounting plate, is disposed between the first and second wheel mounts, and is pivotally attached to both the first and second wheel mounts about a bore formed through the support member. The rod includes a rod including a forward portion attached to the first wheel mount and a rear portion attached to the second wheel mount. The rod extends through the bore formed through the support member.

The braking system may, in further aspects, comprise a tilt sensitivity adjustment device that includes a threaded member in thread engagement with the rear portion of the rod. Preferably, the threaded member is configured to be rotated so as to move axially in relation to the rod. The threaded member is preferably further configured to push the second wheel mount toward the first wheel mount, thereby altering compression applied by the first and second wheel mounts to the support member.

In yet other aspects of the present invention, the mounting plate has a normal orientation in which the first side brake pad does not engage the skating surface, and the braking system further comprises a biasing device configured to urge the mounting plate to the normal orientation when the mounting plate is tilted laterally away from the normal orientation. Preferably, the biasing device comprises a spring member having a first end constrained within a slot formed in the mounting plate and a second end fixedly attached to the first wheel mount. The first end of the spring member is configured to move within the slot. The biasing device may comprise at least one flat plate formed of a resilient material configured to flex so as to allow the mounting plate to tilt laterally.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is perspective view of a skate braking system showing a first and second wheel mount, a mounting plate a pivotally attached to the wheel mounts, side brake mounts adjustably coupled to the mounting plate, a forward brake mount adjustably coupled to the forward wheel mount, and a rear brake mount adjustably coupled to the rear brake mount.

FIG. 2 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of the skate braking system of FIG. 1 showing forward and support members connecting the mounting plate to the forward and rear wheel mounts, a longitudinally extending rod about which the support members and mounting plate may tilt relative to the wheel mounts, a biasing device configured to urge the mounting plate to have a normal position and comprising forward and rear spring members, a threaded bolt for adjusting resistance to tilting.

FIG. 3 is a lateral cross-sectional view of the skate braking system of FIG. 1 at line 3-3 showing the mounting plate in the normal position, a tilt axis at which the mounting plate is pivotally connected to the wheel mounts and about which the mounting plate may tilt, pivot points about which the side brake mounts may be pivoted to adjust the height level of the side brake pads.

FIG. 4 is a lateral cross-sectional view of the skate braking system of FIG. 1 showing the mounting plate tilted in a lateral direction away from the normal position, the forward spring member being flexed, and the second side brake pad engaging the skating surface when the mounting plate is tilted at an angle in relation to the wheel mounts.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now in more detail to the exemplary drawings for purposes of illustrating embodiments of the invention, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding or like elements among the several views, there is shown in FIG. 1, a perspective view of a skate braking system 10 comprising a mounting plate 12 having an upper surface 14 adapted to be attached to or be part of a foot platform. Attachment can be rigid or flexible, and may incorporate a spring, hydraulic device, or shock absorbing device. As used herein, a foot platform is any structure on which the foot of a rider may be located. Examples of a foot platform include without limitation a shoe, a boot, or a board, or foot straps. The mounting plate 12 has a forward end 16, a rear end 18, and a longitudinal axis 20 that extends along the length of the plate from the forward end to the rear end. In other embodiments, the foot platform and the mounting plate 12 are integrally formed with each other as a unitary structure. As explained in detail below, the mounting plate 12 is configured to tilt laterally about a tilt axis 114 (FIG. 2) that is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis.

The braking system 10 includes a forward wheel mount 22 adapted to rotatably hold a forward left wheel 24 having a first rotational axis 26 that extends laterally. The forward wheel mount 22 is also configured to hold a forward right wheel 28 along the first rotational axis so as to be coaxial with the forward left wheel. The braking system 10 also includes a rear wheel mount 32 adapted to rotatably hold a rear left wheel 34 having a second rotational axis 36 that also extends laterally. The rear wheel mount 32 is also configured to hold a rear right wheel 38 along the second rotational axis so as to be coaxial with the rear left wheel. The rotational axes of the wheels are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 20 and the tilt axis 114 of the mounting plate 12. It is to be understood that the wheels are oriented to roll in a generally longitudinal direction 21. As described in detail below, the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32 are pivotally attached to the mounting plate 12 so as to permit the mounting plate to tilt laterally about the tilt axis 114 relative to a skating surface 28 (FIG. 2) contacting the wheels. As used herein, to tilt laterally includes tilting toward the left or the right side the mounting plate 12.

Other embodiments of the present invention may have only one wheel mount configured to rotatably hold a plurality of wheels or may have more than two wheel mounts each configured to rotatably hold one or more wheels. In some embodiments, the wheels are arranged front-to-back, not side-to-side, in a manner similar or identical to in-line skates. The wheels may, in other embodiments, have a spherical, hemispherical, or other shape.

In FIG. 2 there is shown a cross-sectional view of the braking system 10 along the longitudinal axis 20 of the mounting plate 12. The mounting plate 12 is shown connected to the base of a skate boot 120. The forward wheel mount 22 is coupled to the forward end 16 of the mounting plate 12 by a forward spring member 40 having a top end 42 and a bottom end 44. The rear wheel mount 32 is similarly coupled to the rear end 16 of the mounting plate 12 by a rear spring member 46 having a top end 4 and a bottom end 50. The top ends 42, 48 of the forward and rear spring members 40, 46 are loosely attached to the mounting plate so as to be constrained with limited freedom of movement within slots 110, 112 formed in the forward and rear ends 16, 28, respectively, of the mounting plate 12. The bottom ends 44, 50 are fixedly attached to the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32, respectively. In use, little or no downward column force is applied to the spring members since the top ends 42, 48 of the spring members 40, 46 are loosely attached to the mounting plate 12. In other embodiments, the method of attachment may be reversed such one or both of the top ends 42, 48 is fixedly attached to the mounting plate 12 and the corresponding bottom end is loosely attached to the wheel mount.

The forward and rear spring members 40, 46 are each preferably formed of a flat piece of resilient material configured to flex so as to allow the mounting plate 12 to tilt to one side or the other while the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32 and the wheels 24, 30, 34, 38 maintain their orientation relative to the skating surface 28. Suitable examples of a resilient material include without limitation metals, elastomers, plastics, fiber reinforced composites, and combinations thereof. The spring members 40,46 are shown in FIG. 2 at their natural, unflexed state. The spring members 40, 46 act as a biasing device that urges the mounting plate 12 to return to its normally upright orientation relative to the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32. In operation, pressure applied by the foot of the rider on a selected side of the mounting plate 12 causes the mounting plate to pivot or tilt to the selected side of the mounting plate.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, the top ends 42, 48 of the forward and rear spring members 40, 46 are disposed in forward and rear slots 110, 112 formed in the mounting plate 12. The slots 110, 112 allow the forward and rear spring members 40, 46 to shift slightly in position within the mounting plate 12 as the forward and rear spring members flex to one side or another. As the mounting plate 12 tilts in one lateral direction, the forward and rear spring members 40, 46 will tend to pull slightly out of the slots 110, 112 while simultaneously pushing the mounting plate 12 in the opposite lateral direction. The slots 110, 112 preferably have a width selected to allow multiple layers of the resilient material to be combined as desired by the rider to adjust the flexibility of the forward spring member 40, the rear spring member 46, or both.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the forward wheel mount 22 includes a forward brake support 124. A forward brake mount 126 is pivotally attached to the forward brake support 124 and is secured in a selected position by a spring loaded adjustment device having a forward adjustment pin 128 that extends through the forward brake mount and into one of a plurality of apertures 130 in the forward brake support. The forward brake mount 126 is configured to hold a forward brake pad 132. An adjustment knob 134 is connected to the forward adjustment pin to allow a rider to quickly and easily change the position of the forward brake mount 126 so as to adjust the height level of the forward brake pad 132 relative to the skating surface 28.

The rear wheel mount 32 includes a rear brake support 136. A rear brake mount 138 is pivotally attached to the rear brake support 136 and is secured in a selected position by a spring loaded adjustment device having a rear adjustment pin 140 that extends through the rear brake mount and into one of a plurality of apertures 142 in the rear brake support. The rear brake mount 138 is configured to hold a rear brake pad 144. An adjustment knob 146 is connected to the rear adjustment pin to allow a rider to quickly and easily change the position of the rear brake mount 138 so as to adjust the height level of the rear brake pad 144 relative to the skating surface 28. In other embodiments, the forward and rear brake mounts 126, 138 may be secured in selected positions by other types of devices known in the art, such as a threaded bolt.

The forward brake pad 132 engages the skating surface 28 when the rider slants the mounting plate 12 forward, such as when the rear wheels 34, 38 are raised above the skating surface. The rear brake pad 144 engages the skating surface 28 when the rider slants the mounting plate 12 backward, such as when the forward wheels 24, 30 are raised above the skating surface. It will be appreciated that since the forward and rear brake pads 132, 144 move with the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32, respectively, the forward and rear brake pads do not necessarily engage the skating surface when the mounting plate 12 is tilted laterally.

In FIG. 3 there is shown a cross-sectional view of the braking system 10 along line 3-3 in FIG. 1. The mounting plate 12 is pivotally attached to the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32 at a tilt point located on the tilt axis 114. The mounting plate 12 is able to tilt laterally about the tilt axis 114. The tilt axis 114 is closer to the skating surface 28 than the rotational axis 26 of the forward wheels 24, 30. In other embodiments, the tilt axis 114 may be at the same height level as the rotational axis 26.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the braking system 10 further comprises a first side brake mount 52 adapted to hold a first side brake pad 54 for engaging the skating surface 28. The braking system also includes a second side brake mount 56 adapted to hold a second side brake pad 58 for engaging the skating surface 28. The first and second side brake mounts include threaded bolts 55, 57 or other retaining device for securing the first and second side brake pads 54, 58. The side, forward, and rear brake pads 54, 58, 132, 144 may take the form of conventional stops or other configurations. In other embodiments, they may have a hemispherical, oval, conical, or other shape, and they may have sizes and shapes different from each other.

As described in detail below, the first side brake mount 52 is coupled to the mounting plate 12 such that the attached first side brake pad 54 engages the skating surface when the mounting plate 12 is tilted in a first lateral direction 148. The second side brake mount 56 is coupled to the mounting plate 12 such that the attached second side brake pad 58 engages the skating surface when the mounting plate 12 is tilted in a second lateral direction 149 opposite the first direction.

Referring to FIGS. 1-3, the first and second side brake mounts 52, 56 are coupled to the mounting plate 12 by a forward support member 60, a rear support member 62, and a spacer 64 disposed between the support members 60, 62. The forward support member 60 has a top portion 66 fixedly attached to the mounting plate 12 and a bottom portion 68 pivotally attached by a cylindrical rod 70 to the forward and rear brake mounts 22, 32. The rear support member 62 has a top portion 72 fixedly attached to the mounting plate 12 and a bottom portion 74 pivotally attached by the rod 70 to the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32. The rod 70 extends through a bore 71 formed in each of the forward wheel mount 22, the bottom portion 68 of the forward support member 60, the spacer 64, the bottom portion 74 of the rear support member 62, and the rear wheel mount 22, 32. Each bore 71 through the various parts is oriented to run longitudinally in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis 20 of the mounting plate 12, so that the rod 70 and the tilt axis 114 are parallel to the longitudinal axis. In other embodiments, the bore 71 may run at an angle from the longitudinal axis 70, so that tilt axis 114 is oriented at an angle from the longitudinal axis.

With particular reference to FIG. 2, the rod 70 has a forward portion 76 and a rear portion 78. The forward portion 76 extends into a bore 80 formed in the forward wheel mount 22 and the rear portion 78 extends into a bore 82 formed in the rear wheel mount 32. The rod 70 is fixedly attached to the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32 by laterally extending pins 84, 86 that prevent the wheel mounts from rotating about the rod. Preferably, the forward and rear support members 60, 62 and the spacer 64 are able to rotate together about the rod 70. In other embodiments, the forward and rear support members 60, 62 and the spacer 64 are integrally formed as a single, unitary support member.

In other embodiments, a bearing or other friction-reducing device is disposed around the rod 70 to facilitate rotation of the forward and rear support members 60, 62 and the spacer 64. In use, increased pressure applied by the rider on any one side of the mounting plate 12 causes the forward and rear support members 60, 62 and the spacer 64 to tilt along with the mounting plate while the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32 and the wheels maintain their upright orientation relative to the skating surface 28.

Preferably, the forward and rear support members 60, 62, and not the forward and rear spring members 40, 46, bear all or most of the weight of the rider. That is, the forward and rear support members communicate the weight of the rider from the mounting plate 12 to wheel mounts 22, 32 and to the wheels. Because the support members 60, 62 bear all or most of the weight of the rider, little or no downward force is applied to the spring members 40, 46 when they are flexed. In this way, the spring members 40, 46 will not buckle due to downward compression during use.

The rod 70 defines the tilt axis 114 (FIG. 2) about which the mounting plate 12 may be tilted relative to the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32. The tilt axis 114 is positioned at a short distance from the skating surface 28, preferably though not necessarily below the rotational axes 26, 36 of the wheels 24, 30, 34, 38. In other embodiments, the tilt axis 114 is located so as to be level with or above the rotational axes. A short distance from the skating surface, corresponding to relatively low location for the rod 70 and the tilt axis 114, provides for greater stability. “Jack knifing” or overall buckling of the braking system 10 occurs under certain circumstances when the wheel mounts 22, 32 tilt to one side and because the tilt axis 114 is relatively high, the downward force due to the weight of the rider is centered away from the wheels so as to urge the wheel mounts to tilt further to one side until the wheel mounts have completely tilted over onto the skating surface. Jack knifing is less likely to occur when the tilt axis 114 is relatively low since the downward force due to the weight of the rider is centered closer to the wheels, which would influence the wheel mounts to return to an upright orientation.

A relatively low location for the rod 70 and thus, the tilt axis 114, also allows for the side brake pads 54, 58 to be positioned closer to the wheels so as to be unobtrusive. The side brake pads 54, 58 would be obtrusive and possibly interfere with skating if they extend too far beyond either side of the wheels. A relatively high location for the tilt axis 114 requires that a side brake pad be positioned further to one side of the wheels in order for the side brake pad to engage the skating surface 28 when the mounting plate 12 is tilted at a given angle. It will be appreciated that a low location for the tilt axis 114 allows a side brake pad, at a given distance from the wheels, to engage the skating surface with less rotation of the mounting plate 12 as compared to a relatively high location for the tilt axis.

Referring to FIG. 3, the first and second side brake mounts 52, 56 are adjustably coupled to the mounting plate 12. The first side brake mount 52 has a central arm 90 that is pivotally attached to the spacer 64 at a first pivot point 92. At another point spaced apart from the first pivot point, the first side brake mount is attached to the forward support member 60 by a spring loaded adjustment device having an adjustment pin 94 that extends through the first side brake mount and into one of a first plurality of apertures 96 formed in the forward support member. Although not shown in FIG. 3, the first side brake mount is also attached to the rear support member 62 by another spring loaded adjustment device having an adjustment pin that extends through the first side brake mount and into one of another plurality of apertures formed in the rear support member. In use, the adjustment pins on the first side brake mount may be selectively pulled in and out of the apertures in the forward and rear support members so as to allow adjustment of the height level of the first side brake pad 54 relative to the skating surface 28. The adjustment pin 92 is attached to a knob 99 for pushing the adjustment pin 94 out of an aperture.

Still referring to FIG. 3, the second side brake mount 56 has a first arm 98 that is pivotally attached to the forward support member 60 at a second pivot point 100. Although not shown in FIG. 3, the second side brake mount has a second arm that is pivotally attached to the rear support member 62 at a third pivot point that is longitudinally in-line or coaxial with the second pivot point 100. At another point spaced apart from the second pivot point, the second side brake mount is attached to the forward support member by a spring loaded adjustment device having an adjustment pin 102 that extends through the first side brake mount and into one of a second plurality of apertures 104 formed in the forward support member. Although not shown in FIG. 3, the second side brake mount is also attached to the rear support member 62 by another spring loaded adjustment device having a pin that extends through the second side brake mount and into one of yet another plurality of apertures formed in the rear support member. In use, the adjustment pins on the second side brake mount may be selectively pulled in and out of the apertures in the forward and rear support members so as to adjust the height level of the second side brake pad 58 relative to the skating surface 28. The adjustment pin 102 is attached to a knob 106 for pulling the adjustment pin 102 out of an aperture. In other embodiments, threaded bolts or other retaining devices may secure the first and second side brake mounts at an orientation selected by the rider.

It will be appreciated that first and second side brake mounts 52, 56 can be easily and quickly secured in a plurality of orientations corresponding to different height levels from the skating surface. With a relatively low height level, the side brake pads 54, 48 on the brake mounts will engage the skating surface 28 after traveling through a relatively small angle when a rider applies foot pressure to one or the other side of the mounting plate 12. With a relatively high height level, the brake pads on the brake mounts will engage the skating surface after traveling through a relatively large angle when the rider applies foot pressure to one or the other side of the mounting plate 12. It will be appreciated that the height level of the first and second brake mounts may be adjusted independently of one another to suit the type of skating surface or to suit the skill level or skating style of the rider. In addition, the height level may be adjusted to compensate for a brake pad wearing out through use.

With continued reference to FIG. 3, the first pivot point 92 of the first side brake mount 52 is spaced apart from the second pivot point 100 of the second side brake mount 56. The location of the first and second pivot points 92, 100 are selected such a change in the angular position of the side brake mount corresponds to the same or a similar change in the mounting plate tilt angle that is necessary to cause the side brake mount to engage the skating surface. In other embodiments, the first and second pivot points 92, 100 may coincide.

In other embodiments, spring-type devices, resilient pads, or shock absorbing devices attach any number of the side, forward, and rear brake pads 54, 58, 132, 144 to the side brake mounts 52, 56, 126, 138 so that, when the either brake pad contacts the skating surface 28, a downward force applied by the brake pad on the skating surface increases gradually as the mounting plate 12 is tilted further by the rider. In this way, friction with the skating surface increases gradually. In part, the shock absorbing devices allow for gradual or smooth braking and desirably prevent an overly sudden stop from occurring when the brake pad first contacts the skating surface 28. In other embodiments, the side, forward, and rear brake pads 54, 58, 132, 144 are adapted to rotate, either freely spinning or with some resistance to spinning, so as not to jar the skater while in a turning or stopping motion.

Referring once again to FIG. 2, the forward portion 76 of the rod 70 is attached to the forward wheel mount 22 by a forward pin 84 extending through apertures formed through the forward portion and through the forward wheel mount such that longitudinal movement of the forward wheel mount relative to the rod is prevented. The rear portion 78 of the rod 70 is attached to the rear wheel mount 32 by a rear pin 86 extending through an aperture formed through the rear portion and a slot through the rear wheel mount such that longitudinal movement of the rear wheel mount relative to the rod is limited but not prevented. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the rear pin 86 extends from the rod 70 and into a slot 88 formed through the rear wheel mount 32. The slot 88 is larger than the rear pin 86 so as to allow some longitudinal movement that is controlled by a threaded member or bolt 108 within the rear wheel mount 32.

The bolt 108 engages a shoulder of a counterbore formed in the rear wheel mount 32 and engages a threaded bore in the rear portion 78 of the rod 70. The bolt 108 is coupled to the forward wheel mount 22 by means of the rod 70 and forward pin 84. The head of the bolt 108 is accessible from the counterbore on the rear wheel mount 32. The bolt 108 may be selectively tightened or loosened to adjust the compression force between the forward and rear wheel mounts 22, 32. When tightened, the head of the bolt 108 pushes the rear wheel mount 32 toward the forward rear mount 22, thereby increasing the compression force. The compression force acts on the forward and rear support members 60, 62 and the spacer 64 on which the first and second side brake mounts 52, 56 are mounted. In part, the rod 70 and bolt 108 act as a tilt sensitivity adjustment device for changing the sensitivity of the braking system 10 to actions of the rider. By rotating the bolt 108 and causing it to move axially relative to the rod 70, the rider may control the resistance of the mounting plate 12 against lateral tilting. With a relatively high compression force, the braking system is less sensitive in that a rider must apply a relatively high pressure on the mounting plate 12 in order to tilt either of the first and second side brake mounts 52, 56 toward the skating surface 28. With a relatively low compression force, the braking system is more sensitive in that the rider need apply a relatively low pressure on the mounting plate 12 in order to tilt either of the first and second side brake mounts toward the skating surface.

Referring next to FIG. 4, the mounting plate 12 has been rotated about the tilt axis 114 in a lateral direction 149 away from a normal orientation of the mounting plate 12 shown in FIGS. 1-3. The second side brake pad 58 has been secured in a selected orientation or height level. The longitudinal axis 20 of the mounting plate 12 remains parallel to the skating surface 28 while the mounting plate is tilted through a first angle 150 at which the second side brake pad 58 engages the skating surface. The forward spring member 40 is flexed laterally and urges the mounting plate 12 to move in an opposite lateral direction 148 and return to the normal position. The forward wheel mount 22, the forward brake pad 132, and the forward left and right wheels 24, 30 maintain their upright orientation on the skating surface 28 while the mounting plate 12 is tilted laterally. Although not visible in FIG. 4, the rear wheel mount 32, rear brake pad 144, and the rear left and right wheels 34, 38 also maintain their upright orientation on the skating surface. It will be appreciated that when the second side brake pad 58 is secured at a lower orientation or height level, the second side brake pad will engage the skating surface 28 after the mounting plate 12 is tilted through a second angle that is less than the first angle.

While several particular forms of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will also be apparent that various modifications can be made. A non-limiting example of a modification includes the use of other types of wheel mounts, such as trucks used on skates and skateboards. Another non-limiting example of modifications includes the use of other types of biasing devices for urging the mounting plate to the normal orientation, such as torsion springs and resilient pads formed of elastomeric material. It is also contemplated that various combinations or subcombinations of the specific features and aspects of the disclosed embodiments can be combined with or substituted for one another in order to form varying modes of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the scope of the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.