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canine velocipede

canine bicycle-like device
 
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The advantages of a bicycle vs. walking/running for a human are obvious; distance, efficiency, and speed. Yet, we have failed to extend these advantages to our pets. I propose to rectify this situation by appropriate application of bicycle technology to man's best friend.

I don't believe a literal 'bi-cycle' is the way to do it, however. Although dogs have good senses of balance which show up in training for tricks, the learning curve for a dog to balance on a bike would be too steep for the average family, since the dog's motivation to do so is minimal. I propose instead a three or four wheeled platform built with bicycle wheels. On this platform would be a harness into which the dog could be fastened and a treadmill which would drive one of the wheels through a simple bicycle chain and sprocket arrangement. My thinking is that it should be direct drive, no freewheel, to provide the dog with the ability to slow down, as again I think teaching the dog to use brakes might be too difficult for the average pet owner. A safety-cage structure would surround the dog to protect against impacts and rollovers, as well as providing structural stability to the platform and allowing the dog to brace its body.

The dog's head would be fastened into a separate structure that would be geared to pivot the front wheel(s) to allow the dog to steer.

Of course, the dog would have to be introduced to the device under controlled conditions, like an empty parking lot, until he or she became familiar with its operation. But given most dogs' love of motion, hanging their heads out of car windows, etc. I think it would very quickly become second nature to them, just as a bicycle becomes second nature to an active schoolchild. When the owner was satisfied the dog was competent to handle it, the dog could be allowed to ride freely, in areas which do not have leash laws, of course. This would not pose a safety hazard, as dogs already run free in these areas, and this device would be much more visible to motorists than a dog running is. Those birght orange safety flags sometimes seen on bicycles could be affixed to the vehicle to ensure even greater visibility; some sort of lighting system would be advisable for night use, of course.

This also leads to another innovation; a new sport. Dog racing is of course already a popular sport, and dog owners are always having all sorts of impromptu contests when they meet in the park, but the introduction of the canine velocipede would open a whole new world of possibilities. Canine foot racing is dominated by greyhounds and whippets; but this might not be true for canine velociped racing; dogs of other sizes, breeds, builds, etc. might be able to compete successfully.

And for spectators who enjoy watching the athletic performance of a dog joyfully running, imagine the speed they could attain on a wheeled vehicle; my rough calculations show that they could cruise at an easy 30-40 mph, and who knows what their sprint speed could be.

Of course, the sky is the limit regarding accessories; for instance, a small pager-like device, to which the dog would be trained to return home for food. Perhaps even a video camera, live or taped, so that the dog's owner can share with the dog the enjoyment of its day.

These vehicles could also carry loads of various sizes; in the case of a large dog and a specially designed extra strong vehicle, quite a large load. The dog may then serve to assist the master carrying a burden from place to place, and many dogs are capable of being trained to travel between two points on a routine basis unsupervised, providing a simple and economical delivery service.

I look forward to the day when it will be as common for families to strap their dogs into their cycles and let them out the back door as it is today to just let them out to run. The sight of all those dogs whizzing happily by will be enough reward for me.

gzuckier, Oct 01 2003

Tyson, the skateboarding bulldog http://video.google...2428845643156649877
Who says dogs aren't motivated? [jmvw, Sep 14 2006]

Tyson's home page http://www.skateboardingbulldog.com/
[jmvw, Sep 14 2006]

[link]






      

I’ve been sitting a dog that’s a rug eater. So, I’ve decided to do some experiments on it. See, it’s a very energetic dog, it chews and chews, it can’t stop chewing, so I’ve built a contrivance that changes the chewing motion into rotary motion. The rotary motion will then run a propeller. The propeller will be mounted to a lifting body of some kind. Or maybe a stone. Anyway, the dog will chew on a scrap of what was one of my fine orientals, the propeller will turn and the dog will lift gloriously into the air onto a breeze and I will never see it again. <looking down at the dog tags in my hand> Yes, I’m counting on that.

pluterday, Oct 01 2003
  

       There, I thought you stole my idea, but you didn't. I wanted to rework the front and rear wheel of a bike into hamster wheels. Each should be able to hold about a dozen hamsters. You put in trained hamsters that like to run in the same direction and off you go, 24 HP bike. Instead of hamsters you could put in dogs; fewer dogs and larger wheel diameter. Warning: Cats crossing the street near you may result in sudden speed bursts.
kbecker, Oct 01 2003
  

       You'd need automatic gear-switching - I doubt any dog, no matter how smart, will be able to work that one out on their own.
yamahito, Oct 01 2003
  

       How would you deal with dogs casual attitude towards no1 and no2? Wouldn't the vehicle get messy every time the dog used it?   

       I can imagine those vehicles buzzing by pedestrians and dropping dog crap and piss all over. Especially on tight turns. Instead of steping on dog crap you would be hit by it.
PauloSargaco, Oct 02 2003
  

       Poor postie, can not outride a dog with a bicycle.
Pellepeloton, Sep 14 2006
  

       [kbecker], I also just thought of the hamster powered bicycle wheel, but you mentioned it already. Pray tell where it is?
Ling, Mar 09 2007
  

       [kbecker] and [ling],   

       20 hamsters (10 in the back and 10 in the front) weigh approx 2kg. Let's assume that the weight of the bike and rider is 82kg, and for simplicity that all the hamsters can cling effectively to the vertical part of the wheel, so that 2kg down force is directly converted to 2kg forward force (excuse the bad physics - the 9.81s cancel anyway).   

       The slope at which the forward force is cancelled by the backward force caused by the weight of the bike is given at 82sin(theta) = 2 where theta is the angle of the slope at which the bike would come to a standstill (disregarding momentum). Thus, the hamster wheel would only maintain forward motion of the cycle at slopes less than 1.4 degrees.   

       Furthermore, the maximum speed of a hamster seems to be about 6.5kph, or 4mph - this is without them overcoming any resistance other than their own wind / mechanical drag. Any faster (say on a downhill) and you'll be spinning them around on your wheel.   

       Other than that it's a great idea!
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 12 2007
  

       tan-1 is much more accurate giving 1.397181027 degrees compared to your erroneous 1.397596628 degrees, 'cos its measuring the distance up the slope instead of the equivalent horizontal distance. Of course, should hammy no.5 drop a pellet or two, then both numbers are wrong.
Ling, Mar 12 2007
  

       I think I'm going to have to quibble that 0.000415601 degrees. I should have said "...is directly converted to 2kg forward force, in the direction of travel". I think what you're doing is taking Sigma[w_h,i](i=1->n) (the combined weight of n hamsters) realised in the *horizontal* direction, with w_b+w_r+w_p (the combined weight of bike, rider, and paraphernalia) realised downwards, with both projected parallel to the slope for comparison (actually I did it perpendicular to the slope but it doesn't matter).   

       Rather, I would argue that Sigma[w_h,i](i=1->n) should be applied parallel to the slope in the first instance. I am only a lowly engineer, so I am ready to stand corrected if I have missed out something obvious. Otherwise, 1.397596628 degrees should really be allowed to stand.   

       Your pellet comment makes a good point. Content in cheek pouches should also be taken into account.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 12 2007
  

       Perhaps the hamsters can be genetically modified to be able to carry harnesses pulling large lead weights. The weight could be on the end of an arm pinned at the wheel centre. A second arm, rigidly attached to the first arm would hook to the harness. Carefully setting the angle between the two arms would allow the hamster to run at the angle it was most comfortable at while the weight was at the vertical, most effective position.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Mar 12 2007
  
      
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