Handy Bike Prop

This is a nice device that I probably only reinvented. But I have never seen it used and no one has told be that they have seen it before. That disclaimer out of the way, this method is so simple and effective that others touring have ask me where they can get one. There is no place, so you will have to make your own.

When touring (and not touring) in areas that you can not lean your bike against a tree, such as touring in the Southwest USA, stopping requires you to lay the bike over on its side. For a heavy touring bike, this not only could dislocate gear, but get it muddy, or put an undue strain on the wheels lifting the bike back up. Also packing panniers or a 'Bob' trailer is a pain when the bike is leaning against a tree or picnic table. With the Bike Prop, loading panniers and /or a trailer becomes easy.

The tubing for my prototype (actually the only one made) is an old homemade tent pole with a sleeve section to allow joining the tube sections. One end has a plastic foot of sort, and the other end has a maple fork stuck in the end of the tubing. The wood fork was dipped in Plasti-Dip, a liquid plastic that when it drys produces a plastic waterproof coating. The yellow tape is just to make it more obvious so I don't inadvertently kick the pole away from the bike. Any tubing or wood stick can be used to the same effect.

The prop fork is hooked under the rear of the seat or any place that is convienent. Make sure that the foot is firmly stuck in the ground or on a non-skid surface.

Note that if the bike is propped with the Bike Prop, it will have a tendency to roll forward or backward. To prevent the bike from rolling, I use elastic loops (inner tubes sections, again!) to lock the brakes. While these photos show aero-style brake handles, the idea can be used for any type of handlebar brakes.

The elastic is looped over the lever, pulled back locking the brake,

and wrapped to the inside of the handles

and pulled up to loop over the brake hoods.

Usually I pull the brake lever back with my fingers when looping the elastic, to make sure the brake is set tightly. I do this on both brakes, although just the rear brake is adequate if the bike is not loaded. An added benefit is the black elastic is hardly noticeable on the handles when parked. For those times when touring that a bike lock is not obviously necessary, anyone who tries to grab the bike (if it is a 100 pound rig as when touring) will not be able to roll or pedal it away. It will certainly take them some time to figure that the brakes are set.

Here is an example of two friends touring in Alaska. (Click on thumbnail for larger image.) We all stopped for lunch, the only place being on the gravel along the side of the roadway. They had to lay their bikes over on the side, where mine in the backgound is standing up with easy access to lunch food, etc.