For a bike not to be in the way at home, it needs to be stored somewhere secure and easy to access that’s not a walkway. The choice of place will vary according to the circumstances, but options may include:
- a garage
- a cellar with an external door
- an outbuilding
- a back yard or on a patio, where the bike can be locked and covered
- a utility room
- a shed
Storing a bike in an outbuilding
Many Victorian houses in Britain were built with outside toilets. In most cases, these became disused when bathrooms were installed inside the house. These small outbuildings are solidly constructed and they can be made secure with relatively little investment i.e. fitting a five lever lock to the door. Though it may not seem like it, there is enough space for a bicycle in an outside toilet building – if the bike is stored vertically.
Vertical storage is the most space-efficient way of storing a bike. It is achieved with a large hook installed approximately 6ft from the ground to hold the bike’s front wheel. (For a bike with full mudguards, the hook needs to be installed slightly lower.) The bike hangs from this hook.
To park, you apply the rear brake and lift the bike onto its rear wheel. You then wheel it into the storage space and place the front wheel rim in the curve of the hook. With a little practice, the bike can be hooked in quickly.
While you could make do with a large hook from the DIY shop, the Delta Leonardo hook is designed specifically for bikes. It puts less stress on the wheel because of the way the hook protrudes from the back plate. It is good for bikes with tyres up to 42mm and it’s available online for around £10 plus postage. Bikes with wider tyres might be better off with the Josta bike hook which is larger. It costs about £40.
Storing a bike in a back yard or on a patio
If stored outside, a bicycle needs chaining to a wall anchor or ground anchor. Wall anchors are more convenient to use but ground anchors are more secure.
Bicycles left uncovered outside will quickly show the effects of weather, the most visible being chain rust. A bike can be protected from the rain with a tarpaulin. Fitted covers tend to collect water, making uncovering the bike a wet experience! There is a solution to this if the bike can be parked against a wall. This requires an ordinary tarpaulin with eyelet at each corner, two screw eyes, two screws, two large washers a drill and wall plugs. The top corners of the tarpaulin are screwed to the wall, with the washers covering the eyelets, leaving you with a tarpaulin hanging from the wall. The dry space between the tarpaulin and the wall is where the bike can be locked (to a wall anchor or ground anchor). The bottom corners of the tarpaulin can then be tied to screw eyes concreted into the ground or screwed into the bottom of the wall. The screws and the screw eyes need to be located so that the tarpaulin is taut when the bike is beneath it, so the tarp doesn’t flap in the wind.
Storing a bike on a wall in a utility room or other interior space
Space in utility rooms tends to be at a premium, due to all the other stuff needing storage. A solution for storing a relatively lightweight bike with a horizontal top tube is to hang the bike on the wall. Storage hooks can be bought for this but there is a DIY solution that looks elegant and works well. This involves two ordinary shelf brackets and two pieces of timber approximately 18″ long. These form a shelf just shorter than the top tube of the bike, with a central groove at the gap between the two pieces of wood. The bike is lifted onto this shelf, where its top tube sits in the groove. If knocked, it will swing towards the wall and the top tube will remain in the groove rather than sliding forward or backward. Be sure to use long screws of good quality to fix the brackets to the wall.
This solution has an added benefit: it looks like an ordinary shelf and, when the bike isn’t there, it can be used for storing other things.
Optionally, a sheet of perspex or plywood can be screwed to the wall below the shelf to protect the interior decor from the bike’s pedals and chain.
There are numerous variations on the bike shelf, such as these.
Securing a bike in a shed
Sheds are frequently targeted by thieves but there are measures to make them more secure. The most effective of these measures requires some work before the shed is built. A hole is dug at the site and some steel bars placed horizontally in it. A heavy duty chain is attached to these bars and the hole filled with concrete. This leaves a chain emerging from an underground lump of reinforced concrete. The shed is then built on top of this, and the chain fed through a small hole in the centre of the shed floor. When locked to the chain, the bike is effectively secured to the ground, with the shed providing weather protection and concealment.
Storing all the other bike stuff
It can be useful to keep a container near the bike to store cycling gloves, headwear, lights and the locks, so they can be easily located and not mislaid elsewhere in the house. Small stacking crates made of plastic make good containers. Ideally these would be located next to an electrical socket that can be given over to a battery charger, so that light batteries can be put on charge as a matter of routine at the end of a journey.
Cycle luggage also needs it own storage place, so that it’s out of the way but ready to be filled with whatever items are needed at your destination. A cupboard is an ideal luggage storage place. It’s not so good to store luggage on the bike, because you’ll need it in your hand as you’re going round the house filling it.
Sightline Daily’s website has a number of photos showing bike storage indoors and outside which may help you figure out your cycle storage method.
If you’re in the UK and you’re looking to buy heavy duty cycle storage and parking hardware, take a look at Cycle-Works. This Hampshire-based business provides cycle parking bays to public buildings and local authorities. Many of their designs have been developed in-house. Read more at the Cycle-Works website.