Just for Kicks: One Cyclist’s DIY Kickstand Block-and-Plate Adaptation by Tamia Nelson

Kickstands make life a little bit easier for cyclists who use their bikes to haul stuff. Unfortunately, however, many bikes lack a handy kickstand mounting plate. So if you want to fit a kickstand, you’ll have to proceed cautiously. Most one- and two-legged kickstands come with a clamp mount designed to bridge the (plateless) chainstays, and in theory it’s easy to use. Just tighten the clamp and you’re good to go. But this turns out to be a very fussy job. If the clamp is too loose, even by a little bit, the kickstand can rotate under load, dumping your bike to the ground. It may even slip while you’re riding, allowing the kickstand’s leg(s) to fall foul of your rear wheel. That’s guaranteed to bring your ride to sudden stop. Tighten the clamp too much, and you’ll dent the chainstays, weakening the frame with potentially disastrous consequences.

What to do? Turn your back on kickstands and make do? That’s one answer, of course. Or you could improvise, adapt, and overcome the inherent weakness of a kickstand. Cyclist Chris Garrison has done just that. He wrote to me recently to describe an adaptation he’s designed:

I've been using a block-and-plate design to mount my Pletscher Kickstand. It distributes the load evenly to the chain stays, and the block prevents overtightening and crushing the stays.

Chris has posted an excellent step-by-step article on his website, Long Haul Trucker Build.com, complete with photos and detailed instructions of how to build your own block-and-plate kickstand. But what if you don’t have the machining skills to build your own? No problem. Chris sells kits, too.

Garrison Kickstand Block and Plate

Chris’ ingenuity doesn’t end with one invention. He’s also designed a “lock link” to prevent the bike’s front wheel from swinging while parked. As with the kickstand block-and-plate, he’s written a detailed article on building one yourself. And also like with the kickstand mod, this elegant device is available in kit form, too. Check ’em out!

Garrison Steering Lock Link

Photos courtesy Chris Garrison.

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For half a century, Tamia Nelson has been ranging far and wide by bike, boat, and on foot. A geologist by training, an artist since she could hold a pencil, a photographer since her uncle gave her a twin-lens reflex camera when she was 10, she's made her living as a writer and novelist for two decades. Avocationally her interests span natural history, social history, cooking, art, and self-powered outdoor pursuits, and she has broad experience in mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, snowshoeing and skiing.