As with many things in life, if it was good enough for Grandpa, it is good enough for me.
When it comes to bikes, that means the equivalent of all the comfort and practicality of pants hiked above the waist, a coin purse full of shiny pennies and velcro shoes.
In the parlance of the pedaler this translates to fenders (mudguards), a wide hard leather saddle with springs, and a kickstand.
This last item presents somewhat of a conundrum. There are three choices that I know of: a single leg kick stand (and a variant called a flick stand) and a double leg kickstand. For loaded touring, the single leg really doesn’t support the bike well and often results in the bicycle rolling in a quarter circle before tipping over due to the lean and the weight.
I have not tried the click stand which is essentially a collapsible pole (think about a tent pole) which is placed against the top tube and reaches the ground. This system also requires you to engage a brake either by wedging open the brake lever (with a cork or other item) or using a strap to keep the level engaged. This system is too complicated for me (assemble the stand, lean the bike against it, engage the break).
My choice of kickstands is the two leg kickstand and the best I have found is made by Pletscher. At the cost of some added weight, it provides a simple elegant and functional addition to the bike.
To engage the kickstand, hop off the bike, lift the front wheel, and open the stand with your foot – thus the self-evident name. As long as the side to side load is reasonably balanced, the bike waits patiently. It also makes loading or digging around in the bags easier because you don’t need to support the bike at the same time. It also keeps your bags from getting beat up by avoiding the need to lay the bike down on top of them. The bike on the kickstand also makes removing wheels for flat repairs easy since the bike can remain upright.
The dark side is that a Pletscher stand will cause frame deformation where it is mounted. The mount is a compression system which over time loosens, which requires torqueing it down to keep the kickstand stable, further causing frame damage.
There are alternative mounting systems. I tried one such system but found it lacking for loaded touring. It seems to work fine for unloaded bicycles. It still requires torquing down (although with less pressure on the frame than the Pletcher mount).
I fabricated the insert for this mount and used it for test runs and the few days to Austin. However, by the time we got there, the mounting system was showing preliminary frame damage.
Our friend Rich (who’s joining us for a week or so riding out of Austin) mounted a kickstand plate on his bike (bikes used to have these, especially cheaper bikes) and Sarah and I decided to go ahead and wreck some paint for this improvement.
The end result is spectacular. If only more frame makers would add this simple improvement.