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Human Powered Rides

The more people on the ride, the faster it starts
  [vote for,

This Idea is generic, but let's start by considering a Ferris Wheel. You get into the seat, and notice a significant difference; there is a pedal assembly where each passenger would put his or her feet.

The pedal assembly is connected, along with all the others, to a continuously variable automatic transmission, so that even if you are the only one pedaling, you can manage to make the ride move. Slowly, but surely. Obviously, the more people pedaling the more force is being applied, and the automatic transmission can adjust toward a higher gear ratio, and the ride will go faster.

For some rides, of course, like a roller coaster, you only need to pedal enough to get to the top of the first hill, because the ride is designed to coast the rest of the way around the track.

In every case, though, the users get some exercise, and the manager saves money on the electric bill.

Vernon, Apr 09 2013

Inspiration for this Idea http://www.cnn.com/....cnn?iref=allsearch
I wanted something a bit safer, which also made this Idea different from the inspiration. [Vernon, Apr 09 2013]

An extreme reduction gear-set http://3dprint.com/...-extreme-reduction/
We would want it made of metal, not plastic, but otherwise, this is nicely compact and would fit well with this Idea. [Vernon, Jul 16 2015]

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       It's not at all clear to me that one person, or even a few people, could pedal hard enough to overcome the frictional losses involved in getting something as large as a several-ton Ferris wheel to turn.   

       Even if it were manageable by a large number of people pedaling, the first and last riders would have a problem.
ytk, Apr 09 2013

       What about freeloaders? People who don't want to pedal enough?   

       How about as an alternative, the people in line pedal, and by pedaling fill pressurized reservoir, which is then tapped as needed for the ride? Don't let them on the ride unless they have pedaled 100 strokes or whatever.
Kansan101, Apr 09 2013

       //It's not at all clear to me that one person, or even a few people, could pedal hard enough to overcome the frictional losses involved in getting something as large as a several-ton Ferris wheel to turn.//   

       The right block and tackle would do the job. (+)   

       There is a type of speed-reduction gearing that can easily do 1000:1 ratios. I first saw it more than 30-odd years ago, and don't recall what the particular system was called, so can't hunt for it on the Internet, but I can describe it....   

       Start with two disks with gear teeth, the same diameter. One disk has just one more tooth on it than the other. The disks are large enough so that the difference in size of teeth is trivial.   

       One disk is solidly mounted and does not rotate. The other is placed very near the first and is free to rotate. Its axle will be the Output axle of the system. (If this axle continued on the other side of this disk, it would encounter the center of the first disk.)   

       Now take a smaller but kind-of-wide gear and mesh it to the teeth of BOTH large disks. The axle of this gear is mounted on a frame that is able to revolve completely around the two large disks. The Input of this overall system drives the frame, to make it do that revolving.   

       As the frame revolves, what happens is that the small gear freely moves around the large disks. However, because the two large disks have different numbers of gear teeth, and because the small gear meshes both, the large disk that is able to rotate will indeed rotate, slowly, with HUGE torque.   

       Regardless of whether or not this particular system is used to increase the mechanical advantage of a single human trying to cause something as massive as a Ferris Wheel to rotate, I'm confident that we have SOMETHING that will enable this Idea to work. "Slowly, but surely" I wrote in the main text...and I meant it.
Vernon, Apr 09 2013

       Maybe what you want is a worm gear drive, but I say forget the gearing and ratios. Drive a pneumatic system.
RayfordSteele, Apr 10 2013


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