Bicycles are freedom; the ability to travel, explore, and be untethered is one of the main reasons we all love them. The euphoria felt by your last / perfect ride, however, can quickly be replaced with claustrophobia and panic as you try to cram your bike into your tiny downtown apartment.
Bike storage can be a big problem no matter the size of your living space. From apartments and condos to homes and mansions, we always seem to lack a "proper" place to put our bikes even if we're lucky to otherwise have enough room. BikeRoar is here to help with some guidance for storing your bikes featuring solutions that go beyond basic utility hooks to give you attractive and functional bicycle storage no matter your living space.
One of the foundations of organization for any space is to keep everything off the floor; this is true with bike storage as well. Bikes that are on the floor quickly become piled with dirty riding gear, grocery bags, helmets, and whatever else you need to set down in a hurry. Putting your bike up on the wall is a great solution no matter where you live. If you have a house with a garage, bicycles can easily be placed on the wall, up and out of the way. If you live in a small apartment or condo, your bikes can abecome part of the decor with the use of a modern and stylish bike hanger or shelf.
Here are some of our favorite ways to hang and store a bike:
Hooks on the wall
I know I said we were beyond simple bike hooks, but damn, they are so handy! Hanging your bike vertically is the best way if you do not have much wall space, although it can be a little messy.
You can dress up standard bike hooks so they and your bikes don't look out of place when they are inside your living space, as opposed to a more industrial garage. Use a nice piece of hardwood and stain it to match your decor, attach bike hooks to the wood, then hacksaw them flush on the backside. Securely mount the wood and hooks to your wall with screws into wall studs. Stain and mount another piece of wood for the tires to rest on, and voilà, you have a fancy looking rack that holds 4 bikes for about $30. Check Pinterest and Google for other decorative ideas based on bike hooks.
A stylish shelf like the Knife & Saw Bike Shelf is the perfect place to keep your hand-built fixie or super carbon Specialized Tarmac on display for your guests to see. Hand built out of solid walnut or hickory, the floating shelf is sturdy and makes a great addition to your mid-century modern loft... or wherever really. It's a nice and practical way to hang your bike.
Want to know the best part about it? You could totally build one yourself! Bike shelves aren't rocket science and looking at the Knife & Saw bike shelf , it's easy to see how one could be built and adapted for your space. Have a long hallway? Maybe build a series of shelves the length of it to hold all your bikes, helmets, keys, and other gear. A drawback to this style is the shelf needs to extend out from the wall quite far to accommodate handlebars, especially wide MTB ones, so maybe this type is best used for road / narrow bar bikes only.
Bike bookshelf / cabinet
If you don't want to mount anything to your wall but have a decent amount of space, maybe a bike bookshelf / cabinet is the solution. Vadolibero makes a beautiful bike bookshelf that would definitely make your bike, and house, look like a million bucks. It's not an idea we think about right away, but once you see it, it really does make sense, especially for those who don't want permanent bike storage. This high-end looking piece of furniture has built-in lighting, drawers for storage, and shelves for storing additional items. You can put it in your living room and place some plants and books along with your fancy bike, helmet, shoes, and whatever else you care to showcase.
There are plenty of other bike bookshelf options available, some to hang the bike vertically, although most are on the expensive side. You could buy one of those purpose-built bike bookshelves, but consider taking the economy approach by buying a bookshelf like the Nornas from Ikea and screwing in some handy bike hooks into the side. There you go! A good looking, $200 solution to your bike storage problems. With it you will easily be able to store your bike, helmet, lock, riding clothing - pretty much everything you need for your ride in a shelf unit that will look at home in any room.
On the ceiling
Quite often, ceilings go overlooked and completely unused for storage purposes (probably because of gravity). Whether it be in the garage or the living room, the ceiling is a great place to keep your bikes; however, it ususally takes more installation work and the right equipment to get them up and keep them there safely.
Gladiator ceiling bike hooks are a smart and cheap way to get your bike on the ceiling. They have a push button release design that makes it easy to quickly get the wheel in and out of the hooks.
There are a few ceiling bike racks available from different manufacturers that allow you to hoist your bikes up via various pulley designs or hydraulic systems. One is the Flat-Bike-Lift, a hydro-pneumatic rack that swings down to load the bike, then lifts the bike up to a horizontal storage position with a slight push. Ceiling storage options vary greatly in price from sub-$20 to a few hundred dollars, depending on how elaborate you want to get.
If you're more of a do-it-yourselfer, give YouTube a search for tutorials and more ideas for hanging your bikes from the ceiling.
If you don't want anything on your walls or ceilings and have enough floor space, think about a freestanding rack. There are lots of freestanding bike rack options available which add to the decor of your space - like the Hottie the award-winning design from Saris. The Hottie holds two bikes in adjustable padded cradles and features a shelf to hold your helmets, wallet, keys, etc. Its light wood finish is a nice touch and helps this rack fit in when your bikes move inside from the garage.
There are a number of other pole-style racks, and of course, DIY solutions to the freestanding rack. The Hottie won't break the bank by any means, but hey, if you care to build a nicer one for cheaper, then get'er done.
If you do not have space inside your house to spare for bikes, perhaps you need to think about secure outside storage. Those of us who have ever rented know how strict some landlords can be about mounting anything permanent on the walls, or how they might object to you lugging your bike up the stairs. It's not uncommon for bikes to be banned from being inside entire buildings (we'll save our disdain about it for another article).
image: Livorno Daily Photo
The thought of leaving a bike outside, exposed to the elements, sends shivers up most of our spines, but with proper outside storage you can sleep knowing your ride is safe. If you have room alongside your building or under a flight of stairs, bike lockers like the Trimetals Bicycle Storage Shed offer a secure and stealthy way to store your bikes. This bike-specific shed is available at hardware retailers like Home Depot.
The Rowlinson Overlap Bike Store is another great option for outdoor storage, and it is about half the price of the Trimetals locker. The wall shed measures 5ft 4in high, 6ft wide, and 2ft 8in deep, making it easy to store several bikes and gear. This shed isn't quite as secure as the locker, but it has more room for the lower price, making it a reasonable solution if crime isn't a concern in your area.