A Journey by Bike… the bicycle transmission challenge

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

By 1994, I was in the middle of a doctoral program in Philosophy and I was a newlywed. I met my wife at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. We were settling into married life in a small apartment in a transitional neighborhood, both of us going to grad school and working odd jobs. I was lucky to secure a clerical position at a court reporting firm, which paid relatively well and was close enough to school and campus for me to ride my new bike from school to work to home. My wife did make me wear a safety helmet, though.

While performPatent it Yourselfing mundane tasks such as copying and filing for the court reporter, I realized she had a need to lock confidential documents in file cabinets, even though not all file cabinets had locks. I started working on a removable lock, which I called TempLock, and even went so far as to look into obtaining a provisional patent on the design. It was at this time that I purchased a book called “Patent It Yourself” by patent attorney David Pressman.

On page 5 of Pressman’s book is this amazing claim: “…more patents issue on bicycles than anything else. Still, you could make millions if you could invent an automatic, continuous bicycle transmission to replace the awkward derailleur.” I didn’t really care about making millions (much to my wife’s chagrin), but this statement read like a challenge to me. “Why hasn’t anyone been able to do it? Surely it can’t be that hard,” I thought. This was a real problem to be solved, a challenge. The gauntlet had been cast down…

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