Title:
Pivoting footrest for rowing boats
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A spring loaded pivoting footrest for a rowing boat.



Inventors:
Kaufer, Peter (Menlo Park, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/055735
Publication Date:
08/17/2006
Filing Date:
02/11/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63H16/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PETER KAUFER (MENLO PARK, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A pivoting footrest system for coupling the shoes of a rower to the boat, comprising: a pair of shoes; a pedal or a plurality of pedals structured to permit attachment of the shoes to said pedals; a spring mechanism structured to accumulate potential energy during the rotation of the shoes, whereby the pedals are attached to the boat and structured to allow pivoting of the pedals and shoes about a horizontal axis perpendicular to the long axis of the rowing boat, the rotation of the shoes resulting in loading of the spring mechanism during the recovery portion of the rowing motion, and the spring mechanism releasing the stored energy during the initial portion of the power stroke, thereby improving the rowing stroke efficiency.

2. The pivoting articulation system of claim 1 including: a cleat attached to the underside to the shoe a shoe attachment mechanism for attachment of the cleat to the footrest, whereby the shoes can be releasably attached to the footrest.

3. The cleat of claim 2 structured to permit attachment to the standard bolt hole patterns found in bicycle shoes, permitting the use of bicycling shoes for rowing boats.

4. The shoes of claim 1 provided with a rigid sole, whereby the foot arch is not flexed during the rowing motion.

5. The spring mechanism of claim 1 containing a spring from the group of springs including: torsion, compression, extension, and leaf springs.

6. The spring mechanism of claim 1 containing an elastic member, whereby energy is stored in the member by compression or extension of the member, and released thereafter.

Description:

FIELD OF USE

This invention is in the field of equipment for the sport of rowing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Rowing is an activity in which oars are used to move a boat through the water. The oars, oarlock, rigging, and the footrest transmit the power of the rower to the boat. The speed of the boat is in part determined by the efficiency of this transmission of power.

During the rowing stroke, the rower sits on a sliding seat that moves fore and aft, and the rower's power is transmitted to the boat by means of the oars. The rower's feet are secured to the boat by a footrest and the rower pushes with his feet as the oars move through the water and the rower's legs become extended. The rower faces rearward, with his back to the direction of boat movement.

The rowing motion is composed of the power stroke, feathering of the oar, the recovery stroke, and squaring of the oar in preparation for the power stroke. At the beginning of the power stroke, the oars are in the water and perpendicular to the water surface, and the rower's body and the seat are in the aft-most position, with the legs compressed. As the oars are moved through the water, the rower's body is displaced towards the bow of the boat on the sliding seat. The efficiency of the power stroke and in particular, the beginning of the power stroke, is crucial to attaining the best boat speed.

In current footrest technology, the feet and shoes are flexed during the initiation of the power stroke, and the foot pressure is transferred to the footrest by contact with the ball of the foot only, as the heel of the shoe is in the air and not in contact with the footrest. The heel only comes in contact with the footrest at the end of the power stroke, when the legs are fully extended.

Prior art footrests and shoes have one or more of the following disadvantages.

The transfer of force to the footrest is inefficient. The arch of the foot is elastic and flexes as the rower pushes away from the footrest at the initiation of the power stroke. This elastic flexion absorbs part of the power that could be transferred to the boat.

In addition, the plantar tendons of the foot become highly stressed, causing discomfort to the rower, and over time, overuse injuries, such as plantar fasciitis.

The elastic limit of the arch of the foot limits the amount of travel of the rower fore and aft, as the front of the shoe is firmly attached to the footrest, and only the heel is allowed to elevate off the surface of the footboard as the rower reaches the end of the recovery stroke.

Current rowing shoes are firmly secured to the boat by screws and the process to change the shoes, such as is necessary for rowers of different shoe size, is tedious and time consuming.

There remains, therefore, a substantial need for an effective means to transfer the force from the foot to the footrest, to reduce the inherent injuries to the foot tendons, and to easily attach and detach the shoes from the rowing boat.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention meets the above-described needs by providing a pivoting footrest to improve the efficiency of the link between the rower's shoes and the boat, improving rower comfort and reducing foot injuries associated with repetitive stresses placed on the arch of the foot, and by providing detachable shoes.

The components of the invention are attached to boat hull. The components include a pair of shoes and one combined pivoting footrest, or two separate pivoting footrests, one for each shoe. A footrest support attaches the pivoting footrests and shoes to the boat. A spring stores energy during the last phase of the recovery stroke, and this energy is returned to the boat during the initial portion of the power stroke. The pivoting movement of the whole foot is a more natural movement for the foot and ankle, as the whole sole of the foot is used as the rower pushes away from the footrest. In addition, a pivoting footrest allows a small amount of additional fore and aft rower travel, lengthening the power stroke, permitting the rower's force to be applied during a longer period of time.

An important object of this invention is to provide a more comfortable ergonomic position of the feet during rowing by means of an ergonomic footrest.

Another object of this invention is to reduce repetitive-use injuries by means of a more anatomically correct foot position during the rowing motion.

Another object of the invention is to provide a footrest structured to permit a longer rowing stroke.

Another object of the invention is to provide a spring attached to the footrest to accumulate potential energy during the end of the recovery stroke and structured to return this energy to the boat during the initial portion of the power stroke.

Another object of the invention is to provide a detachable shoe for a rowing boat.

Another object of the invention is to provide a rowing shoe with a rigid sole structured to limit flexion of the foot during the rowing motion.

These and other objects and advantages of this invention will become obvious to a person of ordinary skill in this art upon reading the detailed description of this invention including the associated drawings as presented herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 Perspective cutaway view of a rowing boat and a pivoting footrest system with shoes attached.

FIG. 2 Close up perspective view of a rowing boat and a pivoting footrest system with shoes detached.

FIG. 3 Close up perspective view of the detachable shoes.

FIG. 4 Close up perspective view of the underside of one of the shoes and cleat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 Is a perspective cutaway view of a rowing boat hull (12) and a pivoting footrest system (footrest) (10). The shoes (20) pivot about a horizontal axis perpendicular to the keel (14) of the boat. As the rower reaches the beginning of the power stroke, the shoes (20) pivot about the horizontal axis and become more horizontal. As the rower applies his strength to the oars, the rower's body is displaced away from the footrest (10) and the shoes (20) become more vertical.

FIG. 2 Is a close up perspective view of the footrest (10) with shoes (20) of FIG. 1 detached. The horizontal shaft (shaft) (30) is firmly attached to the angled bracket (42), the angled bracket (42) being firmly attached to the upper and lower lateral brackets (32) and (34). The upper and lower lateral brackets (32) and (34) are firmly attached to the boat hull (12). The pedals (38) pivot about the shaft (30). Torsion springs (springs) (36) are attached at one end to the pedals (38) and at the other end to the central shaft bracket (40) or to the angled bracket (42). Thus, as the pedals (38) become more horizontal and tilt about the shaft (30), the springs (36) accumulate energy. This energy is returned to the rowing stroke as the pedals (38) become more vertical again. The heels of the shoes (20) of FIG. 1 rest on the heel bar (44) at the end of the rowing stroke.

Alternatively, various spring types (not shown), or an elastic element (not shown) could be used by someone skilled in the art as a means for storing energy instead of torsion springs (36).

FIG. 3 Is a close up view of a shoe attachment mechanism (60), showing one of the detachable shoes (20), one of the pedals (38), and a cleat (46) attached to the shoe (20). A pin (50) is shown withdrawn from the pedal (38). The cleat (46) is attached to the underside of the shoe (20). A groove on the cleat (48) is structured to engage a groove (52) on the pin (50). As the pin (50) is rotated within the pedal (38), the pin (50) engages the groove on the cleat (48), securing the cleat (46) and shoe (20) to the pedal (38). The pin (50) can be rotated to release the cleat (46). The shoe (20) and cleat (46) can therefore be easily removed from the pedal (38).

FIG. 4 shows the underside of the shoe (20) and the rigid sole (64). The bolt hole pattern (62) on the cleat (46) is dimensioned to coincide with common bicycle shoe cleat hole patterns to permit use of bicycle shoes as rowing shoes. Also shown is the rigid sole (64). The rigid nature of the sole prevents flexion of the bottom of the foot during the rowing motion.

Various other modifications, adaptations and alternative designs are of course possible in light of the teachings as presented herein. Therefore it should be understood that, while still remaining within the scope and meaning of the appended claims, this invention could be practiced in a manner other than that which is specifically described herein.

DRAWING NUMBERS

  • 10 pivoting footrest system
  • 12 boat hull
  • 14 keel
  • 16 spring mechanism
  • 20 shoes
  • 30 horizontal shaft
  • 32 upper lateral brackets
  • 34 lower lateral brackets
  • 36 torsion springs
  • 38 pedals
  • 40 central shaft bracket
  • 42 angled bracket
  • 44 heel bar
  • 46 cleat
  • 48 groove on the cleat
  • 50 pin
  • 52 groove on the pin
  • 60 shoe attachment mechanism
  • 62 bolt hole pattern
  • 64 rigid sole