OK, I’ll admit I have an irrational fondness for well-designed kickstand plates. It’s just that I’ve had to fuss and fight with clamp-on kickstands for too many years, and because I depend upon them nearly every day, a solid interface between the frame and kickstand is a big deal to me. As a matter of fact, not so long ago right here on this blog I vowed to never buy another bike without a kickstand plate. Call me weird, but this wasn’t an insignificant factor in my decision to go with my new Civia and its turbo kickstand plate with integrated fender mount and slots for control cables on both sides (check out the design process that went into its development here).
How about you? Do you feel a kickstand plate is a necessary part of a purpose-built commuting/utility frame or is this just much ado about nothing?
[Charles sent us these photos of his classic Caylor. —ed.]
Here is my Caylor built by Gunnar Caylor, Modesto California. Built in the early 1980’s. While not your typical touring geometry I have taken it to Germany twice fully loaded. I had Davidson Handbuilt Bicycles in Seattle respray it a few years ago. It now has a Nitto rear rack attached. Henry James lugs. Dura-Ace Triple set up for climbing hills here in the Bay Area, California.
Quality Bicycle Parts is the largest distributor of bicycle parts in the U.S. Their 1,762-page catalog is a treasure trove of goodness for bike geeks. Be forewarned; browsing the QBP catalog can be a tremendous time suck.
Browse the QBP Online Catalog →
The date is set for the second annual Sacramento Bike Swap in the Park. From the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen:
Together with The Friends of Fremont Park, the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen will again be hosting a Bicycle Swap Meet in Midtown Sacramento.
Back by popular demand, this year’s event looks to be even bigger. Here’s your chance to get a great deal on used bikes, parts and clothing from other bike riders and enthusiasts. If you’ve been waiting to sell something — old, new, vintage, or perhaps something that’s been sitting in your garage, this is a great opportunity to finally get it done. Proceeds will go to benefit both non-profit organizations: The Sac Bike Kitchen and The Friends of Fremont Park.
Sunday, May 22nd, 9 AM – 1 PM (rain date Sunday, June 5th)
Fremont Park in Midtown Sacramento, between P & Q and 15th & 16th Streets (it’s the green space located in front of the the Hot Italian restaurant).
Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen →
Friends of Fremont Park →
Photo © Civia Cycles
Heel clearance is an often overlooked dimension that is critical to commuters and utility bicyclists who need to haul things. Without sufficient heel clearance, pannier size may be limited, or in the worst case, loads might have to be carried on the rider’s back. It behooves any transpo rider to be aware of this dimension when choosing a bike and setting it up for commuting and cargo hauling.
So what is heel clearance? Heel clearance is the distance between the rider’s heel and the forward edge of the rear pannier. In other words, it’s the space behind the pedal for your feet. The factors that determine heel clearance are:
- chainstay length
- crank length
- rack design
- pannier size/design
- foot size and pedaling style (i.e., ball over the pedal versus arch over the pedal)
Of these, the two that can’t be adjusted are chainstay length and foot size. Crank length can be adjusted, but I’m guessing most people would rather choose their crank length based upon physiological needs and preference, not heel clearance. For some reason, rack design is often overlooked in this equation, which leaves undersized panniers and messenger bags as the most commonly used remedies for insufficient heel clearance.
My advice is to work in the opposite direction. First, determine how much cargo you need to haul and choose panniers based upon those needs. From there, look at racks that carry panniers further to the rear. If clearance is still an issue, going to shorter cranks is an option (though doing so will open a can of worms regarding fit). And finally, if all else fails, consider a bike with longer chainstays.
Of course, if you’re already in the market for a new bike, be sure to consider chainstay length in your decision making process. Doing so will save you some headaches (or backaches) down the road.
Tubus makes just about the toughest racks out there. For transpo riders who regularly carry a lot of weight on their bikes, Tubus racks are hard to beat. Unlike many less expensive racks on the market, Tubus racks are either brazed chromoly, welded stainless, or welded titanium. This nearly doubles their weight bearing capacity over most aluminum racks, while allowing Tubus to provide a full 30 year warranty.
My personal favorite Tubus rack is the Logo. As you can see in the top photo, the pannier mounting rail on the Logo is placed down and back from the main rack. This carries the load lower and further to the rear which is ideal for commuting bikes, many of which don’t have the heel clearance of touring bikes with their ultra-long chainstays. It also keeps the center of gravity low when running briefcase-style panniers that often ride a little high on standard racks.
At around $120, the Logo’s not cheap, but as a primary carrying device on a bike used as a car replacement it’s a great long-term investment. Highly recommended.
Weight: 1.65 lbs.
Maximum Capacity: 88 lbs.
Price: Approximately $120
Despite the recent backlash against New York’s expanding bike infrastructure, a recent poll shows that a majority of New Yorkers feel bike lanes are a positive addition to the cityscape. From the Quinnipiac University poll:
More bike lanes are good “because it’s greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycles,” 54 percent of New York City voters say, while 39 percent say bike lanes are bad “because it leaves less room for cars which increases traffic.”
View the Poll →