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

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

February 2017
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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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22 Comments

  1. unironedman says:

    Fitness Recovery Jim in ‘bike snob’ revelation. And in other news, the world is indeed round… 🙂

  2. Dan says:

    You a bike snob?!?! The world as we know it has disintegrate!

    • Dan says:

      *disintegrated. The one in the car wheel well was a new one on me. I’ve not been very successful with the t
      2 bikes leaning against each other.

  3. biking2work says:

    I like the Dubya too-gonna get my bike out tomorrow especially for that one. Disappointed not to see the pedal park though

  4. I don’t often lean my bike but when I do, I get The Jensie to casually hold it up for me… 😉

  5. Brent says:

    When I bought my new carbon fiber road bike two years ago, I thought the owner/sales guy had a bit of an attitude, like he was doing me a favor by allowing me to purchase the bike from him, probably because I was not enough of a racer for his tastes.

    When I picked it up, I asked him where the kickstand was — I told him that because I got a carbon fiber frame, I thought it would come with a matching carbon fiber kickstand. I thought it was funny, but his reaction told me everything I needed to know about what he thought of me. I have bought 3 bikes since then, none of them from that shop, which went out of business soon after in large part because of that attitude.

    Interestingly, kickstands ARE appropriate in one fairly rare situation: when you’re riding a fully loaded touring bike with all your worldly goods through some obscure country that most people couldn’t find on a map. There’s not always something stable enough to lean your bike against, and you don’t want to put it on its side in a Mongolian meadow full of yak dung. Expedition bikes come with a kickstand plate connecting the chain stays just like many bikes have a brake bridge connecting the seat stays. And there are a couple European companies that make ultra-light but ultra-strong kickstands that cost a pretty penny.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Brent, every piece of bike snobbery on my blog (the collection of posts, not the post), is all good natured, self-deprecating humor. It’s hard to pull off in writing and sometimes I fall short. My ignorance of touring, because I have a job a wife, and kids is apparent. Obviously a kickstand sounds much better than a pile of dukie, provided you have ground harder than said poop to put the kickstand down in. Lest your bike end up in the turd anyway. 😉

  6. wanderwolf says:

    Cool list of options and helpful photos. This good be a Yahoo “How to” post. 🙂

  7. I have taught each of my loyal steeds to sit and stay.

    Certain bikes, like the leisure bike that woman was buying or my daughters white wall fat tire extra wide handlebar huge seat cruiser, need a kick stand. Those are the bikes you hang a basket from the handlebars for those cruises to the library and grocery store.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Truer words have never been written.

    • MJ Ray says:

      Exactly! Kickstands are fine and even a good idea IF THE BIKE IS BUILT FOR IT, with a fixing plate. I’ve various bikes with various stands, mostly prop stands but the most used bike has a centre stand. I’ve only used a chain stay clamp on one bike, it’s not mine, it’s tough steel and I still worry about it! The road bike, however, has no stand, as it has no plate and I’m not putting a clamp on its chain stays.

      I prefer the various saddle leans. I don’t like rear wheel being a contact point because of the potential damage if some nut hits the bike. Unlikely but it would still bug me.

  8. […] before I go back to school to collect the boys this arvo.  Here’s a bicycle lean method that Jim omitted in the weekend with aforementioned garden about to be given some spring time […]

  9. saoirsek says:

    Haaaa, I’m not really a cyclist but even I cringed…

  10. Rat Catcher says:

    also, those kickstands that mount by means of two plates that compress onto the bridge between your chainstays will CRACK the chainstays if not installed with care (they rarely are). and unless your bike is made of chro-mo or carbon, you will be out of luck if it cracks.

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