Chinese man reinvents the wheel

Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:36am EDT
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By Tyra Dempster

QINGDAO, China (Reuters Life!) - A Chinese man has invented a bicycle that trundles along on wheels shaped like a triangle and a pentagon, giving traditional transport an edge.

Guan Baihua, a former military officer who lives in the coastal city of Qingdao, said he had dreamed of reinventing the wheel for more than two decades.

Inspiration for a working model finally came from a pencil and Guan has now patented his design in case it becomes a hit.

"The wheel of the first bicycle invented by humans was square," Guan told Reuters.

"I started thinking, can I invent a bike with a non-circular wheel? Then when one day I was rolling a triangular pencil and I discovered that while I was rolling it I couldn't feel my hand bumping up and down. So I started to work out how to put the shape and the bicycle together," he said.

The weight of an ordinary bicycle rests on the axis of the wheels, which turn smoothly since the circumference of the circle never alters. Because of the edges, the weight of Guan's bicycle rests on rolling tracks set on top of the wheels.

Using the frame of an ordinary bicycle, Guan spent 18 months in a tiny workshop in the basement of his building, perfecting the mechanism.

He says the fastest speed possible is only about 7 km (4.3 miles) per hour, but believes all the peddling required to move the bicycle makes it good exercise.   Continued...