Archive for April 10th, 2009

Recumbent Bike Kickstand Ground Plate

Kickstand ground plate in action

Kickstand ground plate in action

Have you ever done this? You pull up to a rest stop, flip down the kickstand, walk off to snarf some snackage, and crash your ‘bent falls over behind your back. Not only is it tough to look cool when that happens, even a zero-mph drop can scuff up your bike.

A long recumbent leaning heavily on its kickstand will inexorably push that spike right into mowed turf, bike-tour mire, or sun-softened asphalt. The small plywood square shown in the first photo solves that problem: the kickstand fits into a shallow recess and the plate spreads the bike’s weight so it simply can’t penetrate the ground.

The plate is a 3-inch square of 1/2” plywood, painted bright forget-me-not yellow. I used a 3/4” Forstner bit to drill a flat-bottomed recess through the top veneer layer, but you can poke several shallow holes with a 1/4” drill and then carve out the rest with a knife or chisel. The recess captures the end of the kickstand so the bike can’t slide off the block.

The parking brake shown in the second photo will keep your bike firmly in place even when you park on a slope. It’s a hook-and-loop (a.k.a Velcro) strip pulling the brake lever to the handgrip. Your nearby big-box retail store’s computer department mislabels these as “cable organizers” and a single package will provide enough parking brakes for your entire fleet.

Bicycle parking brake strap

Bicycle parking brake strap

Notice that dark extension on the kickstand? Just after I got my Tour Easy, I decided that the kickstand was about an inch too short. Rather than buy a new kickstand, I jammed a few inches of 1/2” copper water pipe on the end, trimmed it to the proper length, and sealed the top with glue-filled heatshrink tubing. Aluminum plus copper equals corrosion, but that lasted for about five years before the entire kickstand failed.

The small plate on the kickstand hinge holds a switch that lights an LED on the handlebars when the kickstand is down. It’s surprising how far you can slide on your forearms along a steep downhill asphalt road when you forget to flip the kickstand up, but that’s a story for another time.

A slightly different version of this note appeared in Recumbent Cyclist News back in early 2006, more or less, but everybody keeps asking me about that little yellow plate when we’re on organized rides.

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