Bicycles need routine maintenance to perform safely and efficiently. But without a bike stand you end up kneeling in a contorted position on the cement floor of your dimly lit garage. And this torture, on your knees and your back and your elbows, which no knight of the Inquisition had the genius to invent, is what causes many of us to abandon bicycle maintenance, and eventually our riding.
Serious riders get the idea. But for the rest of us more casual riders, a bike stand, let alone a Park, seems like a ridiculous expense. After all, a bike stand does nothing more than hold your bike firmly at a height and angle that is convenient for you while you work on it.
Until you’ve used a bike stand, it’s hard to communicate what a difference this makes. Your bike now moves, easily, to a position that is convenient for *you*, rather than the other way around. I think I’m an average primate, and the fact is, I’m not going to do jack squat unless it’s easy. And that’s what a bike stand does for bicycle maintenance. Once you remove the physical agony from the picture, working on your bike becomes something you actually look forward to. Would you believe that I actually enjoy cleaning my bike now? Well, you shouldn’t, because that’s crap. But I do keep my bike clean. I do regular maintenance and make significant upgrades to my bikes; all because I know that the bike I am working on is firmly held and at an angle and height that lets me work in comfort. It’s such a small thing, but it makes such a huge difference.
The Park Race Stand was designed to be portable, but without sacrificing strength or stability. It’s equally at home in your garage or in the field. It’s moderately heavy, and a bit ungainly. Getting it in and out of your car is not difficult, but it ain’t enjoyable either. To give the unit its strength and stability, it doesn’t really fold. Instead you just lift it up and the legs sort of drop downward by themselves. There are heavy plastic clips to secure the legs, but a Velcro strap does a better job.
There are a few add-ons that make using a bike stand truly paradise:
01. Get some decent lighting where you keep your stand. A cheap, 4 foot, plug-in fluorescent fixture will give you all the general illumination that you need.
02. You also need some kind of spot illumination to make the tiny part you are adjusting visible. My current favorite is a cheap led head lamp from Home Depot, since it puts the light right where you are looking.
03. If you get a stool, preferably one with wheels, you can adjust the height of the bike to match the height of your stool and work sitting down in tremendous comfort.
04. Get the Park Handlebar Holder as well. This tool holds the handlebars of your bike steady as you are lifting the bike into the stand and also while you work on the bike. Without this tool the handlebars will rotate as you watch with fascination, and helplessness, since both your hands are usually occupied, as the handlebars crunch your fingers or swing with amazing accuracy and momentum into your crotch. After that happens a certain number of times, you buy one of these.
You now have good lighting, a bicycle that is firmly held at the exact height and angle that is convenient for you, and the ability to maintain your bike in comfort. A bike stand is a *transformative* tool. It really changes the experience of working on your bike, and the Park Race stand is the best.