BIONIC RUNNER: Dr Henry Thomas will talk about his Bionic Runner invention at the upcoming CQUniversity Science Forum. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
BIONIC RUNNER: Dr Henry Thomas will talk about his Bionic Runner invention at the upcoming CQUniversity Science Forum. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

Bicycle revolutionises low-impact running

FORGET pounding the pavement - running enthusiasts now have the opportunity to run on wheels thanks to a new invention called the Bionic Runner.

It took Bundaberg inventor Dr Henry Thomas and entrepreneur Steve Cranitch five years and six prototypes to establish what is now a fully operational bicycle running machine.

"The concept was to come up with a bike that runners could train on," he said.

"We saw that people in their middle age were having more problems with their knees so we came up with a running trainer that you can ride outdoors like you're running, rather than being an indoor machine."

The non-impact running machine is also targeted at professional athletes and can help with injuries and training.

He said they sold some trial bikes through a crowd-funded campaign and expected mostly runners to be interested in the product, but were surprised with the results.

"A lot of people with back injuries who can't cycle liked the idea of standing up and riding," he said.

Dr Thomas said the advantage of training with a Bionic Runner came from its non-impact closed kinetic chain, which guided your feet along the footpath of a mid-foot running gait - the running style common among trained endurance runners.

"One of the key features of running is that you have that leap sensation, so the machine includes a high lift and bending of the knee," he said.

"Mechanically it uses bike parts and a slider to create that motion."

Dr Thomas said the idea of the Bionic Runner started off as a hobby of bike building many years ago and transformed into his business, Run4, after he was approached by Mr Cranitch.

"It was his concept - he saw there was a need for but didn't know how to make it so was looking for someone who had a history with tinkering who could come up with something workable," he said.

Dr Thomas expects the Bionic Runner to be commercially available soon, once they can be manufactured on a larger scale.

Dr Thomas will showcase the Bionic Runner at a forum at CQUniversity on Tuesday.



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