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Cyclists check out bicycles all the time. You see one on the back of a car, you pay a glance. Notice a couple leaning against the window at the coffee shop; you stare at them until you pass. See a new one tricked out in a bike stand at the bike store, you fall in love. I’m not sure if it’s the bicycles or the people that ride them that excite me more, but I feel connected, part of a small group each time I see a bicycle.
Our company, www.ezbikeproducts.com , develops cycling products to make cycling easier. Our popular EZ Bike Stand has been well endorsed and accepted by the cycling community. However, one simple product we offer that gets less attention but well received is our Velcro Brand One Wrap strap. I cannot think of a better solution for keeping the front wheel of a bicycle stable when traveling with your bike hanging on the rear bike rack of a car. http://ezbikeproducts.com/ez-straps/
I used to use bungee cords, rope, and non-Velcro straps to keep my front wheel from banging into the bumper of my car or into my wife’s bike’s spokes when I was carrying both bikes. No longer. With only a small piece of our Velcro Brand One Wrap strap weaved behind the bottle cage and around the front wheel, we have created a simple and quick way to eliminate the “turned wheel” syndrome.
I mentioned I can’t help but stare at every bicycle I see hanging on the back of a car…or in a bike stand for that matter. At first it was for the beauty. But now I check it out to see if someone is suffering from “turned wheel” syndrome or the “lean”. While I may miss my first glance, it sure is rewarding to see cyclists that are cured.
If it looks like a bike stand and works like a bike stand, it must be a bike stand. Not so! Bike stands live in a world of ambiguity amongst cyclists. The terms bicycle stand, bike stand, bicycle rack or bike rack may refer to the same thing. In fact, stationary bicycle trainers, bicycle carriers, bicycle repair stands, and motorcycle stands are sometimes called bike stands.
Interestingly, bike stand has no definition, however, a bicycle stand and bicycle carrier is defined as such:
• Bicycle stand – a stationary fixture to which a bicycle can be securely attached (typically using a bicycle lock) to prevent theft.
• Bicycle carrier – a device attached to a vehicle (e.g. to a car or bus) to which bicycles can be mounted for transport.
As the inventor of the EZ Bike Stand, this is surprising. I had not thought of a bicycle stand as a device to which bicycles may be securely attached. A bicycle rack perhaps, but not a bicycle stand. Even Orville and Wilbur Wright considered bike stands to be portable, easy to use devices to keep bicycles upright, not secured. However, I understand European countries often refer to bike stands as places to secure your bike and that these stands are located throughout their cities to accommodate the high volume of bicycle commuters and shoppers.
Perhaps it’s this confusion that has led cyclists to keep from exploring bicycle stands for their true value. Or maybe the portable bike stand is still in its infancy stage. Personally, I think it’s the most overlooked bicycle accessory today. Here’s a recent video I found on-line from a customer unknown to me. 2009 Specialized Allez Elite w/ EZ Bike Stand I believe the viral affect of cyclists telling cyclists about quality products using social media and technology will change the bicycle stand landscape in the future. And who knows, perhaps our friend the bike stand will finally get noticed by Webster.
Many people refer to a bicycle repair stand as a bike stand. However, a bicycle repair stand has a number of different features than a traditional bicycle stand. For example, they typically are much larger and heavier pieces of equipment, some of them weighing over 15 pounds. They lift your bike off the ground and use a clamping device to secure it. By raising your bike up, you are able to rotate the pedals forwards or backwards making it easy to work on gears, pedals, chains, brakes, etc. An elevated bike also makes it easy for you to work on while seated on a stool or chair. In addition, some bicycle repair stands will allow you to rotate or swivel your bike giving you access to both sides of it without moving your stool.
Unlike a bicycle stand which is usually portable, a bicycle repair stand is rarely traveled with because of its size and weight. Granted, I’ve seen bicycle shops and cycling teams bring them to races, but that’s out of necessity rather than convenience. Also, some bicycle repair stands permanently affix to a workbench like a vise, making them impossible to take with you.
I have written many blogs about bicycle stands and the benefits of owning one. If you use one, you know the conveniences it provides and the frustrations it eliminates. As co-inventor of the EZ Bike Stand you might feel I have a bias toward owning a bike stand, but the reality is that the feedback I get every week tells me how much cyclists love them.
However, not all bicycle stands are alike and not all of them loved. The tips I provide in my blog at www.ezbikeproducts.com/blog/ explain the differences you should consider. I would also encourage you to ask other cyclists their opinions when you see bicycle stands at group rides or races.
I believe the proverb, “you get what you paid for” holds true with bicycle stands. While your bicycle is the single largest cycling investment you’ll make, you should consider how you plan to store, protect, and maintain it. The cost of a bike stand is minimal when you look at the bigger picture. And if you plan on a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) bike stand, consider the time, cost, functionality, and usefulness before taking on your project.
I’ve discussed in previous blogs the benefits of a portable bike stand. While the main reason a cyclist purchases a bicycle stand is for storage, the ability to take it with you should not be overlooked when making your bike stand purchase. This was reaffirmed this past weekend when my wife and I traveled to a nearby state park.
As cars and trucks filled the parking lot on an unusually warm winter day, mountain bikes and road bikes were unleashed from their four-wheel transporters without much consideration where to stand them. We saw new bikes roll away from their vehicles and crash to the pavement. We saw bicycles laid down on the concrete while cyclists got ready to ride. We saw people struggling trying to pump their tires while their bikes shifted on the sloping surface. You could tell what started out to be a beautiful day in the park was turning into frustration for some cyclists.
We, of course, made our bicycle stands the first things we took out of our car, giving us a secured spot to put our bikes. I especially like having two EZ Bike Stands joined by an EZ Connector because the 10 lbs. of bike stand weight can withstand stronger winds and more rugged terrain. The freedom this provided us as we prepared for our ride was incredible. And after a good, long ride, our bike stands provided a convenient and easy place to put our bikes as we prepared to pack up our car.
Besides traveling to a local area to ride, a portable bike stand is fantastic for traveling overnight with your bicycle too. Hotels, motels, cabins, and inns appreciate cyclists more when they protect their property from grease and scratches caused by bicycles. And the check-in process goes a lot smoother when your bike is resting in a bike stand and not on you or their counter.
So, when thinking about purchasing a bike stand, don’t forget to consider whether it’s a portable bike stand or not. You’ll soon enjoy the additional benefit the next time you travel with your bike.
Making cycling easier!
We’ve counted down our Top 10 most popular uses of a bike stand, some which may surprise you.
10. Selling bicycles. One effective way to sell more bicycles is to display them better. Since space is limited in most bike shops, put the bikes that interest customers on bike stands. It’s more appealing to have 360º access and views of a bike than having them lean against something.
9. Improving triathlon transition times. A bike stand allows you to practice T1 and T2 to shave seconds off your transition times. Coaches, professionals, and age-groupers have become fans of the EZ Bike Stand because it’s easier to use and protects your spokes better than most bike stands.
8. Overnight travel. Hotels, motels, cabins, and inns will appreciate you more when their furniture and curtains are left “ungreased” because you brought your portable bike stand along with you. It also makes hotel lobby check-in a lot easier.
7. Changing wheels. Not all bike stands have this capability, but because the EZ Bike Stand is adjustable and uniquely designed, it can securely hold your bike by the front or back wheel making the wheel change and alignment quite simple. Whereas, a “one-size-fits-all” bike stand may be less secure and tilt your bike during a wheel change.
6. Traveling to group rides or events. Make your portable bike stand the first thing you take out of your car and you’ll always have a place to put your bike while preparing and returning from your ride.
5. Cleaning. With a bike stand, cleaning your bicycle becomes fun and easy, and not so messy. Step away after you’ve cleaned your bike and enjoy your sparkling bicycle standing on its own in the sunlight.
4. Repairs. Simple repairs and bike maintenance are made easy when you use a bike stand. A quick adjustment or small tweaking shouldn’t require using clamps or elevating your bike.
3. Lubing chains. A bike stand should allow for a smooth counter-clockwise rotation of your pedals making lubing your chain hassle-free.
2. Pumping tires. Whether you ride everyday, once a week, or longer, your tires lose air pressure. A bike stand makes pumping tires quick and easy. The EZ Bike Stand has an additional cut-out to properly position the valve stem and minimize the risk of a valve stem flat while pumping up your tires.
1. Storage. If you simply add up the time a bicycle spends in a bike stand, you’ll get storage as the overwhelming number one use of a bike stand. While we believe this, alone, is a good reason to own a bike stand, we sure like the other popular uses too!
Making cycling easier!