Title:
Vertically rotatable bicycle storage rack
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a movable rack to which bicycles can be easily attached and raised up, off the floor, for storage or display purposes. Since movement of the rack lever is accomplished by a hand crank, battery power, or electricity, a child or small adult can use the invention to store or retrieve his/her bicycle.



Inventors:
Cheng, Dara (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/244841
Publication Date:
03/18/2004
Filing Date:
09/17/2002
Assignee:
CHENG DARA
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/100, 211/171
International Classes:
A47F7/00; B62H3/12; (IPC1-7): A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GIBSON, ROBERT W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eric Hanscom (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. a bicycle storage rack, comprising: a resilient, sturdy lever constructed to hold one or more bicycles, one or more hangers attached to said lever at regular intervals along said lever, said lever having a larger gear attached to one end, a mounting bracket to which said lever and said larger gear are attached by way of a crank rod, a means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket, a smaller gear meshed with said larger gear, wherein said smaller gear turns said larger gear to raise or lower said lever, and, optionally, when using the invention on a women's bicycle, a telescoping adaptor clamp designed for a women's bicycle,

2. The bicycle rack of claim 1 where, said hanger has attached to its end not attached to said lever a spreader bar at the end of which are two rotatable, swinging hooks for each bicycle intended to be held by said rack which are capable of hooking into the wheels or other parts of the bicycles and lifting said bicycles when lever is raised,

3. The hooks of claim 2 where, each said hook is padded by either a plastic coating or sleeve of material to prevent metal—metal contact and the attendant scraping of paint of the bicycle.

4. The bicycle rack of claim 1 where, said hanger has attached to its end not attached to said lever a clamp hanger, which can freely rotate, which, in turn, is attached to a clamp consisting of an upper clamp portion and a lower clamp portion, said upper clamp portion being welded or otherwise solidly attached to the clamp hanger, the two clamp portions being held together by a bolt, pop-rivet or other similar means of attachment on one side and a wing nut on the other.

5. The clamp portions of claim 4 where, each said clamp portion is padded by either a plastic coating or sleeve of material to prevent metal—metal contact and the attendant scraping of paint of the bicycle.

6. The means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket of claim 1 where, said means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket consists of holes in the back of said mounting bracket which allows said mounting bracket to be affixed in a solid and stable condition to a vertical wall, such as the side of a garage or the back of a motor home or other transportation vehicle,

7. The means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket of claim 1 where, said means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket consists of holes in the back of said mounting bracket which allows said mounting bracket to be attached to a stand, which is a sturdy, resilient piece of wood, metal, plastic or other similarly suitable material, said stand attaching at one end to said mounting bracket and having pre-drilled holes along its surface which allows it to be attached by way of bolts, screws or other similar means of attachment to a vertical wall, such as the side of a garage or the back of a motor home or other transportation vehicle,

8. The means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket of claim 1 where, said means of anchoring and stabilizing said mounting bracket consists of holes in the back of said mounting bracket which allows said mounting bracket to be attached to a stand, which is a sturdy, resilient piece of wood, metal, plastic or other similarly suitable material, said stand attaching at one end to said mounting bracket and having pre-drilled holes along its surface which allows it to be attached by way of bolts, screws or other similar means of attachment to a weighted block,

9. The weighted block of claim 8 where, said weighted block as its bottom a metal plate with pre-drilled holes which can be set over bolts and secured by nuts and washers or screwed into the floor with bolts or screws suitably strong to keep said rack from falling over in its various positions,

10. The weighted block of claim 8 where, said weighted block consists of a rectangular box with a cover, which not only is of suitable weight to stabilize the invention with said lever in all possible positions, but also where said rectangular box can serve to store items such as bicycle helmets, bicycles packs, and other like items,

11. The weighted block of claim 10 where, said weighted block has wheels or casters attached to its corner such that it can be moved around,

12. The smaller gear of claim 1 where, said smaller gear is driven by a hand crank attached to said anchoring pin,

13. The smaller gear of claim 1 where, said smaller gear is driven by a motor powered by battery or electrical power.

14. A telescoping adaptor clamp designed for a women's bicycle which consists of: A telescoping cylinder tube with one hollow cylinder fitting within another hollow cylinder of a slightly larger diameter, Where the cylinder tube is adjustable by having a spring embedded inside the smaller hollow cylinder which exerts constant pressure against the larger hollow cylinder, or with a clamping or tightening screw mechanism, or other adjustable mechanism, Where the diameter of the larger hollow cylinder is slightly smaller than the diameter of the lever clamp, and Two clamps, one at the end of each hollow cylinder, which consist of a clamp device tightened by wing nuts, which secure said telescoping adaptor clamp to the bars near the handlebar and seat portions of a women's bicycle.

15. The telescoping adaptor clamp of claim 14 where, said clamp is padded by either a plastic coating or sleeve of material to prevent metal—metal contact and the attendant scraping of paint of the bicycle.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] None.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] This invention was not federally sponsored.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0003] Bicycles have been a regular part of American life since the early 1900's. Due to their shape, bicycles remain one of the most difficult toys to store. There have been a number of methods of storage proposed. Most have involved a variety of racks or hooks onto which the bicycle is lifted, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,460,274 and the Conde Rack CR1-FS and CR1-WB. Because of the weight and unwieldy shape of the bicycle, frequently the only person who can effectively use this method of storage is a tall and fit adult, which leaves a child or small adult who wants access to his/her bicycle at all times stuck waiting for a tall adult to be available. Alternative methods include a wall-mounted stand onto which one or more bicycles are attached, where the bicycle can be moved up or down by hand power or through a pulley system, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,294,006 granted to Deschino, the Bicycle Rack Lean Machine by Stacks and Stacks and the Floor to Ceiling Rack by Branford Bikes. These methods of storage again require a user to be of adult size and strength, or, alternatively, require the using of a screwdriver or other time-consuming apparatus to raise and lower the bicycle. Other methods of storing bicycles, such as, by way of example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,700,845, granted to Fretter, U.S. Pat. No. 5,292,009 granted to Smith, or U.S. Pat. No. 5,449,074 granted to Paulson, involve a ceiling rack and/or hooks, onto which the bicycle is lifted, again, requiring a user to be of adult size and strong enough to lift his/her own bicycle to the rack. In short, none of the prior bicycle storage systems, to date, have effectively combined a method of successfully storing the bicycle off the floor and at the same time making retrieval of the bicycle easy for a person of small size and build.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0004] The present invention is directed to a movable rack to which bicycles can be easily attached and raised up, off the floor, for storage or display purposes.

[0005] It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a means by which a child or small adult can comfortably store his/her bicycle off the floor of a garage or other storage area.

[0006] It is a further object of this invention that the bicycle rack can be used by a bike retailer or rental company to display bikes in a safe and eye-pleasing manner at the same time saving valuable floor space.

[0007] Other and further objects and features of this invention will be apparent to one skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a bicycle rack showing the basic components of the invention, including a weighted block/storage box to provide stability, an upright stand to elevate a lever arm upon which one or more bicycles can hang, the lever arm being rotatable from a horizontal (access to bicycles) to vertical (storage or display) position by way of a cranking mechanism, which can be operated by hand, battery, or electricity.

[0009] FIG. 2 is an elevational view of the bicycle rack in its “down” position, showing an iteration with a lever arm which can store four bicycles.

[0010] FIG. 3 is an elevational view of another iteration of the bicycle rack, in the “up” or “storage” position, showing how the bicycle rack could be attached to a wall by means of bolts, nails, or screws.

[0011] FIG. 4 is an elevational view of another iteration of the bicycle rack, showing two concepts: first, how the weight block/storage device and support stand can be bolted to the crank/lever apparatus; second, an alternative design for the lever which holds the bicycles.

[0012] FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the bicycle rack showing two main concepts: first, how a bicycle rack without a weighted block to provide stability can be bolted, nailed, or screwed directly into a wall; second, how clamping devices which hold the bicycles in place can be used as an alternative to the hooks show in FIG. 1.

[0013] FIG. 6 is a partial, side view of a hanger which connects the lever arm to the extender arm/clamp device.

[0014] FIG. 7 is an elevational view of an adaptor for women's bicycles designed to attach by way of clamps from the seat to the handlebars, thereby providing a bar to which the bicycle can be attached to the clamp coming off the lever.

[0015] FIG. 8 is a partial, elevational view of a lever showing a series of hangers of different lengths attached at regular intervals along with hanger, with each hanger having a sequentially longer length the further the hanger located away from the crank mechanism, thereby allowing the bicycles be stored in a space-efficient manner.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] The present invention is directed to a bicycle rack capable of storing one or more bicycles above the ground. The rack is designed to be easily raised and lowered by a child or small adult by means of a gear assembly which is interposed between a lever arm to which the bicycles are attached and an upright post which serves to anchor the bicycle rack.

[0017] Referring to the drawings, and particularly to FIG. 1, and, for different iterations, FIGS. 2-5, the invention consists of an upright post which serves to anchor the bicycle rack. This upright post can be bolted or screwed vertically into a wall or attached by way of brackets to a bumper of a motor home, or attached to a plate which rests against the floor and is heavy enough to safely hold the bicycles in the lever's upright position without creating a danger that the bicycle rack will fall over.

[0018] Attached to the upright post is a lever, which can be raised or lowered by means of a mechanical gear. The lever can be of various lengths, capable of holding one to numerous bicycles. Limiting the length of the lever will be the ceiling height and the ability of the upright post and its method of stability to hold the lever and its bicycle(s) while fully extended horizontally.

[0019] The mechanical gear can be operated by hand, by battery power, or by electric power.

[0020] The present invention is directed to a bicycle rack which can store one or more bicycles off the floor by means of a movable lever, operated by a hand-powered, battery powered, or electrical gear mechanism. The bicycle rack can either be bolted to a wall, for example, in the preferred embodiment, of a garage, or can be stabilized by a suitably heavy weight, or bolted to the bumper of a motor home or other vehicle.

[0021] Referring to the various iterations of this invention the bicycle rack includes a stabilization means, which can be of several basic designs, including a vertical plate bolted to a wall or other upright structure (FIG. 1), a weighted plate sufficiently heave to stabilize the bicycle rack (FIG. 3), or a horizontal plate which can be screwed or bolted to the bumper of a motor home, trailer, or other transportation vehicle (FIG. 4).

[0022] Referring specifically to FIG. 1, the bicycle rack (generally indicated by reference number 1) contains a lever (9) which can be adjusted from a horizontal (0 degrees) position to a vertical (90 degrees) position which can be raised and lowered by a human operator, and to which can be attached one or more bicycles or other devices of similar shape, size and weight, by means of hooks (13) or clamps (described in FIG. 3) which are connected to the lever by a partially rotatable hanger (10) which is attached to both the lever and the hooks or clamps with pop-rivets (14), bolts, or other means of attachment. The hanger (10) attaches, by means of pop-rivets (11), bolts, or other means of attachment, a spreader bar (12). At the end of each spreader bar (12) are attached hooks (13) which cradle in the hook portion the bar of a bicycle. The hooks (13) can be coated or covered with a protective coating or sleeve of material to reduce abrasion from a metal-metal contact with the bicycle. The lever (9) is raised and lowered by its attachment to a larger gear (7) that meshes with a smaller gear (6) that is attached to a hand crank (5). In other iterations, the smaller gear can be driven by battery power or electricity rather than the hand crank (5) shown in FIG. 1. Holding the lever (9) above the ground is a stand (5) which is a rigid, inflexible piece of plastic, wood, metal, or a similar compound. The stand (5) may have holes drilled in it to facilitate its being screwed, nailed, or bolted into a vertical wall. The stand is attached at its lower end to a weighted block (generally indicated by reference number 2). The weighted block (2) serves two main purposes: first, as a weight sufficient to stabilize the invention in both its “up” and “down” positions; second, as a storage box into which bicycle and other gear can be stored. Attached to the underside (3) of the weighted block (2) are coasters or wheels (4) by which the invention can be moved easily around a garage or bicycle showroom.

[0023] FIG. 2 shows the invention in its “down” position, with the bicycle rack ready for bicycles to be loaded upon it for storage or display. The invention has a weighted box (22) attached to a stand (21), from which project two mounting brackets (29), through which an anchoring pin (30) stabilizes a larger gear (23). A smaller gear (29) meshes with the larger gear (23), and the smaller gear (29) is turned by a hand crank (24). In other iterations, the smaller gear can be driven by battery power or electricity rather than the hand crank (24) shown in FIG. 2.

[0024] Attached to the larger gear (23) is a lever (24) which is constructed of metal, wood, rigid plastic, or some other strong, inflexible, resilient material. Along the lever (24) at regular intervals are hangers (25) attached to the lever (24) by means of bolts (31), pop rivets, or similar means of attachment. The hangers (25) are of sequentially longer length as they are attached further and further from the larger gear (23), to facilitate a “nestling” of bicycles when the lever (24) is in its vertical position. To each hanger (25) is attached a spacer bar (27) attached by a bolt (26), pop rivet, or other similar attachment device, and at both ends of the spacer bar (27) is a hook (28) which serves to cradle the bicycle and lift it into the air when the lever (24) is in its vertical position.

[0025] FIG. 3 shows another iteration of the invention (generally indicated by reference number 30), in which the invention is attached directly to a vertical wall, rather than relying upon a weighted block to provide support. In this iteration, a wall mounting bracket (indicated by general reference number 31) provides a means by which the invention can be effectively attached to a wall. This method of attachment is particularly useful for situations where mobility of the invention is not necessary or desired. The wall mounting bracket (31) has a back portion (46), and two side portions (45). The back portion (46) has pre-drilled in it two or more holes (44) through which screws, bolts, pop-rivets, or similar means of attachment can be placed to anchor the invention to a vertical wall. Extending through both side portions is a crank rod (47) at one end of which becomes a crank handle (32). The crank rod (47) is attached to a smaller gear (33), which is meshed with a larger gear (34), which is held in place by an anchoring pin (101) which penetrates both side portions (45). The larger gear (34) is attached to a lever (35), which can be raised or lower by the hand crank (32) or, in other iterations, a battery-power or electrical crank. Attached to the lever (35) by means of bolts (36), pop rivets, or other similar means of attachment are two or more hangers (37), of sequentially longer lengths the further from the larger gear (34) they are located. The hangers attached such that there is no rotation of the hangers. This can be accomplished by either, as is shown in this Figure, embedding the hanger into a cavity (48) cut in the lever, or having two or more bolts (36), pop-rivets, or other similar means of attachment projecting through both the lever (35) and the hanger (37). Attached by means of bolts (38), poprivets, or other similar means of attachment to the distal end (49) of each hanger (37) is a clamp hanger (39) to which, on the end not attached to the hanger (37) is attached by means of welding or molding the entire unit at a foundry is a clamping device (generally indicated by reference number 40). The clamping device (40) has an upper section (41) and a lower section (42). Both the upper section (41) and lower section (42) are semicircular in shape, such that by tightening the two sections together by way of wing nuts (43), the two sections will efficiently cradle and clasp securely the bicycle. As with the other iterations, the upper section (41) and lower section (42) can be coated with plastic or another suitable material, or covered with a sleeve of padded cloth or other suitable material to prevent the metal of the clamping device (40) to scratch the paint of a bicycle.

[0026] FIG. 4 shows another iteration of the invention (generally indicated by reference number 50), which has a weighted block/storage box (51), made mobile by four casters or wheels (52). The weighted bloc/storage box (51) is attached to a stand (53) which has two or more pre-drilled holes (64) which mate with other holes (55) pre-drilled into the back of a mounting bracket (54). The stand (53) and mounting bracket (54) can be attached together by way of bolts, pop rivets or other similar means of attachment. Projecting from the back of the mounting bracket (54) are two side members (56) which stabilize by way of an anchoring pin (59), a semicircular larger gear (58) which is meshed with, and controlled by a smaller gear (not shown in this Figure) which is powered by a hand crank, battery, or electricity. Attached by way of welding to the flat portion of the larger gear (58) is a lever (60) to which two or more hangers (61) are attached a various intervals. The lever (60) can be raised and lowered between a vertical “storage” position (64), and a horizontal “access” position (65). From each hanger (61) is supported a spacer bar (62) which terminates at both of its ends with hooks (63) which will support the bicycles. The two main purposes of this Figure are to show the method by which the mounting bracket (54) and be attached to the stand (53), and to show another iteration of a design for a lever (60).

[0027] FIG. 5 shows an iteration of the invention (generally indicated by reference number 70) which uses clamps (generally indicated by reference number 80) instead of the hooks found in previous iterations. It is intended that the use of hooks and clamps be interchangeable between the various iterations of this invention. The invention as portrayed in this Figure, has a mounting bracket with a back (71) with two or more pre-drilled holes (72) designed for attaching using bolts, screws or similar means of attachment to a vertical surface such as the wall of a garage or the back of a trailer or motor home. The mounting bracket has two sides (73), through which an anchoring pin (84) extends, anchoring a large gear (76) which meshes with a smaller gear (75). The smaller gear (75) is attached to a hand crank (74) which extends through both sides (73) of the mounting bracket. It is intended that the hand crank as shown here is understood as merely one method by which the smaller gear (75) can be turned, with battery powered and electric means also envisioned as working functionally with this invention. Attached to the larger gear (76) is a lever (77) which extends out, away from the wall or whatever other structure the invention is attached to. At the regular intervals along the lever are mounted by pop-rivets, bolts of other similar means of attachment (85) hangers (78) of different lengths as described more fully under other Figures. Attached to the end of each hanger (78) farthest away from the lever (77) is a clamp hanger (79) attached by means of pop-rivets, bolts of other similar means of attachment (86). The clamp hanger (79) terminates in a clamp (generally indicated by reference number 80), which has an upper portion (81) and a lower portion (82), which can be attached and detached from each other by wing nuts (83) or similar means of attachment. The method by which the clamp (80) works has already been described in other Figures.

[0028] FIG. 6 is a partial, side view showing the detail of a hanger and clamp attached to a lever (the combination here indicated generally by reference number 90). The lever (91) is shown in its vertical position. The hanger (92) is embedded into a hole (99) in the lever (91) and fixed in place by a bolt (94), pop-rivet, or similar means of attachment. Attached to the end of the hanger (92) furthest away from the lever (91) is a clamp hanger (93), attached to the hanger (92) by means of a bolt (94), pop-rivet or similar means of attachment. The clamp hanger can rotate freely from its vertical position (as illustrated) to a vertical position when the lever (91) is in its “down” position. The clamp hanger (93) terminates in the actual clamping device, which consists of an upper clamp portion (95) and a lower clamp portion (96). The upper clamp portion (95) and lower clamp portion (96) are attached on one side by a bolt (97), pop-rivet, or similar means of attachment, which allows the two portions to open sufficiently to allow the bar of a bicycle to be stored in between the two portions. Once the bar of a bicycle has been inserted in between the upper clamp portion (95) and the lower clamp portion (96), it can be secured in place by tightening a wing-nut bolt (98). A wing-nut bolt (98) is used as these can be easily tightened and loosened by hand.

[0029] FIG. 7 is an elevational view of an adaptor for women's bicycles designed to attach by way of clamps from the seat to the handlebars, thereby providing a bar to which the bicycle can be attached to the clamp coming off the lever. The invention (generally indicated by reference number 100) consists of two cylinders, one larger cylinder (103) having a slightly larger diameter than the smaller cylinder (104). The smaller cylinder (104) is of a diameter smaller than the diameter of the larger cylinder (103) only enough to allow the smaller cylinder (104) to move freely within the larger cylinder (104). The length of the invention can be adjusted by adjusting the amount the smaller cylinder (104) nestles within the larger cylinder (103). Such adjustment can be achieved through one or more of the following means: a spring (105) embedded in and attached to the larger cylinder (103) against which the smaller cylinder (104) pushes, or a clamping or bolt-tightening method (not shown) by which the respective positions of the smaller cylinder (104) and larger cylinder (103) can be adjusted and fixed. At the distal ends of both the smaller cylinder (104) and larger cylinder (103) are clamps (101 and 102 respectively), which are of similar design and function to the clamp described in FIG. 6 and elsewhere in this patent.

[0030] FIG. 8 is a partial, elevational view of a the invention (generally referred to by reference number 110), in which there is a lever (111) showing a series of hangers (112, 117, and 118) of different lengths attached at regular intervals along with hanger by means of a bolt (113), pop-rivet or other similar means of attachment, with each hanger having a sequentially longer length the further the hanger located away from the crank mechanism, thereby allowing the bicycles be stored in a space-efficient manner. Attached to each hanger (112) by means of a bolt (115), pop-rivet or other similar means of attachment is a clamp hanger (114), which terminates in a clamp (116) described more fully in FIG. 6.





 
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