Year in Review: Bicycle Storage

In the late 70s, we built a 10′ x 20′ storage building in our back yard. It was divided into three spaces: 10′ x 10′ for general storage; 4 ‘ x 10′ for yard tools and a pump for the sprinkler system and a 6′ x 10’ workshop.

John Perry installing windowIt was unconditioned and poorly sealed, particularly when the bottoms of the doors would rot out. Over the years, it became the home for squirrels, rats, a possum family, silverfish, cockroaches and, eventually, termites.

When I retired in September, 2008, I needed a place to store all of my prints, negatives and clips under controlled conditions. We had Brother-in-Law John come down to make the place right after everything was emptied out, triaged and termite-tented.

When he was done, the building was insulated, drywalled, air conditioned and had a hurricane-proof window in the workshop.

How do I store the bicycles?

The only problem was that I had five bicycles to contend with: my new Surly Long Haul Trucker, old Trek 1220, Wife Lila’s Trek Navigator 300 and Schwinn 3-speed. Finally, there was Bro Mark’s 40-year-old Sears Spyder that I had hoped to restore.

Those were all blocking access to the shelves that had my archived photos. Shuffling them around was going to drive me crazy.

That’s when I heard about the Cycle Tree

Harbor Freight Cycle Tree with four bikes on itThe Cycle Tree, from Harbor Freight, sounded like my solution.

  • It holds up to six bikes.
  • It’s on wheels, so it can be moved from one side of the room to another easily to get to the shelves.
  • It takes up four square feet of floor space.
  • Best of all, it costs $44.99 (plus shipping)

Read the full Cycle Tree review

The full review, including detailed pictures of the assembly, is here.

Bottom line: sometimes you really DO get more than you pay for. The Cycle Tree does everything I need it to and for a great price.

Year in Review: Kick Stands and Click-Stands

Part of a continuing series on looking back at product reviews I’ve done during 2009

It’s amazing how almost every topic inspires passionate debate among cyclists. Kickstands are one of those Holy War topics with some arguing that they aren’t needed and others – like me – saying they don’t know how you can get along without them.

Here’s a look at two solutions for giving your bike a leg to stand on. (In the case of the ESGE/Pletscher Double-legged kickstand, it gives it two legs to stand on.)

ESGE/Pletscher Double-legged kickstand

ESGE/Pletscher Double-legged kickstandThis is what it looked like on my Trek 1220. I moved it over to my Surly Long Haul trucker when I bought it at the first of the year.

You can read the full review here.

The nice thing about this kickstand is that it will raise either the front or rear wheel off the ground, which means it can act as a portable work stand. Taking a wheel off to fix a flat or making brake or shifting adjustment is a piece of cake.

Some folks have had problems with this style kickstand either crushing the chain stays or working loose. I haven’t had that happen on either of my bikes. Maybe that just says that I’m weaker than some cyclists and stronger than others.

The long legs WILL dig into soft blacktop or soil and cause the bike to spill over. A strong wind will also dump it.

In fairness, I can’t think of any time when my bike has fallen over when it wouldn’t have fallen over easier and earlier with a conventional kickstand.

The Click-Stand

Most kickstands attach to the bicycle. The Click-Stand takes a completely different approach.

Click-Stand Mini-6

You can read the full review here.

Think of a folding tent pole that deploys with the flick of your wrist and supports the bike from the top tube.

It probably weighs about as much or less than a regular kickstand. Even my weight wienie brother Mark was willing to try one.

Watch this demo that my four-year-old grandson did minutes after I handed it to him.

Wow! captures the idea.

How does it work?

You slip included brake-bands over the brake levers to keep the bike from rolling. (I used Velcro straps to do the job on my bike.)

You flick out the Click-Stand (WOW!), place the rubberized cradle under the top tube just in front of the seat tube, lean your bike over slightly and place the rubberized bottom end about 10 inches off the centerline of the bike.

Your two wheels and the Click-Stand have become a tripod.

DOES it work?

I was impressed. It doesn’t deploy as quickly as my double-legged kickstand, but it’s much more stable. My bike hasn’t taken a spill since I started using it.

Other info about the Click-Stand

Shortly after I got mine, the inventor came up with some nifty ways to mount it on your bike. If you go to my link above, you can see how I carry it on my LHT. Bro Mark just stuffs his in his jersey pocket.

If you’re a Freakbiker riding a tall bike, you make your own manly variation of a Click-Stand out of an old IV stand.

Year in Review: Bicycle Pumps

It’s getting to the time of year when folks are looking for gifts for themselves, their friends or their bikes. Here are some links to some pump reviews I’ve done in 2009.  This is the first of a series of review reviews.

Blackburn floor pump goes BANG!!!

Blown hoseI pulled my car off to the side of the road to help a rider who had flatted on a charity ride. He got his tire pumped up to 119 psi, but when he tried for 120 psi, there was a loud BANG!!!

It wasn’t the tube. It was the hose that had blown near the base of the pump.

Blackburn has a lifetime warranty on their pumps, so I wasn’t worried. Their customer service is a little disappointing, though. After several emails, two calls and 13 minutes on hold being told that my call was very important, Customer Service Courtney said that they were behind in reading their email, that my pump had been discontinued and that they would send me a new Air Tower 2 to replace it.

Blackburn Air Tower 2 has some nice features

Blackburn Air Tower 2Four days after finally being able to contact Blackburn, a brand-new Blackburn Air Tower 2 arrived on my doorstep.

Here’s the full review of the pump.

Bottom line: it works like a floor pump should. The head has been redesigned. Instead of the T-shaped top on my old pump, this one has a single head with two holes. One is for Schrader valves; the smaller is for Presta.

Some readers have complained that their pumps haven’t worked right with Presta valves, but I haven’t had that experience.

The pump has a nifty storage area in the handle that holds inflators for balls, rafts, pool toys, etc. It’s not a reason to buy the pump, but it’s a nice extra.

Topeak Road Morph Pump with Gauge

Topeak Road Morph Tire PumpI decided my new Surly Long Haul Trucker deserved a new pump. After doing some research, I ended up with the Topeak Road Morph G Bike Pump with Gauge.

It’s a great pump, but the documentation leaves a lot to be desired.  To save you from going through the (embarrassing) gyrations I went through, I created the Topeak Road Morph Pump with Gauge Guide for Dummies.

The review also covers how I mount the pump on my LHT and what tire tools I carry.