Jun 06 2016

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

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.

Further Reading


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May 26 2016

Boat Car Bounty: Our Readers’ Rigs

Red River Boat Car(t)

Not every paddler needs (or wants) a “boat car,” but it’s certainly convenient to have a vehicle you use only to haul your boat and gear to and from put‑ins — a sort of getaway pack on four wheels, if you will, always provisioned and ready to whisk you away at a moment’s notice. Admittedly, this notion borders on the tottery edge of the Abyss of Hyperconsumption, the yawning chasm that threatens to consume us all. But there are a lot of aging cars around, many of them still roadworthy, and any of these could be rescued from the crusher to enjoy a second childhood as a boat car. The bottom line? Acquiring a boat car isn’t quite as extravagant as it seems at first glance. (And you can always co‑opt a bicycle for the role, if you prefer the low‑octane approach.)

I first broached this subject in a recent column. I can’t claim credit for the idea, of course. It had its genesis in angler‑author Robert Traver’s description of his “fish car.” But since not all paddlers are anglers, I thought it well worth passing along. And in a postscript to the column I invited any readers who wanted to “brag a little” about their own boat cars to do so. I’m happy to say that you took the bait, so to speak. You e‑mailed me, describing your boat cars, and many of you sent pictures, as well. These were too good to keep to myself — a not infrequent occurrence — and now, with the writers’ permission, I’m passing a representative sample along.


I have to say I got a few surprises when I dipped into my virtual mailbag. I’d expected to get pictures of SUVs, trucks, and vans, the sort of vehicles advertised in magazines devoted to extreme sports and outdoor lifestyles. But most of your boat cars were … er … cars. This had me scratching my head for a while, but eventually I realized that, where boat cars are concerned, a low roof is a thing of beauty… Read more…


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May 26 2016

Make-and-Take Wraps: They’re Full of Beans

Wrapped Up

While it’s wonderful to linger over an elaborate meal with family or friends, simple and quick is often the way to go. This is certainly true when you’ll be putting many miles under your keel between first light and dusk. On days like that, make‑and‑take (that’s short for “make ahead of time and take along”) grub comes into its own. And it’s even better if your take‑along meal can be eaten out of hand.

Such meals have long played a part in Farwell’s and my lives. During the years we spent in the stones‑and‑bones trade, make‑and‑take lunches were our workweek norm, and the habit carried over into our weekends. We soon discovered that quick‑and‑easy grub was perfect for peripatetic paddlers like us, particularly on day trips, when the drive to and from the put‑in — not to mention the subsequent car shuttle — consumed a large part of the time available.

Fast‑forward to today. We still rely on make‑and‑take lunches whenever time presses, and last month I described a favorite, the submarine sandwich. But good as the sub is, it’s not the only make‑and‑take treat. Consider no-cook bean wraps… Read more…

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