METHOD AND DEVICE FOR ASSISTING
THE LEG MUSCLES DURING CYCLING
This application is a divisional of my prior U.S. applica- 5 tion Ser. No. 09/246,710 filed Feb. 9, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,179,760 entitled METHOD AND DEVICE FOR ASSISTING THE LEG MUSCLES DURING CYCLING.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTS OF THE 10
The present invention generally relates to methods and apparatus for operating a cycle such as a bicycle.
In recent years including the present, bicycling and other 15 cycling whether for entertainment, sport or exercise has greatly increased in popularity. This has spawned many inventions and developments in this field primarily aimed at increasing performance of the cycle. These innovations for the most part have concentrated on the cycle itself for 20 example by improving the operation of the various parts and also decreasing the overall weight of the cycle by using lightweight materials. In contrast to the latter areas of invention and development, the present invention takes an entirely novel approach by focusing on the performance of 25 the cyclist rather than the cycle itself.
Accordingly one of the objects of the present invention is to provide a novel and improved method and device for increasing the performance of a cyclist during bicycling or other cycling. Included herein is the provision of such 30 method and device for increasing the speed performance obtainable by the cyclist for a given cycle or bicycle.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel method and device for generating energy for transfer to the legs of a cyclist to increase performance of the cyclist in rotating the pedals and sprocket of the cycle. Included herein is the provision of such method and device which maybe used to increase the speed of operation of a cycle for a given cyclist and a given cycle.
A further object of the present invention is to provide novel method and apparatus as described above that may be applied to virtually any cyclist for increasing the cyclist's performance and speed on a cycle. Included herein is the provision of such method and apparatus that can be utilized 45 to decrease the imbalance that may exist between the hamstring and quadriceps muscles of a cyclist thereby increasing the performance of the cyclist.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a novel device or apparatus that may be worn by the cyclist 50 to increase the cyclist's performance of a bicycle or other cycle. Including herein is such a device that generates energy from the movement of the cyclist's legs and releases the energy into the cyclist's legs for increasing performance of the cyclist. 55
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
The present invention includes method and device for operating a cycle of the type having a sprocket and pedals connected to the sprocket for rotating the sprocket on 60 downstrokes and upstrokes of the pedals. The invention includes a provision of one or more elastic members applied to the legs of the cyclist such that the elastic members will stretch on the downstroke of the pedals to generate energy and contract on the upstroke of the pedals to release the 65 energy for assisting the cyclist's legs to rotate the pedals and in turn the sprocket. In the preferred embodiment, energy
members are also worn on the foot-ankle area of the cyclist such that they will stretch when the foot points generally downwardly to generate energy and contract when the foot returns to a horizontal or upward position to transfer the energy into the feet for assisting the rotation of the pedals together with the energy members worn on the cyclist's legs.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a rearview of the lower half of a cyclist's body in perspective and including a device constituting one preferred embodiment of the present invention worn by the cyclist;
FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the cyclist's body shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of a cyclist wearing the device of the present invention while riding a bicycle;
FIG. 4 is a view generally similar to FIG. 3 except showing the opposite side of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a rear view of the foot-ankle area of the cyclist;
FIG. 6 is a fragmental side view of a foot-ankle area of the cyclist showing a lower portion of the device of the present invention as well as the foot-ankle member worn on the foot-ankle area of the cyclist;
FIG. 7 is a plan view of a foot-ankle member to be worn by the cyclist as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 8;
FIG. 8 is a side elevational view of the foot-ankle area of the cyclist shown with the cyclist's shoe and a foot-ankle member extending around the front of the shoe and around the ankle area of the cyclist;
FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the foot-ankle area of the cyclist but illustrating a modification of the present invention;
FIG. 10 is a front perspective view of a cyclist's shoe shown in FIG. 9 and;
FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of a cyclist on a bicycle wearing the device of the present invention and leg tights overlying the device;
Referring now to the drawings in detail there is shown for illustrative purposes only methods and apparatus constituting preferred embodiments of the present invention for assisting the leg muscles during cycling. FIG. 3 shows a cyclist on a bicycle including a sprocket 30 having arms 32 connected to pedals 34. In accordance with the method of the present invention, the cyclist wears on his leg, preferably both legs, a member referred to herein as an "energy member" which will be stretched or extended during pedaling on the downstroke when one leg is extended such as L shown in FIG. 3 while the other leg L is raised to raise the pedal during the upstroke of that pedal. When the energy member is extended it generates energy for assisting the leg muscles and particularly the hamstring muscles upon raising the leg during the upstroke when the leg raises the pedal preferably through a connection between the foot and the pedal such as maybe obtained through conventional cyclist's shoes 3 which have a cleat or lug 4 projecting from the bottom of the cyclist's shoe for receipt in a receptacle fixed to the pedal 34 as best shown in FIG. 3. During the upstroke of the pedal, the energy previously generated on the down3