How to make your own “Deflopinator.”

I am in the progress of turning my old Specialized mountain/ commuter bike, “Big Blue,”  into a cargo bike.

One of the things I needed to do was stabilize the front wheel. I noticed that when I had the bike on its dual kickstand, and there was weight in the panniers, that the front wheel would flop over and face the rear of the bike. Very annoying, as it would slam over very fast.

Weight from the panniers has lifted the front wheel off the ground. Wheel immediately flops over to one side and ends up facing the rear of the bike. Don’t like it!

I had seen a wheel stabilizer at VeloOrange and thought it looked pretty good. However, when I tried it, the down tube of  Big Blue was too large. It wouldn’t fit. Otherwise, I think it would have worked great. What to do…

In the spirit of redneck tech, two thoughts came to mind: Bungee cords, and duct tape. How to meld those tried-and-true methods into something that would work?

I had gotten a set of bungee cords some time ago in random sizes. I found a couple that were seven to eight inches long and started playing around to find a good way to employ them.

Quickly, I found that if I hooked one end around the brake mount, looped around the down tube, and then back again, it just might work.  Turns out it did, but then I was concerned that the metal ends of the bungee would end up scratching my new Surly rigid fork, so I put a small bit of used inner tube around each end, and used some gaffer’s (sorry, not duct) tape around them to give the fork some protection.

The system works very well. Not as quick of a pull-back as the VeloOrange wheel stabilizer, but I actually like it. It is more of a gentle pull, but it does keep the wheel straight when on the duel-leg kickstand. The other added benefit is that I can ride no-hands a LOT easier than I could before. It really enhances the bike’s natural tendency to go forward.

Front wheel, still pointing forward, even though weight from panniers is lifting it off the ground.

Next step is to install a similar system on my rando bike. I think I will go the VeloOrange route for that, purely for aesthetic reasons. But it really needs it too. When I have my handlebar bag full, I cannot take my hands off at all. It would be really nice to be able to access my bag and take my hands off, at least for a little bit, when I am able to ride a brevet again.

Still waiting on the hand to heal a bit more for that, but that is another story…

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