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A Noob’s Guide to Cycling: The Kickstand Conundrum – How to Lean Your Bike So It Doesn’t Get Damaged

For those old and new to cycling, I have an experience I can pass along that just might save you from a damaged bicycle. Now, if you’re new to cycling, don’t bemoan the fact your new mountain, gravel or road bike didn’t come with a kickstand. You most certainly don’t need one – and don’t have one installed unless you’ve got a leisure bike. For mountain bikers, kickstands are terribly dangerous. What happens when you get a little air and, when you land, your kickstand drops down on you? For a gravel bike, you find yourself in a spot where you can’t avoid a row of washboard potholes. Same problem. For a road bike, just no.

If you would like to know a few ways to lean your bike, have a look at this post I wrote a while back.

My wife, because I love her dearly, has a robot to vacuum the house. It’s quite nice, actually. The floors are always clean (we have vinyl or wood laminate flooring throughout much of the first floor of our home). Well, one day I left my Specialized Venge, my good bike, leaning against a wall as I normally would – except I didn’t quite lean it in deep enough so it would be immobile. The robot got between my bike and the wall and tipped my bike over.

Thankfully, nothing broke. On the other hand, my right shifter lever was turned in and the derailleur hanger for the rear mech was bent. I noticed the poor shifting instantly and switched bikes for my usual afternoon ride. I took the good bike in later in the week to have the hanger straightened (with the right tool, this takes three minutes).

Properly demonstrated 2 & 3 point bike lean…

That was the last time I was careless about how I lean my bikes (unless I’m photographing them in the backyard – then, they’re leaned precariously, but in a controlled way).

There are three ways to lean your bike safely, that should ensure you don’t have to take your bike into the shop. On the previously linked post, you’re looking for the two-point or three-point lean. The handlebar and rear tire against the wall (or the handlebar and saddle), or the handlebar, saddle, and rear tire against the wall. In a pinch, you can use the right pedal on the curb method, but you really have to be mindful of wind speed and direction. The pedal on the curb isn’t for a windy day – especially for a lightweight bike.

The main point is, don’t rely on your spouse, kids, pets, or robot vacuum to look out for your bike. Mistakes happen. An important way to ensure your beautiful $6,000 bicycle/missile stays pristine is to make sure it can’t be accidentally knocked over.

Thanks, John, for the inspiration for this post.