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The Noob’s Guide to Why We don’t Need no Stinkin’ Kickstand.  Dammit…  I just may be a Bike Snob.  

I love me a cool bike.  Mountain, road, cross… it doesn’t matter, they’re all good – except those big-box mishmash 40 lb dealios that rust on the way home from the store.

The other day I was picking up some over-shoes (aka booties, foot covers, etc.) at the bike shop, for me, and $70 worth of matching cycling gloves for my daughter and my wife.  A very excited woman was picking out accessories for her new Trek.  After the car carrier and lock, she asked about a kickstand.

[Cringe] Oooooh….

I actually, really did cringe.  I looked at her and said, “Yeah, we don’t put kickstands on bikes.”

I know, dude.  I know.

She replied, “Yeah, but I don’t want to lay it on the ground”…. and that’s when they wheeled out the brand new leisure bike and it all clicked.

“Yep, put a kickstand on it”, I replied.

I have a confession to make:  I put a kickstand on my 3700 when I bought it from a buddy of mine and the mechanic at the shop said the same thing to me.  Humorously, I gave the same reason for wanting the kickstand.  Hey, I didn’t know any better. 

For those who don’t know any better, I thought I would take a moment to show what can be done in lieu of a kickstand… because you don’t put a kickstand on a real bike.  That’s a period at the end of that last sentence.  I went through photos used in my blog posts over the last four years that illustrate what we do in lieu of the landing gear, in ways that won’t muck up the paint or dirty the steed:

The Standard Lean (Points of contact: rear wheel, saddle, handlebar end):

Possibly the most stable of the leaning methods, this has three points of contact and none are on painted surfaces.  Getting the lean, so all three points make contact with the wall, takes a little practice, but your bike isn’t going anywhere.

The Leaner In the Rear (point of contact:  rear wheel)

This is a fine balancing act, but as you can see, you can fit a lot of bikes along a minimal stretch of wall just by backing the bike up to a wall at an angle and leaning the rear wheel, slightly, onto the wall.  Not recommended in windy conditions.  You will look like the cyclist you are when you employ this strategy successfully.  Don’t mess it up.

The Saddlehanger Lean (point of contact:  saddle)

The Saddlehanger lean is fairly stable, depending upon the amount of lean one puts into it.  More is better, to an extent.  Too much of a good thing is bad.  Not enough lean and you might as well just skip to the end and throw your bike on the ground.

The Break Your Bike Lean (point of contact:  handlebar)

The handlebar lean is mainly for photography purposes and should never be employed hastily.  This method requires exceptional balance and careful calculation.  No wind conditions only and this should not be used in the presence of other cyclists who will knock your bike over.

The Saddle and Pedal (points of contact:  saddle, pedal)

This is my favorite for leaning my bike just off of my front porch.  Almost, seemingly in defiance of physics and gravity, the bike wants to roll backward.  To stop this, wheel the pedal that will rest on the pedestal upwards…  Zoom in and you can see the pedal holding the bike from rolling back.

The Bike Shop Special (points of contact: saddle, handlebar)

This is an excellently stable manner of leaning a bike.

The Dubya (Wheel Well Wedge) (points of contact: rear wheel of bike on the tire and wheel well of the vehicle)

Do not force this lest you bend your wheel.  This is a delicate balancing act but is exceptionally stable.  Also, try not to forget your bike is there when you have to get back in the car to retrieve your helmet.  That you forgot.  Forgot being the operative word there.

The Stick (point of contact: rear quick release skewer)

The stick is very unstable.  Used only in low to no wind situations for photography.  A piece of wire (12 ga or better) works better, but who has 12 ga wire laying around?  Sticks are everywhere.

A Little Help from My Friend (points of contact:  handlebars (bar tape [!]) and seat posts

This one I did in the bike room because I ran out of daylight.  Also, I did this myself but two people make this considerably easier to not mess up.  This one is used when other leaning options are exhausted or you want to look like you’re brilliant while others, out of options, lay their bikes on the ground getting dirt and grit stuck in parts that don’t do well with dirt and grit  stuck in them.  My favorite is the drivetrain in the dirt.  Brilliant.

Take Him to the Bridge (points of contact:  rear wheel, handlebar… and possibly Justin Timberlake)

This is a precarious position for a bike costing several Thousand Dollars.  Use with care.

The Seat Post Lean (point of contact: duh.)

This method of leaning the bike should only be employed on a leather couch so as to preserve the paint job on the bike.  Period.  Notice the cocking of the front wheel to add stability.

On the Fence (points of contact: rear wheel, handlebar)

Simple enough.

The Armrest (points of contact: Jens Voight, top tube

If you happen to have a spare Jensie laying around, this’ll work in a pinch.  Just make sure and bring a fair amount of rope so you can lasso his seat post while you’re riding.

My friends, God willing, kickstands will never be cool, for a variety of reasons, not just snobbery.  That said, the illustrations above are more than enough you’ll never run into a spot where you need one.  I haven’t.

Don’t defile your bike.  Kickstands are for kids… who, rather ironically, will lay their steed on the ground getting dirt and grit ground into parts that don’t do well having dirt and grit ground in them… before bothering to flick it down.

This has been a public service announcement from Fit Recovery.

UPDATE:  One reader who commented mistook my being a bike snob for being an @$$hole.  Please don’t.  I am a bike snob, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but I am not an @$$hole.  It’s all good-natured fun.

UPDATE II:  Biking to Work offered the pedal park, a nice one, here.  I don’t use that one on the Venge because; carbon fiber crank set.  That notwithstanding, it’ll definitely work in a pinch.

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