Chalktrail: Bike add-on combines cycling and sidewalk chalk art
By Simon Crisp
April 18, 2012
Kids love creating art almost as much as they love getting out on their bikes, but with this approach choosing what to do doesn't have to be an either/or decision. The Chalktrail is an add-on which turns any bike or scooter into an artistic tool by holding a stick of chalk which is pressed to the ground behind you as you ride, leaving a colorful trail showing where you've been.
The Chalktrail - which was recently funded on Kickstarter - comes in two varieties (bike or scooter) but both work on the same simple principle: Using a flexible wishbone design the device clamps to the rear wheel of a bike or scooter and holds a stick of sidewalk chalk. The fitting process is said to have been kept simple and tool-free so children could do it themselves without parental help.
Once attached it's all about getting moving and seeing the lines created as the chalk touches the road. Makers say it's just as common for kids to create figure eights, patterns and designs as it is to play follow the leader, draw race tracks or simply mark where they have been. Each piece of chalk is said to last up to 1.5 miles.
Inventor Scott Baumann from Bellingham, Washington told Gizmag he first came up with the idea five years ago as he was watching his kids riding their bikes and playing with sidewalk chalk. "It went something like this: On the bike, off the bike, draw with chalk, back on the bike, back off the bike, draw some more with chalk, etc., etc." he said.
"I started wondering why nobody had ever combined the two activities so kids could ride and draw at the same time, says Baumann. "Then I looked over and saw a hula hoop lying in the lawn. I grabbed it and cut it in half with a pair of garden shears, taped a piece of sidewalk chalk to one end and taped the other end of the hula hoop to the seat-post of my daughter's bike. It was magic - every kid in the neighborhood immediately wanted one."
Since then he's worked to develop the idea into a finished product and taken it to promotional events. "We took Chalktrail to a city art festival last summer with about 10 bikes and 10 scooters and half of a city block of roped-off street," Baumann added. "The kids rode in circles for hours ... it was the most popular attraction at the show,".
In addition to the Kickstarter funding, there's also a licensing deal in the works with a major toy company, which could see Chalktrail rolled out around the world in time for Christmas with a suggested retail price of US$19.99 for the bike option and $14.99 for Chalktrail Scooter.
In case you were wondering ... yes, the Chalktrail will fit your adult-sized bike too! Users can adjust the trailing angle of the chalk so that it will leave the same artistic lines whether attached to Junior's 12-inch wheel starter bike or dad's 29-inch cruiser.
Check out the Chalktrail in action in the promo video below.