Bike Storage: A Comprehensive Guide

Bike Storage: A Comprehensive Guide

While you decide on your next perfect bike and how best to pay for it, you should also be considering the best way of how you are going to store it.

This may not be a step that has occurred you; after all, the exciting part really is choosing the bike, not so much worrying about where it will go after you’ve finished riding it.

However, where and how you store your bike is incredibly important. Proper storage will ensure the safety of your ride, as well as extend its life, allowing you to enjoy it long before it requires repairs or replacement.

Just looking for some quick storage suggestions? Here’s a few we like and talk about;
    1. Suncast 5′ x 3′ Horizontal Stow-Away Storage Shed (available on Amazon)
    2. The YardStash IV: Heavy Duty, Outdoor Storage Shed Tent (available on Amazon)
    3. Pro Bike Cover for Outdoor Bicycle Storage (available on Amazon)
    4. Delta Cycle Michelangelo Cycle Storage Rack (available on Amazon)
    5. Dirza Bike Rack Garage Wall Mount Bike Hanger (available on Amazon)
    6. Simple Houseware 5 Bike Bicycle Floor Parking (available on Amazon)
    7. Racor – PBH-1R – Ceiling-Mounted Bike Lift – Pulley System (available on Amazon)

 

The best way to store bikes will really depend on several factors: the type of bike you have, the type of space you have, your budget, and typical weather conditions.

In this guide to bike storage, we will walk you through all of your options and help you decide what will work best for you and how best to implement your choice.

Ultimately, it’s going to be your choice, but some sort of storage is essential if you’re going to make your bike last as long as possible. In this guide, we are going to look at three major storage areas: outdoors, garage, and indoors.

We will also look at storing bikes for weather, bike covers, and a continually updated FAQ, based on what you, the readers, ask us! This means that this guide will be refreshed with new information, so check back regularly.

Bicycle Storage Ideas

Broadly speaking, we are going to look at three bicycle storage ideas: Outdoor, Indoor, and Garage. Within these three areas though, you have a huge range of options and things to think about.

For example, if you’re primarily going with outdoor bike storage, how do you deal with winter storage? If you live in an apartment or condo, where can you put your bike?

What sort of bicycle covers should you look for to protect your bike from the elements, even on the go? How can you arrange a garage to fit both your vehicle and your bike safely?

Companies specializing in bike storage have a range of answers for you, as do websites from Pinterest to hardcore bike sites. We have our preferences too, but the point of this guide is to lay out those options so that you can more easily choose the one that best suits you, your bike, and your arrangements.

From hanging hooks to bike covers to DIY storage, let’s look at what’s available and some of your options!

Outdoor Bike Storage

Likely the most common thing you’ll use is outdoor bike storage of one stripe or another. This keeps your bike easily accessible, separates it from any other household items that may cause it to become cluttered or hard to get to, and for many people, it is simply intuitive.

Outdoor bike storage has to be carefully managed though. Bikes can be more easily stolen, damaged from weather or accidents, or simply wear down faster from the elements.

In order to maximize the life of your bike, and protect it, it’s important to consider your options and choose the one that is right for you.

Bike Storage Shed

Suncast 5' x 3' Horizontal Stow-Away Storage Shed - Natural Wood-like Outdoor Storage for Trash Cans and Yard Tools - All-Weather Resin, Hinged Lid, Reinforced Floor - Vanilla and StoneyMany people also store their bikes in their general sheds; however, this can make the bike harder to get to and many of these sheds aren’t exactly weatherproof, so you still run the risk of having your bike get damaged.

If you love your bike or have a few bikes to store, then consider the benefits of a bike storage shed.

      • Bike sheds are usually very affordable or at least have excellent value
      • They are built to withstand the elements, including snow
      • Most of them are small enough that they can be set up anywhere without annoying HOA, landlords, or anyone else
      • They are generally easy to put together
      • Many of them can be ordered online and put together by one or two people in an afternoon

Storage sheds for bikes are useful, but there are some things you will want to carefully consider. First, how many bikes do you need to store and how do you want them arranged? Remember that bikes can be wider than they look because of their handlebars and the pedal arrangement.

A sneaky way to fit more bikes in less space is detailed in this article. It basically boils down to lifting the front wheel of every other bike up in the air on a ramp so that the handlebars don’t cross over.

Also, make sure your pedals are straight up and down so that they have the room they need too. Some sheds also allow for hanging up your bike, either from the room or from the walls, but these tend to be larger and thus more expensive.

The second thing to keep in mind is that a bike shed isn’t just for the bike(s); you should also make sure there is space for the gear such as tools, helmets, locks, and anything else you use for your bike. This may also include track pumps or frame-mounted pumps that require their own space.

Keeping all your paraphernalia together makes it easy to find when you head out and keeps it out of your living space. If you get a large enough shed, you could even have a covered work area or share the space with gardening tools, a mower, etc.

Third, consider the location of your bike storage shed. Keeping it close to the door means that it’s very convenient for heading out on a ride, saving you even more time.

For the sake of security, it’s also important to have your shed located in such a way that it’s not immediately obvious and is behind any other general yard security you have (fences, etc.).

Depending on where you live, such as a rental or an apartment, you may not have much choice on where your shed can go but try your best to situate it where it works for you. You should also make sure that your shed can be locked up and has a way to lock your bikes up inside too in order to deter thieves.

As for choosing the right storage shed for your needs? That’s going to be very personal to you. It all depends on the space you have available, the amount of stuff you need to store, whether you can build it yourself or want it prefabricated, and your budget.  We would recommend taking close stock of your needs and then looking at storage sheds from there to decide on what you need.

We would not recommend going too cheap because cheap storage sheds tend to fall apart faster, don’t have great protection against the elements, and/or won’t fit your bikes properly.

But if you’re looking for crowd-pleasers, the YardStash IV is well-loved on Amazon with over a hundred and fifty high reviews. We like it because it’s outdoor-friendly, portable and easy to put up and take down. Plus it’s very reasonably priced!

Bicycle Covers

Bicycle storage sheds are all fine and well if you have the room and for at home; however, they aren’t likely to be as useful for an apartment complex and you definitely cannot take a shed with you on a multi-day trip!

A great way to keep your bike protected in these cases, or if you simply don’t have the money or ability to handle a shed, could be bicycle covers.

Bicycle covers sometimes get a bad reputation, usually because people choose ones that are made of shoddy material out of a lack of knowledge or because they want to spend as little money as possible.

These covers then get shredded by the elements, wear out quickly, fade in color so they are ugly and just all around do a poor job. If you want to properly protect your bike, then you must put as much effort into finding and purchasing a bike cover as you would a bike shed, minus the need to build something afterward. This means committing the money to a quality cover instead of treating it as something temporary.

Considerations for your bike cover:

      • Material. The material should be thick, at least 600D. The D means ‘denier’, which is a test of strength and durability. The higher the number, the thicker and heavier the thread count and the more durable the cover is. Now, most covers you find may have 600D on parts of it (like the bottom of the cover), but you want at least 600D all over the cover. It will cost you money and time to find one, but it’s well worth it.
      • Size. You need a bike cover that, well, covers your bike! This should be a no-brainer, but many covers don’t cover the entire bike properly. Measure your bike properly and then go big for the size so that the cover actually touches the ground. Extra material is not a problem for a bike cover. Not enough material. We would recommend the Puroma bike Cover because it has lock holes, covers the entire bike, and is relatively light. It’s also highly rated on Amazon. If you want to spend a little more, you can try the Pro Bike Cover which has over a thousand ratings.
      • Convenience. Does your bike cover have lock holes? Does it have reflective strips? Does it have grab handles for carrying? Does it have straps to secure the cover to the bike? Is it easy to fold up the cover and take it around with you? Ventilation holes? Do you like the color? These things may seem minor, but you definitely notice their absence.

We talk a lot more about bicycle covers here; but this gives you an idea of what you’d be looking for in a cover. And you don’t have to spend a completely absurd amount; usually, around $30-$50 is enough. It’s a pretty small price to pay to protect a several hundred – or even thousand-dollar bike from the elements!

Storing a Bike for Winter

Unless you’re a die-hard cyclist, you will be storing a bike for winter every year, and that requires some special consideration. Winter-freezing temperatures, snow, abrupt freezes and thaws, wind, and ice-is a harsh season on bikes.

Your bike is staying in one place for possibly months on end and that can cause its own damage over time. In order to increase the life of your bicycle, you have to store it for the winter properly. How?

Storing a bike for winter starts with preparing it for storage. Make sure your bike is thoroughly cleaned, lubricate the chain and make sure that the brakes and cables are completely dry before storage.

Take advantage of this time to do a check of your bike’s frame, cables, seat, tires, and the rest for any sneaky damage too. Make sure your tires are inflated unless the bike will not be in a heated garage, in which case you could remove the tires and bring them in your home to protect the rubber. You can also do a fall tune-up of your bike so that come spring, you’re ready to ride again.

Once your bike is ready for winter, storing it is easy. Store in a warm place with low humidity, (as best you can) and hang it upside down if possible, to reduce wear and tear on your wheels. If you are worried about the elements seeping in, use a bike cover for further protection.

Again, if the bike is being stored in an unheated place, some people say you can remove the tires and bring them somewhere warm, but you may not have to, especially if you completely cover the bike.

Storing a bike for winter is easy to do, but don’t cut corners on it either. Taking the time to properly clean and set your bike up for a winter sleep will greatly increase its lifespan, not to mention make it easier to get out and ride again come spring.

Garage Bike Storage

The most common place for people to store their bikes in their garage. If you live in a place that has one, why not use the garage to store all of your vehicles? Garage storage ideas for bikes run wild on the internet, but here are a few to consider that we will be expanding on:

      • Vertical bike storage
      • Horizontal bike storage
      • Ceiling bike storage
      • Wall hooks for bikes

You also have to take into consideration the size of your garage and the accessories that allow you to make the most of your space. So, what sort of garage storage ideas work for you?

Vertical Bike Storage

Vertical bike storage generally takes advantage of empty wall space, allowing you to secure your bike in a sideways position, either jutting out or flush against the wall.

Vertical bike storage has a number of advantages, but the primary ones are that it is an ideal way to store bikes in a small space (including offices and apartments, as well as small, awkwardly shaped garages) and good wall mounts themselves are easy to fold up when not in use.

As an extra perk, any sort of wall mounting is a great way to display your bikes, for those collectors in the room. Or you can go for a freestanding bike rack such as the Delta Cycle Michelangelo which holds two or four bikes in a freestanding rack. No installation, lots of protection and over one thousand reviews on Amazon!

When using vertical bike storage, it’s very important to choose the right rack. How many bikes do you want to store? How much space do you have? Make sure to choose a rack that is sturdy, easy to pull bikes from and put bikes on, and that will last as long as possible.

Some popular brands include Steadyrack, Racor, and TidyGarage, with Steadyrack being a fan favorite. A favorite on Amazon is the Dirza Bike Rack. It’s got almost five hundred reviews and very reasonably priced! Perfect for vertical bike storage.

Advantages of vertical bike storage:

      • You can easily take up unused wall space and minimal floor space
      • Vertical storage can either be bolted to a wall or freestanding (Freestanding obviously has the advantages of no installation and portability)
      • Can easily store multiple bikes and not take up too much room

Disadvantages of vertical bike storage:

      • The top bike is usually quite high up, necessitating tall people to grab it or the additional installation of lifts/pulleys.

Horizontal Bike Racks

Horizontal bike racks offer the same benefits as vertical ones, except that your bike will be horizontal. On top of allowing you to store bikes in small places and keep it safe from accidents, horizontal bike racks do give you some more creative décor options.

For example, you can place your bikes close to the ceiling to really keep them out of the way in the offseason or you can integrate them into our existing décor to create things like room dividers and talking pieces. 

Horizontal bike hanging is sometimes considered a little easier to do because you just need to have good hooks to hang the bike from and you’re done. There are racks out there you can buy, but if you’re on a budget, a few good hooks may do the job as well.

If you’re looking at racks and mounts, the same rules apply for horizontal as for vertical: make sure you measure your space, know how many bikes you need to store, and look for something with longevity.

In both vertical and horizontal bike racks, you are generally taking advantage of empty wall space as a place to store your bike(s). This is great for garages because there’s always a problem of a lack of floor space (especially if you have a vehicle and tools), but the walls tend to get ignored.

Advantages of horizontal bike storage:

      • You can use space like walls or ceiling that are normally ignored
      • Frees up floor space
      • The use of hooks in horizontal storage makes this the cheapest storage option by far.
      • Horizontal bike storage is sometimes incorporated with broader garage and space storage systems
      • You can set up the system however you choose

Disadvantages of horizontal Bike Storage

      • Hooks and systems used must be firmly attached and always require installation. You have to know something about DIY or be able to hire someone
      • They aren’t portable so you’ll have some moving and fixing to do
      • You need the wall space, just like vertical storage

Floor Bike Stand

If you do have floor space in your garage, then you might as well skip the wall hanging altogether and simply keep your bike on terra firma. Floor bike stands are a great way to store your bike while still keeping it accessible and safe.

Floor bike stands are simple enough storage solutions. They consist of an arm to hold the front wheel in place and then the rest of the stand is there to keep the bike in place. Look for floor bike stands with spring-loaded arms to make it easy to look and unlock your bike.

You should also look for ones that will protect your bike from scratches during the process of storage, stands that are easy to store themselves when not in use, and even ones that are modular in case you want to store more than one bike at a time. And of course, take into consideration how many bikes you want to store.

Amazon has a great floor bike stand (Simple Houseware) that is cheap, stores five bikes and rates very well. The only problem with it is that it is a bit long, so you’ll need some space.

Advantages of floor bike stands:

      • Easy to use and easy to take your bike out for a ride
      • Easy to get ones that hold multiple bikes
      • Extremely portable
      • Some of them can even be put in car trunks so that you can store your bike on the go.
      • Easy to lock your bike up to one.
      • Cheap!

Disadvantages of floor bike stands:

      • They take up a lot of space, relative to other storage devices
      • You’ll have to move around them

Bike Storage Accessories

When you are looking a storing your bike, especially in small garages, apartments, offices, or homes, then ensuring you have the right bike storage accessories is important. Bike storage accessories include:

      • Bike hooks: Bike hooks have a few advantages. They tend to be very affordable and they an be set up anywhere: garage, in your home, office, apartment; anywhere you have walls. Bike hooks can also be designed to your needs, so you can have engraved hooks, decorative ones, or just plain ones. The trick with bike hooks is to ensure that they can support the weight of your bike and that you measure properly before installing so that you’re not punching too many holes in your walls.
      • Bike hanger: Bike hangers are incredibly popular because they not only allow you to store your bike, but they also tend to be more secure than hooks. As a result, hangers on average are more expensive and require more installation. You can do some cool things with bike hangers though: locks, lifts, and pulleys; or, you can simply install a vertical or horizontal hanger and leave it at that. A simple one, for example, is the HOMEE bike hanger wall mount on Amazon. With decent ratings and a cheap price, plus easy installation, it’s a simple way to hang up your wheels when you’re not riding.
      • Bike wall mounts: Just like hangers, but with more pulleys or lifts so that you can really mount your bike on the wall or ceiling. Bike wall mounts can be used to store a bike vertically or horizontally.
      • Heavy-duty hanging hooks (generic hooks): Rather than go for specific bike hooks, you can go super affordable and simply get heavy-duty hanging hooks and mount them on the wall studs. Again, check the weight limits of your hooks and properly measure your length and height before you start drilling. We like the StoutMax Heavy Duty Bike storage hooks that you can get as a set on Amazon for about $20.00. Eight hooks are enough to store a couple of bikes easily and they are easy to install.

Choosing the right accessories for your storage means you have chosen the best way to store a bike and often, the best way to hang a bike. But is there a best way overall?

Well, not really. Bike storage really depends on how much room you have, how heavy the bike is and what else you are storing (including other bikes). If you live in a small apartment for example, then heavy-duty hanging hooks or bike hooks are probably going to be your best bet as you can hang your bike up on unused wall space and ensure that it is safe.

If, on the other hand, you have a house with a garage, then you have more options such as bike wall mounts, stands, or large mounts that can even go on ceilings.

In short, it’s important to consider the space, your bike, and your needs when determining your bike storage so that you can choose the right one for you. Many of these solutions are best used in a garage (even if you are storing bikes in a small garage), but they can transfer over to storing bikes inside your home too.

Indoor bike storage

Cyclists aren’t just found in home with garages and yards! It’s growing far more common for people who live in apartments and condos to have bikes as well in order to save money on gas for cars, get or stay fit and healthy, and to avoid morning and evening rush hour traffic.

However, people who are living in apartments have an added complexity when it comes to bike storage: no yard, no garage, and a lot less space. How do you safely store your bike then? And furthermore, since your bike has now become part of your décor, how do you store it in such a way that it adds to your home instead of creating an eyesore to trip over?

Bike Storage Ideas for Apartments

One of the most common issues that people have with bikes is storage and this is compounded for those who live in apartments. After all, there are no garages or yard storage and apartments by their nature tend to be smaller than houses by an order of magnitude, so trying to find a space for a bike can be tricky.

Fortunately, there are some creative and safe ways you can store your bike. From ceiling bike racks to floor stands an even some pretty cool stylish bike racks, you can store your bike safely in even the smallest indoor space.

In the following section, we’re going to look at a few bike storage ideas for apartments in particular, as they tend to be the most challenging space. Keep in mind that these work for any indoor bike storage though.

We will look at ceiling bike racks, DIY bike racks, floor bike racks, and just some stylish bike racks because if you’re in a space where you have to make every square foot count, you want to ensure that your bike looks good while being taken care of.

Ceiling Bike Rack

Just like garages, apartments and condos have an undeveloped space that everyone forgets about: the ceiling! Ceiling storage allows you to nearly double the amount of storage space you have, which for a small apartment, small condo or small garage, is definitely a necessity.

Ceiling storage does require the use of lifts and hoists, but it does mean that your bikes are out of the way and safe. They can also be a neat accent piece for a room, or you can hang them in such a way that they are unobtrusive. It’s really up to you!

Advantages of ceiling bike racks:

      • Absolutely no floor space used and no interference with your furniture or walking around.
      • The system does all the lifting for you, so you don’t need to worry about it. You don’t even need ladders
      • They tend to be affordable
      • They are safe (assuming they are properly installed!)
      • They’re harder to steal
      • You can raise your bike for doing maintenance in your home or garage

Disadvantages of ceiling bike racks:

      • The ceiling has to be able to support the load
      • You need to know what you’re doing or be able to hire someone
      • Whoever you rent the space from has to be ok with you putting hooks and pulleys in the ceiling and walls
      • Only works if you have a high ceiling
      • Most of them only hold one bike
      • Make sure you buy high-quality products so that your bike and you stay safe

Ceiling bike racks are a relatively popular storage solution, particularly in small spaces like apartments, as they make use of space that normally goes unused. 

In order to make the most of ceiling bike racks, you will really want to make sure you invest in a solid pulley system that is safe, sturdy, and easy to use. Also, make sure that you are allowed to install something like this in your apartment, or that you have a good way to cover up and mend the damage done when you move out!

We would recommend the Racor ceiling mounted bike lift. It can hold up to fifty pounds, is easy to use and adjustable, and is extremely affordable. You can find it on Amazon where it has just over nine hundred reviews.

DIY Bike Storage

Bike storage may look expensive, but it really doesn’t have to be. In fact, some people have made great DIY bike storage with a couple of 2x4s! DIY bike storage can be made possible with all manner of supplies though: copper pipes, PVC piping, hangers… Really, the possibilities out there are endless, with craftsmen making all kinds of homemade bike racks.

If you’re looking at doing DIY bike storage, then you have a great deal more options than you may have if you go to purchase a bike rack. The big reason why people do this is to create either stylish bike racks, simply and cheap bike racks, or racks that will suit their home décor.

Many stands you will find online are built with the idea that they can be made to match the room they will be in, so you can do things like paint, stain, or otherwise customize the stand to your personality.

Here are some great homemade bike rack ideas:

The sky is the limit though when it comes to DIY bike storage which is why so many people like it. It’s usually cheaper, far more customizable and you can do some pretty cool things if you have the knack for building or modifying things.

We’d be happy to see some of your designs by the way, so if you created a stylish bike rack, a cool bike rack, or just a really cheap and effective homemade bike rack, drop us a line!

Other Apartment Bike Storage Ideas

The trick to bike storage in a small space is to look at everything as potential storage. Many apartments have balconies or patios for example, and so long as you get a suitable bike cover, there’s no reason not to make use of that space.

Other people have found that they could store their bike in a closet, so long as there wasn’t much else in the close that would compete or get grubby. You could mount your bike behind or above large furniture to add an accent piece and show off your favorite pair of wheels.

You’ll find that when you start to look at the space you have and think three-dimensionally, you have a lot more room than you thought. One of the overarching benefits of all of these bike storage ideas is their affordability.

You can find options in each broader section that are quite affordable (or downright cheap!) and it’s certainly cheaper than trying to replace an expensive bike before its time.

Q&A

So, we have a few common questions already here and answered for you, but we are always happy to hear and answer more! If you have questions about bike storage, bike covers, myths to debunk or you just don’t know where to start, please feel free to drop us a line and ask your question.

This FAQ will be updated regularly and hopefully, your question will be answered!

For now, though, these are the most common questions we get asked.

What is the best way to store a bike?

We get asked this all the time, but there is no one size fits all answer. It really depends on a number of factors:

      • Amount of space you have access to
      • Number of bikes you want to store (and their weight, height, and length)
      • Weather considerations
      • Security needs
      • Finances

We hope that you got some ideas on how to best store your bike by reading this guide because the answer is going to be personal to you!

Ok, but our favorite way to store a bike? Probably a good bike cover (since you can take it anywhere and it can be used to protect the bike from the elements), but DIY bike storage ideas are pretty cool too. We’ve lost some time on Pinterest looking at ideas for example

Is it ok to hang a bike by one wheel?

This has some controversy around it. Most experts agree that it’s usually fine to hang a bike by one wheel, as long as it is safely secured. But some argue that hanging a bike by one wheel can cause damage to that wheel. It can also cause air to flow to the calipers, resulting in squishy brakes when you next ride.

So, it’s not going to hurt your bike to be hung by one wheel and it’s certainly better than storing it uncovered outside in all the elements, but if you have the ability to hang it up so it’s more balanced, it’s safer to do so. Still, hanging by one wheel is far better than nothing and you shouldn’t see much, if any, damage comes from it. But check your brakes come spring!

Can You Hang a Bike Upside Down?

If your bike has rim brakes, there is no problem with hanging it upside down. The problem comes if your bike has hydraulic brakes. Hanging bikes with hydraulic brakes upside down can cause air to go into the calipers and cause squishy brakes (just like hanging a bike by one wheel).

You’ll then have to do a brake bleed to get rid of the squish. If you don’t know how to do this, take your bike to a repair shop and watch how it’s done. Not doing it properly can cause even greater damage.

Is it OK to leave a bike outside?

For short periods of time, yes, it’s pretty harmless to leave a bike outside. They are sturdy! However, if you are leaving your bike out for a week or longer at a time, particularly in snow and rain, you will see damage.

Humidity causes bikes to corrode faster, causing damage to your frame, chain, and other parts of the bike. Sun and heat cause the plastic and rubber to become brittle and the color to fade. And wind can knock your bike around or knock things into your bike.

Higher-end bikes are likely to last longer because they are better sealed and have more stainless-steel parts. However, even high-end bikes start to fall apart under enough abuse and then you’ve lost a lot of money, not to mention a great travel companion.

In short, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve left your bike outside for a few days, but don’t a habit of it either. After all, this whole piece has been about giving you ideas for bike storage to prevent this kind of damage!

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