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Hell on wheels

Device to allow a roller skater to descend a hill without removing the skates
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Anyone who has ever tried to roller skate down even a moderate slope knows how dangerous and difficult it can be.

On occasion I rollerblade to work, which is fine in the relatively flat Silicon Valley, except for the overpass over US-101. There is an offramp there and the traffic can be quite busy at times.

I have three possible half-baked solutions:

1) Some kind of remote control wheel lock. Perhaps wireless. You press a button on the remote control and a micro-processor controlled brake engages if your speed exceeds a set limit, perhaps 1mph.

2) Some sort of feet that you could fold down and lock in place at the top of the hill and then just walk down.

3) A sort of scissor lift that you could engage that would lower a kind of frame around the wheels of the skates so that most of the weight is now on the frame. The wheels can take some of the load, but there is enough friction betwen the ground and the frame that your speed is limited.

I fear the the liability consequences in the event of failure of solution (1) probably eliminate it -- but it would be neat to try.

mzellers, Jun 23 2009

BunsenHoneydew's similar idea Speed_20Limiter_20f...rds_2fbikes_2fkarts
[jutta, Jun 23 2009]

First thing I thought of... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Wheels
[simonj, Jun 24 2009]

[link]






       Ah -- I have it!   

       Regenerative brakes! If your speed exceeds a pre-set limit, the brakes kick in and charge a battery (or a super-capacitor), which can be used to power the brakes when they are needed.
mzellers, Jun 23 2009
  

       If you're using rollerblades, there's a great side to side technique that one must master. Other than this, I like the forklift Idea best, but I'd think you wouldn't want the wheels engaged at all.
daseva, Jun 23 2009
  

       The trouble with the side-to-side thing, at least for me, is that it does not work well on a narrow sidewalk that ends in a utility pole, followed by a merging lane.
mzellers, Jun 23 2009
  

       How about a sort of caliper brake system, like for bicycles? It would require the calipers, brake pads, cable, cable housing, and brake levers that can be pinched in the palm of your hands. Rather than locking the wheels entirely, it would allow you to variably slow them down, and descend the overpass while still rolling. These seem to be pretty reliable on bikes, where they would be equally catastrophic if they failed. The drawback is that you'd have those cables dangling around (maybe they could be threaded through the inside of your clothes?).   

       I think the ability to lock the wheels might be dangerous; and an accidental locking might lead to face-on-the-pavement accidents.
swimswim, Jun 23 2009
  

       I posted a regenerative braking for roller skates idea - it was not particularly well received. I'm surfing on my phone right now, so I can't cut and paste a link, sorry.
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 23 2009
  

       Drogue parachutes.
8th of 7, Jun 23 2009
  

       Handheld retro thrusters.
tatterdemalion, Jun 23 2009
  

       Palm mounted replusors with a chest implant power scource and a bitch'n suit of armor.   

       a sign that says "No Brakes"... there, you're covered.
FlyingToaster, Jun 23 2009
  

       Whatever you use, it will have to act on the centre of gravity of the combined [mzellers]/rollerblade system. If the braking force is applied to the wheels, the wearer's momentum will pitch them forward; conversely, too high, and they will fall backwards.   

       Front mounted airbags ?
8th of 7, Jun 23 2009
  

       I'm thinking dragchute.   

       Everybody who's watched the Roadrunner Show knows that you simply paint a fast hole in whatever you're headed towards.
RayfordSteele, Jun 23 2009
  

       A pole vaulters pole to launch over the traffic, with no loss of energy. Much more efficient.
Bdsman64, Jun 24 2009
  

       As [8th...] alludes to, any force applied to the slowing of the footsticle side implies a faceplant. Unless you can counteract that by shifting your balance (center of gravity). If you could counteract that, you would be able to brake with that awful piece of rubber at the back, or the slide-stop. That fact that you lament not being able to do this means your proposed device will be equally unsucessful in preventing a roadshave.
4whom, Jun 24 2009
  

       Ha ha, "roadshave". Like it.
theleopard, Jun 24 2009
  

       You could carry with you a hook tied to the end of a bungee cord, and if you feel that you're descending too rapidly, quickly toss the hook around the nearest immobile object. You'll then continue to move forward, but at a decreasing rate. When your body reaches 0 km per hour, release your grip on the bungee (or be snapped backwards). This might require some practice to get the timing down.
EDIT: per faceplant notes above, the bungee should be secured to your waist. When you reach 0km/hour, cut the cord.
swimswim, Jun 24 2009
  

       It seems to me that the kids shoes with rollers built in addresses this problem.   

       You could carry some sort of wheel cover that you step into, akin to that used by ice skaters who want to walk around without dulling the blade.
bungston, Jun 24 2009
  

       Niiiiice one! I once got my tooth chipped and my ass (and knees and elbows) bruised and burned by thinking I could control the speed down the hill by zig-zagging (if that makes sense) without much success, obviously.   

       It's nicely explained, too. Simple and neat. Have my bun. The first one I give in years.. but that's because I hadn't been around.
Pericles, Jun 25 2009
  

       Oh, hellooo! it feels great to be back! There's Facebook, hi5, twitter or other social network out there as neat as this, I tell ya!
Pericles, Jun 26 2009
  

       [mzellers] I think your solution no. 2 is good. I imagine it's a rectangular frame hinged on the inside of each foot. When folded down, it clicks into place, and the bottom bar (was at top, before folding) is lower than the wheels. Another version is where the bottom bar slightly clears the ground. Walking down a steep slope, you bend your legs out so these bars touch the ground, supporting your weight. Where the slope flattens or lessens, you pull the legs in and glide on the wheels (but you can't push like with normal rollerblading, because while pushing, the bars will hit the ground)
doanviettrung, Jun 29 2009
  
      
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