Light Play

A.N.T. Light Brackets

Mike Flanigan at A.N.T. fabricated a very nice pair of brackets for mounting my Fenix L2D flashlights on my mid-fork lowrider braze-ons. Mounting the lights closer to the ground is quite an improvement. In this lower position, they more effectively illuminate the road close to the bike while also throwing more light down the road.


Grocery Shopping for the Feast

Parked in front of Whole Foods, shopping for the upcoming feast. In case you were wondering, a pair of Pashleys outfitted with Basil panniers can haul quite a load of groceries.


Kickstands are an absolute necessity on utility bikes. They make parking and locking-up a breeze, and they make it much easier to load and unload panniers and racks. A majority of bikes are still sold without kickstands, but thankfully we’re starting to see more and more commuters and city bikes come stock from the factory with kickstands.

For bikes that don’t come equipped with a kickstand, a number of aftermarket models are available, most of which clamp to the frame just behind the bottom bracket. Installation is simple and solid on frames that have a plate welded in place to accept a kickstand. On bikes that don’t have a mounting plate, an all-purpose clamp is used to secure the kickstand to the frame. Because these clamps aren’t specific to any particular bike, they aren’t always a good fit, and in some cases they can even damage the frame.

The following photos were posted to the Surly LHT Google Group. Both show damage from a clamp-on kickstand. The first was caused by a kickstand that wasn’t tightly secured, and as the kickstand came loose, it moved around and tore up the finish. The second was caused by over-tightening the mounting clamp which crushed the chainstays (ouch).

Many people use clamp-on kickstands without issue, but if you’re unsure and don’t want to risk damaging your frame, there is an alternative.

The Click-Stand is a collapsible kickstand made from shock corded, expedition-grade aluminum tubing, similar in design to high-tech tent poles and walking staffs. The Click-Stand supports the bike from under the top tube, just in front of the seat tube. Supporting the bike from this high position reduces the leverage against the Click-Stand and makes it stronger and more stable than a traditional, single-legged kickstand.

Each Click-Stand is made to order based upon measurements taken from your bike. Tom at Click-Stand will need to know the distance from the ground to the underside of your top tube, as well as the diameter of your top tube. Instructions on how to correctly measure your bike are posted on the Click-Stand website.

Once you’ve taken your measurements, you can order a Click-Stand online at their website or call with your measurements. There are four models available:

  • Click-Stand Classic – This is the original Click-Stand. It is made from .380″ diameter Easton aluminum tubing and can be ordered with either 4 or 5 segments. It folds to less than 10″ and weighs approximately 70 grams.
  • Click-Stand Mini-5 – The Mini-5 is made from .340″ Easton aluminum tubing and is divided into 5 segments. It folds to approximately 8 1/2″ and is small enough to fit into a jersey pocket or pannier.
  • Click-Stand Mini-6 – The Mini-6 is the smallest Click-Stand. It is made from .340″ Easton aluminum tubing and is divided into 6 segments. It folds to approximately 7 1/2″ and is small enough to fit into a coat pocket or small to medium-sized seat or handlebar bag.
  • Click-Stand Max – The Click-Stand Max is made from .433″ Easton aluminum tubing and can be ordered with either 4 or 5 segments. The Max is intended for tandems, cargo haulers, and loaded touring bikes.

All Click-Stand models have a black rubber coated head and rubber foot, and are shipped with a velcro strap for storing, and “brake bands” for locking the front wheel.

Using a Click-Stand is super easy. Before extending the stand, lock the front brake with one of the supplied elastic brake bands. This keeps the bike from rolling off the Click-Stand and is not a bad idea even if you’re using a traditional kickstand. Once the front brake is locked, simply unhook the little velcro loop that holds the folded unit together, grab one end, flick your wrist, and the Click-Stand unfolds and “clicks” into place (if you’ve ever set-up a lightweight tent, this will feel very familiar). Place the cradle end of the Click-Stand under your top tube, just ahead of the seat tube, lean the bike over slightly, and place the opposite end on the ground, about 10″ off the centerline of the bike. That’s all there is to it. With a little practice, the process takes all of about 10-15 seconds.

I’ve been testing a Classic-5 and a Mini-6. The Classic-5 is just slightly larger than the Mini-6. The Classic-5 easily slips into the side pocket of my Arkel Bug and the Mini-6 fits perfectly in my small Acorn handlebar bag. Both are well-made, lightweight, compact, and appear as if they’ll last many years. They both seem plenty strong for everyday trips to the grocery store, library, or work, but for heavy duty applications such as cargo hauling or loaded touring, the Max would be a better choice.

The Click-Stand is one of those clever “why didn’t I think of that” products. It’s a perfect solution for bikes that won’t readily accept an aftermarket kickstand, particularly if you’re concerned about marring the finish or possibly damaging the frame of your favorite bike.


Add Minneapolis to the List

From the MPP Downtown Journal:

Bike-sharing programs have taken off overseas, but they haven’t caught on in the States yet. Parisians have a fleet of 20,600 bicycles to share. In Barcelona, 3,000 bikes are each taken out 10 times per day, prompting the city to double the size of its program. In German cities, riders make a phone call to unlock the bikes they share.

The mayor of Minneapolis is looking to join those cities’ ranks and embrace our rising status as a bike-commuting town by dropping 1,000 bicycles into Downtown, Uptown and the University of Minnesota campus next spring.

Read the full story

CETMA Cargo Bike

The new CETMA cargo bike. Made in the U.S.A.

More info

WaPo Editorial: Raise the Gas Tax

An editorial in the Washington Post asks if falling oil prices will cause motorists to resume their old ways:

THE PRICE OF crude oil closed at $57.04 a barrel on Friday. That’s about $90 cheaper than it was in July. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline Friday was $2.15, nearly $2 less than it was in July. This is definitely good news for the battered American consumer. But we fear that the temptation to return to gas-guzzling vehicles, to drive more and to forget the painful lessons learned last summer will be too great to resist.

And I can’t help but wonder if falling gas prices and cooling temperatures are pulling recently converted bike commuters off their bikes and back into their cars.

Read the full story

© 2011 EcoVelo™