BikePortland

Bluetooth speakers and a “Rolling Jackass”: These are a few of my favorite things


I adore my Rolling Jackass centerstand.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

There are so many terrific bike products — big and small, ready-made and DIY — that make life easier for me.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Of the many bike parts and accessories I’ve had and loved over the years, my favorite has to be my double kickstand. My cargo bike sports a Rolling Jackass centerstand that makes it possible for the kids to clamber on and off the bike with no worry of tipping, I can load heavy cargo one side at a time with the bike staying upright, and we can even stand on the deck to reach high-up things.

Do you have a favorite accessory or a beloved piece of bike gear?

A sturdy kickstand has many uses.

Here’s why I love my centerstand…

I can set the “RJ” by easing it forward with my foot like a regular kickstand, or I can deploy it with a lever on my handlebars. This means I can set the kickstand while straddling the top tube, with my weight centered over the bike, rather than having to fight to keep the bike upright from the side. This is especially useful if I’m carrying a heavy load, like both kids or a full bike of groceries. The same goes for disengaging the RJ — it has a spring to bring it safely under the bike with a bit of a shove forward, no need to sweep at it from the side with my foot.

This lever (upper left) deploys my centerstand so I can set it while straddling the bike.

The RJ is made for longtail and midtail cargo bikes so it can’t be placed on just any bike. However, there are burly kickstands for regular bikes: my old mamabike (a city bike with front and rear kid seats) had a Pletscher side-folding two-legged kickstand. I adored that centerstand. However, I snapped through two of them because they aren’t really made to handle the weight of two kids and two baskets full of kid stuff. And my tandem has an Ursus Jumbo, the widest after-market centerstand on the market as far as I know. When I was between kickstands on my old mamabike I got very proficient at loading the kids on the bike with it leaned against a fence or tree — or even against my hip if I couldn’t find a fence or tree — so I know I don’t need any kickstand, let alone the burliest kickstand available, but it certainly makes my life easier!

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I could barely muscle this 63-pound bed frame onto my bike, but my centerstand held it steady while I huffed and puffed it on board.

I’m curious to hear what products have made your lives similarly easier. After my kickstand, here’s my three-way tie for second-most favorite thing:

Thanks for reading. Feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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