Title:
BIKE RACK
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A bike rack having a plurality of bike supports arranged symmetrically about a vertical axis. The bike supports include an upper portion with a V-shaped cross-section. A valance is disposed over each of the plurality of bike supports.


Inventors:
Ohlman, Vernon C. (Ada, MI, US)
Porter, William H. (Saugatuck, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/617827
Publication Date:
05/19/2011
Filing Date:
11/13/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/85.7, 29/897
International Classes:
A47F7/00; B21D47/00; E04H15/00
View Patent Images:
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Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bike rack comprising: a plurality of bike supports arranged symmetrically about a central vertical axis, wherein the bike supports include a channel with a V-shaped cross-section; and a valance disposed over each of the plurality of bike supports.

2. The bike rack of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of bike supports includes a base abutment.

3. The bike rack of claim 1, wherein the bike support includes a plurality of notches disposed in the V-shaped channel thereof.

4. The bike rack of claim 1, wherein the V-shaped channel is connected with a first support member and a second support member.

5. The bike rack of claim 1, further comprising: a lock bar fixedly attached to the bike support.

6. The bike rack of claim 1, further comprising: a support column disposed proximate the vertical axis.

7. The bike rack of claim 1, wherein adjacent valances that are disposed on the plurality of bike supports are connected at different heights.

8. A bike support, comprising: first and second support members disposed in a substantially vertical orientation, the first and second support members including a base abutment; and a channel disposed between the first and second support members, the channel including a V-shaped cross-section.

9. The bike support of claim 8, further comprising: a lock bar extending from one of the first and second support members.

10. The bike support of claim 8, wherein the channel includes a plurality of notches extending therethrough.

11. The bike support of claim 8, wherein the web includes first and second tire abutment members disposed at an angle between 50 degrees and 65 degrees.

12. The bike support of claim 8, further comprising: a center column operably connected to the bike support.

13. The bike support of claim 8, further comprising: a valance operably connected with and extending over the bike support.

14. The bike support of claim 8, further comprising: a connecting bracket adapted to secure the bike support in a substantially vertical orientation.

15. A method of making a bike rack, the method comprising: forming a bike support with a V-shaped channel; extending a valance over the bike support; and forming a lower portion of the bike rack with a base abutment adapted to engage a rear bike tire.

16. The method of claim 15, the method further comprising: extending a tire prop from the base abutment.

17. The method of claim 16, the method further comprising: connecting multiple bike supports in a polygonal orientation.

18. The method of claim 17, the method further comprising: placing adjacent valances at different heights.

19. The method of claim 18, the method further comprising: connecting the multiple bike supports to a single support column.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the method of connecting multiple bike supports further comprises: connecting the multiple bike supports around one of a tree and a pole.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bike racks are used for temporarily storing bikes when the bikes are not in use.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention includes a bike rack having a plurality of bike supports arranged symmetrically about a vertical axis. The bike supports include a channel with a V-shaped cross-section. A valance is disposed over each of the plurality of bike supports.

Another aspect of the present invention includes a bike support having first and second support members disposed in a substantially vertical orientation. The first and second support members include a base abutment. A channel is disposed between the first and second support members. The channel includes a V-shaped cross-section.

Yet another aspect of the present invention includes a method of making a bike rack, including forming a bike support with a V-shaped channel. A valance is extended over the bike support. A lower portion of the bike rack is formed with a base abutment adapted to engage a rear bike tire.

These and other aspects, objects, and features of the present invention will be understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art upon studying the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of one embodiment of a bike rack of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the bike rack of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear top perspective view of one embodiment of a V-shaped channel of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a front top perspective view of the V-shaped channel of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a rear elevational view of the V-shaped channel of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the V-shaped channel of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a front elevational view of the V-shaped channel of FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a top perspective view of one embodiment of a base abutment portion of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the base abutment portion of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the base abutment portion of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of the base abutment portion of FIG. 8;

FIG. 12 is a top perspective view of one embodiment of a valance of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of the valance of FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a rear elevational view of the valance of FIG. 12;

FIG. 15 is a side elevational view of the valance of FIG. 12;

FIG. 16 is a top rear perspective exploded view of one embodiment of a bike support of the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a top rear perspective view of the bike support of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a top front perspective view of the bike support of FIG. 17 with the valance removed and with a bike resting on the bike support;

FIG. 19 is a front perspective view of multiple bike racks arranged in a vertical orientation and adjacent to one another;

FIG. 20 is a top perspective view of the bike rack, including a plurality of bike supports arranged concentrically and symmetrically;

FIG. 21 is a side elevational view of the bike rack of FIG. 20;

FIG. 22 is a fastening mechanism that aligns and supports the bike supports in a concentric symmetrical relationship;

FIG. 23 is a top plan view of the fastening mechanism of FIG. 22;

FIG. 24 is a top perspective exploded view of a portion of the fastening mechanism of FIG. 22;

FIG. 25 is a side elevational view of one embodiment of a bike rack, also serving as a tree cage;

FIG. 26 is a top perspective view of a support column;

FIG. 27 is a top plan view of one embodiment of a top plate;

FIG. 28 is a top perspective view of the top plate of FIG. 27;

FIG. 29 is a top rear exploded perspective view of two adjoining bike supports;

FIG. 30 is a partial bottom perspective view of an upper portion of a bike rack;

FIG. 31 is a bottom perspective view of two bike supports with staggered heights connected to a support column;

FIG. 32 is a top plan view of one embodiment of a valance arrangement;

FIG. 33 is a top plan view of another valance arrangement;

FIG. 34 is a top plan view of another valance arrangement;

FIG. 35 is a top plan view of another valance arrangement;

FIG. 36 is a top plan view of another valance arrangement; and

FIG. 37 is a top perspective view of one embodiment of a fully assembled bike rack.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper,” “lower,” “right,” “left,” “rear,” “front,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are simply exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.

Referring to FIG. 1, the reference numeral 10 generally designates a bike rack having a plurality of bike supports 12 arranged symmetrically about a vertical axis 14. The bike supports 12 include a V-shaped channel 16. A valance 18 is disposed over each of the plurality of bike supports 12.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the illustrated embodiment includes eight arcuate bike supports 12 spaced equidistantly about the central vertical axis 14 designed to support a bike 19 with a front tire 21 and a rear tire 23. It is contemplated that any number of bike supports 12 could be arranged in any symmetrical or non-symmetrical pattern to form the bike rack 10. For example, the bike supports 12 can be arranged linearly, curvilinearly, polygonally, etc. The bike supports 12 include a lower end 20 having a base abutment 22 and an upper end 25 connected to the valance 18. Each bike support 12 includes first and second elongate and arcuately-shaped support members 24, 26 (FIG. 2). The V-shaped channel 16 extends between the first and second support members 24, 26 with a vertex 32 (FIG. 16) of the V-shaped channel 16 extending away from the first and second support members 24, 26. The V-shaped channel 16 includes a plurality of notches 34 (FIG. 3) extending laterally and equally spaced longitudinally along the V-shaped channel 16. The V-shaped channel 16 extends downward to the base abutment 22. In the illustrated embodiment, the V-shaped channel 16 does not extend to the valance 18, but rather terminates approximately two-thirds of the way up the first and second support members 24, 26. Each bike support 12 includes a lock bar 40 that extends from one of the first and second support members 24, 26.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-7, the V-shaped channel 16 has an arcuate design that closely follows the arcuate shape of the first and second support members 24, 26. A top end 50 and bottom end 52 of the V-shaped channel 16 include tabs 54 designed to secure the V-shaped channel 16 to the first and second support members 24, 26. It is conceived that any number of notches 34 may be disposed in the V-shaped channel 16. It is also conceived that no notches 34 may be placed in the V-shaped channel 16. The V-shaped channel 16 also includes first and second side flanges 56, 58 that extend laterally away from the V-shaped channel 16. The side flanges 56, 58 abut the first and second support members 24, 26. The V-shaped channel 16 includes first and second tire abutment members 60, 62 angled approximately 60 degrees relative to one another. It is conceived that the angle may vary between 45 degrees and 75 degrees. The angle of the abutment members 60, 62 is an ideal angle for holding tires 21, 23 of the bike 19. The top end 50 and the bottom end 52 of the V-shaped channel 16 are designed to contact and laterally support the front tire 21 and rear tire 23 of the bike 19.

Referring now to FIGS. 8-11, the base abutment 22 includes a bike rest 70 that operably connects the bike support 12 with the base abutment 22. Each base abutment 22 also includes an upwardly extending tire prop 72 having a triangular cross-section. The tire prop 72 includes a height sufficient to maintain the bike 19 in a stored position in the V-shaped channel 16 at the desired bike angle of 60 degrees. The tire prop 72 is designed to abut the rear tire 23 of the bike 19 and assist a user in maintaining a vertical orientation on the bike 19 as the bike 19 is positioned on the bike support 12. In one embodiment, it is contemplated that the bike support 12 will maintain the bike 19 in approximately a 60 degree angle to the ground. However, it is contemplated that the angle of the bike 19 position relative to the ground could vary from 45 degrees to 75 degrees.

Referring now to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 12-15, each valance 18 has an arcuate shape with a forward engagement tab 80. The valance 18 includes first and second arcuate members 82, 84 with a roof web 86 disposed therebetween. The roof web 86 includes a plurality of connection joints 88 that connect the roof web 86 to the first and second arcuate members 82, 84. The valance 18 includes a proximate end 90 and a distal end 92. The width of the proximate end 90 is smaller than the width of the distal end 92. The engagement tab 80 is connected with the proximate end 90. It is conceived that the valance 18 could be connected to the bike rack 10 in any of a number of ways, and that the roof web 86 could include different constructions that allow connection of the roof web 86 to the first and second arcuate members 82, 84 in different manners. In the illustrated embodiment, the roof web 86 is constructed from sheet metal. However, it is contemplated that the roof web 86 may also be constructed from plastic or fabric.

Referring now to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 16, the bike support 12 is assembled by connecting the first and second support members 24, 26 with the base abutment 22. The V-shaped channel 16 is connected between the first and second support members 24, 26 by locating the tabs 54 of the V-shaped channel in slots 100 disposed in the support members 24, 26. Mechanical fasteners are secured at the upper end 25 of the first and second support members 24, 26, through a horizontal bar 104 and into first and second vertical spacers 106, 108, which attach to a horizontal spreader 110 fixedly attached to each of the arcuate members 82, 84 of the valance 18. In another embodiment, the spacers 106, 108 are eliminated to lower the height of the valance 18, as will be discussed in further detail below. The roof web 86 is generally secured between the first and second arcuate members 82, 84 prior to the valance 18 being installed on the bike support 12, however, it is contemplated that the roof web 86 could be installed after the first and second arcuate members 82, 84 are secured to the first and second support members 24, 26.

Referring now to FIGS. 17-19, the fully assembled bike support 12 extends in a vertical direction and may include a bracket 119 (FIG. 22) adapted to secure the bike support 12 to a support column 132, a wall, another bike support 12, etc. To insert the bike 19 into the bike support 12, a user lifts the front tire 21 of the bike 19 and places the front tire 21 of the bike 19 in abutting engagement with the V-shaped channel 16, while at the same time, placing the rear wheel 23 against the base abutment 22. The bike supports 12 may be spaced a predetermined distance apart adjacent to and supported on a vertical planar support, such as a wall. As shown in FIG. 20, the bike supports 12 are secured against the vertical wall by a bracket 119. In addition, the bike supports 12 are connected to the ground by mechanical fasteners that are secured through the base abutment 22 into the ground.

Referring now to FIGS. 21-25, the bike supports 12 are designed for arrangement in a concentric symmetrical pattern. The bike supports 12 may be welded at adjacent support members 24, 26, or may be secured to one another by a bracket system 122 made of adjoining brackets 119. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 29, the bike rack 10 may serve as a tree cage 124 which cannot protect trees, and at the same time provide an aesthetic and pleasing bike rack 10 available to store bikes 19.

Referring now to FIGS. 26-28, a top plate 130 is designed for connection with the support column 132. The support column 132 includes a base plate 133 that provides stability to the support column 132. The top plate 130 includes a plurality of extensions 134, each of which is designed to engage with the engagement tab 80 on the valance 18. It is conceived that any number of extensions 134 may be disposed about the top plate 130, and in the illustrated embodiment, there are eight extensions 134. As shown in FIG. 27, the valance 18 is connected to the top plate 134, which is in turn connected with the support column 132. The valance 18 is also connected with the top of a single bike support 12, as discussed in detail above.

Referring to FIGS. 29-31, the first and second support members 24, 26 are connected at a top end by the horizontal bar 104. The horizontal bar 104 is connected to the horizontal spreader 110, which extends across a midpoint of the valance 18 and which connects to the first and second arcuate members 82, 84 of the valance 18. Mechanical fasteners are also used to secure the engagement tab 80 of the valance to one of the extensions 134 of the top plate 130.

Referring again to FIGS. 29-31, the bike support 12 may include valances 18 positioned at staggered heights. To provide valances 18 at various heights, the vertical spacers 106, 108 are applied between the horizontal bar 104 and the horizontal spreader 110 disposed between the first and second support members 24, 26. Two spacers 140 are also applied between the engagement tab 80 and the top plate 130 disposed on the support column 132. To provide offset valances 18, the spacers 106, 108, 140 are used in every other bike support 12 to heighten every other valance 18.

Referring to FIGS. 32-36, it is contemplated that the valance 18 structure can include any number of arrangements, including a full 360 degree roof structure 150 (FIG. 32), a 270 degree roof structure 152 (FIG. 33), a 180 degree roof structure 154 (FIG. 34), a 90 degree roof structure 156 (FIG. 35), or even a 45 degree roof structure 158 for a single bike support 12 (FIG. 36).

Referring now to FIG. 37, the completed assembly provides an aesthetic appearance and efficient storage space for bikes 19. It is contemplated that the roof structure and the bike supports 12 may have varying designs, however, it is also contemplated that when the roof structure is a 360 degree roof structure, the bike rack 10 is a stand-alone item. It is to be understood that variations and modifications can be made on the aforementioned structure without departing from the concepts of the present invention, and further it is to be understood that such concepts are intended to be covered by the following claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.