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When a leopard runs, it launches off its two back legs, lands with its two front legs, waits for the back legs to catch up to the front, and repeats. The power comes from the back legs. I wonder if you could create a bicycle that uses run-like-a-cat action.

I used to have a recurring dream about running like a cat. In my dream, gravity was weak, or perhaps my cat-person muscles were extra strong. But it in any case, it seemed effortless. There was something natural and awesome about being able to run in that fashion. I'd love to ride a bike that emulates a cat's running motion, but perhaps less parallel to the ground, for visibility reasons.

My back legs would be doing most of the work, pushing off together, and operating the back wheel of this hypothetical bike. My arms would power the front wheel, and it would be geared differently than the back wheel so that my arms don't travel as far, or work as hard, as my legs.

For long bike rides, current bike designs might be the best. But for a full body exercise that is more fun to ride, and doesn't require you to shove a seat up your anus, I might prefer the leopard-inspired bike. My hypothesis is that running like a leopard would be a more satisfying form of exercise than normal biking.

Does someone already make such a thing?

 
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Apr 30, 2012
There was a motorcycle that kind of looked like this, but functioned with normally powered drive wheels.

Question for the idea, how do you change gearing to maintain a higher speed on down hills and still have enough torque to go uphill? How do you handle breathing? One of the functions of the leopards run is to assist in breathing. Being as we (or at least I) do not use my body motion to control the majority of my breathing.

Just some issues to at least consider.
 
 
+9 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 29, 2012
the solution is much easier than you think - simply ride a leopard
 
 
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Apr 29, 2012
A leopard (at speed) goes of its hind legs, is suspended in air, then goes off its front legs, is suspended in air, then repeats. This gait is called a double suspension gallop and it is also how fast dogs like greyhounds run. The key to its efficiency is using almost all of an animals major muscle groups so the torso and shoulders as well as the legs. Not sure that makes a big difference to you idea though.
 
 
Apr 29, 2012
Shishberg and Callcopse:

My point about the ADA was that it was a well-meaning but not well-thought-out law that has opened the door to ridiculous abuse of the rights of others to not have a dog next to them in an airplane, restaurant et. al. As far as the miniature horse goes, try googling "minature horse service animal." It turns out that the ADA actually allows miniature horses to be service animals. No kidding. Here's an article concerning some of the problems this has caused: http://www.vcreporter.com/cms/story/detail/service_animal_scams_remain_a_persistent_issue/9760/

Making it illegal to challenge anyone who claims their pet or little horse is a service animal is a restriction on freedom. That's my problem with this law.
 
 
Apr 28, 2012
Scott, a wonderful idea. I recently invented something that goes parallel to it. If you are interested in pursuing this, let me write to you.
 
 
Apr 28, 2012
Scott, a wonderful idea. I recently invented something that goes parallel to it. If you are interested in pursuing this, let me write to you.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2012
What if you ratcheted/geared the wheels to only spin forwards? You could put the rear "pedals"on the rear axle and the front hand grips on/near the front axle with a hinging system between them. That way, when you thrust off with your legs and push out your hands you start moving forward. Then when you pull in with your arms you'd draw your legs forward for the next thrust. It would start out looking like an inchworm, but would accelerate with momentum.

No idea how you'd steer it with this arrangement, though.
 
 
Apr 27, 2012
The whole "shove a seat up your anus" thing is what took me--and most people--so long to decide I like riding a bike. Women, esp. those of us who have given birth, have a wider pelvis. On bike seats, which are made for skinny men, our "sit bones" hit on the hard outside edge of the seat instead of the padded area. After trying numerous "great" seats, I finally settled on a cruiser bike seat, about 11" wide! Now I can ride for hours. It took time to get used to the backs of my thighs hitting the seat if I'm leaning forward to power up a hill, but it beats the sore butt after a long ride. If anyone reading this has tried and failed to enjoy bike riding, I highly recommend trying a variety of seats to find the perfect one for you. I hope your new bike design takes the width of a woman's ischial tuberosities into consideration when designing the seat.
 
 
Apr 27, 2012
I THINK I get what you mean Scott but would that motion not be mainly back driven rather than leg driven, as you would be pushing your legs away from your arms via your back?

Anyhow the only one of the bikes mentioned I would like to try is the rowing one, that looks fun - I'd like to see how fast I could get on of those (http://rowingbike.com/site/EN/, thanks Fery).

@Phantom II
What is this ADA you rail against? You are saying it costs trillions of dollars to accomodate service animals? The government is to blame for your friends, and others, abusing some measures presumably designed to assist the differently abled? I'm really struggling with your issue here.
 
 
+14 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2012
" require you to shove a seat up your anus"

I don't know how you have been using your current bike, but you are doing it wrong. Very wrong. Very, very wrong!
 
 
Apr 27, 2012
> I just saw a news article about a man who has a miniature pony. He put a "Service Animal" vest on it, and now it has to be allowed in with him when he goes to a restaurant. No kidding. Google it if you think I'm kidding.

I Googled it. I still think you're kidding.
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
Here we go, a bouncing bicycle: the hula cycle: http://www.bikeforest.com/hulabike.php

interesting anyway
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
maybe if the two pedals of the elliptical bike went down together instead of independently, give them a higher angle to the horizon and you're halfway there
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
the elliptical bike is sort of an interesting take on alternative bicycle locomotion: http://epic-treadmills.com/elliptical-bike
 
 
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 26, 2012
All this talk about leopards and bikes reminds me of a quote by Jobs:

"I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. Humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list....That didn't look so good, but then someone at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle and a man on a bicycle blew the condor away."

He then goes on to say, "That's what a computer is to me: the computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds."
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
Can I just take this opportunity to say that I hate meebo? It's the reason I avoid coming to your site and prefer reading in an RSS aggregator.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 26, 2012
Scott,

We are now in the age of electronic power. The human body has moved on.

In my recurring dreams of the future, each system in our body will have its own brain. This knotty thing perched on our shoulders will be reduced to the size of an Intel chip.

Atoms will control the movements of electrons such that they can reverse their own direction of rotation and create anti-gravity forces. Inter-galactic travel will be commonplace but it may require a flying license from the US Department of Road Transport.

Limbs will not be required. The human body will look like a spherical bale of cotton with just one feature - an eye that can move all around the surface. Ears, nose, mouth et al will be absent. The cells will acquire the capacity to hear, smell and absorb energy on the go. Speech will be redundant.

And in the middle of this futuristic vision, I pause for a breather. I see the presidential elections taking place in the US. I understand that the rich will be taxed more than the poor, the rich being those who live outside the solar system.

I see feminine cotton balls painted pink for added attraction. I see young balls bouncing with joy.

Somewhere in California, Mr. Scott Adams is being tried in the local court for using an illegal word called Obesity.

Life goes on...

Cheers,

.
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
idk if that'd feel like better exercise or more satisfying. But if there's a machine that moves like a cat then that might be better for uneven terrain.
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
I don't think your bike, as you've described it, would work. If you used your legs to power the back wheel and your arms to power the front wheel, the wheels would be going at different speeds - which means one would always be skidding to some extent, or forcing against your power motion.

A better design might be to have an intermediate flywheel with a clutch mechanism to allow both motions to add energy to the flywheel, which would then provide power to either the back wheel or to the wheels equally. I think the most efficient would be to the back wheel only.

As an aside, your "Dilbert" of today showed a service animal with Alice, steering her while she walks and texts. For those of you who don't know: the ADA says that any animal that is called a service animal must be accepted as such without question. We have some friends who wanted to bring their golden retriever with them when they came up from southern California to visit us. So they went online and bought a vest for it that said, "Service Animal." Soutwest Airlines let the dog come on board with them at no charge, and fly with them in the cabin.

I just saw a news article about a man who has a miniature pony. He put a "Service Animal" vest on it, and now it has to be allowed in with him when he goes to a restaurant. No kidding. Google it if you think I'm kidding. Another woman has a pomeranian, and you guessed it, it's now a service animal. Neither of the above people is handicapped in any way.

Your government at work, folks. And for this, we go into debt to the tune of trillions of dollars.
 
 
Apr 26, 2012
Heh, I used to have the same sort of dream. Maybe it's an archetype?

However appealing a leopard bike (or insect bike, or anything else) is, when it comes to efficient machines, the wheel and axle is essentially perfect, in that it is a continuous lever. The only reason why it has not evovled in nature (as far as I know) is that it requires gap bearings, which is a very weak joint, making almost any injury to it a fatal one.

So if you want efficiency, the wheel is the only way to go. If you want toughness or versatility however, you may have other options.
 
 
 
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