The Washington Post
Storing a bike in a tight space? Cyclists help navigate the options.
Living in a small apartment with limited storage or a house without a garage shouldn’t stop you from owning a bike. With a little creativity and the right products, you can make room for not only a bike or two, but also your cycling gear.
If you can’t envision a space for your bike, look beyond the obvious spots. “People will assume that they need to store the bike in the front area of their home, and depending on how your apartment is configured, you might not have open space to place it there,” says Michelle Hobgood, a professional home organizer and owner of the Tidy Trainer.
Hobgood suggests finding a corner of a room, which, in her case, is her son’s bedroom. There, she has her bike and a rack to hold her cycling gear and some of his belongings. “It works perfectly fine with the aesthetics of my son’s room, even though he doesn’t ride the bike,” she says.
She points out that this is also the “easiest and cheapest” way to store a bike, because all you need to hold it up is a kickstand. But if you want a more secure hold and have some money to spend, cycling experts have lots of recommendations, including for racks, mounts, hoists and locks.
No screws necessary
If you have spare floor space and can’t drill or screw anything into your wall, a bike stand may be the best solution for storing your bike. Kris Dunbar, co-owner of Aztec Cycles in Stone Mountain, Ga., and AC Clutch Bicycle Shop in Atlanta, suggests Delta’s adjustable spring floor stand or Willworx’s superstand bike stand. With each, you can easily roll the front or back wheel to secure your bike in place, he says.
Matthew Onojafe of Jafe Cycling recommends Cyclingdeal’s upright bike stand, which lets you position a bike horizontally or vertically. “Typically, if you have it vertically, the front wheel will either tilt to the left or right. But this has an attachment that keeps it facing straight up,” he says. The Bike Nook stand, suggested by Hobgood, also offers this versatility.
For two bikes, Dunbar suggests Saris’s bike bunk, a free-standing option that sits against the wall and stores one bike on top of the other.
Some drilling required
If you lack floor space and a couple of holes in the wall aren’t an issue, an indoor bike rack or mount might be your best bet.
Onojafe recommends the Borgen bike wall mount, which angles your bikes, so you can stack up to three “and maximize your wall space.” Because the brand specializes in electric bicycles, which are usually quite heavy, you can rest assured the mount will hold, he adds. He also likes Hornit’s Clug bike racks, a simple one-piece mount. “You’ll tilt your bike vertically and place the side of the tire into the U-shape. It’ll clamp down onto the tire, and that’s it,” he says.
Dunbar recommends Delta’s two-bike and single-bike wall mount racks that come with shelves for your helmet. Installation is relatively simple, requiring just a few small screws drilled into a stud.
Steadyrack’s classic bike rack is “perfect for small spaces,” Hobgood says. “The best part is there’s no lifting required. You basically hoist the bike up and it pivots 160 degrees. It works on road bikes, hybrid bikes, small MTB and BMXS.” She also recommends heavy-duty bike hooks: “You can even hang the bike upside down from the ceiling,” she says. The key — as with all of these options — is to make sure the hooks are securely and correctly installed.
Another hanging option is Delta’s single-bike ceiling hoist. “It allows you to basically elevate the bike from the ground up by just pulling a rope and tying it off,” Dunbar says. This option, he cautions, is more tedious to install, so you might need to hire help.
If you want to store your bike outside, you may need to take precautions to prevent it from getting stolen. Onojafe recommends using the quick release to remove the front wheel and keep it indoors, separate from the bike. “Most people won’t take a bike if there’s no wheel attached to it, because it’s a hassle, and at least you know they can’t ride off with your bike,” he says.
Without the wheel, your bike may also fit better in a small outdoor area, such as on a balcony. Use a lock or bike bunk to secure it there, advises Dunbar, who prefers the U-shape of Kryptonite’s Kryptolok, because it’s very difficult to cut. He points out that some Kryptonite locks are backed by an anti-theft policy that offers some reimbursement in the event a thief breaks the lock and makes off with your bike. If you want “to be more extreme,” Dunbar says, you can try Kryptonite’s Keeper 712 integrated chain. “The links are not rounded; they’re square, so it makes it even harder to cut.”
In an uncovered outdoor area, you’ll probably want to cover your bike (in addition to locking it up). “We do this because you don’t want any of the moisture from the outside … to affect the bike chain, the cassette, things like that, because it’ ll cause rust, and over time, wear away at the bike material,” says Onojafe, who suggests the Pro Bike Tool cover for its high quality.
At Aztec Cycles, Dunbar steers customers toward the Sunlite pro nylon trike cover and the Topeak bike cover. Although he agrees that protecting the bike from the elements is essential, he says it’s good to remove the cover “and let the bike breathe” after a rainy or snowy day, so the bike can dry out.
Store your accessories
Most cyclists have more than a bike helmet and a lock; once you’re into the sport, the apparel, gloves, socks, pumps and other tools tend to pile up. Hobgood encourages her garageless and mudroom-less clients to “rethink their entryway for versatile storage.” For instance, the Hemnes shoe cabinet with two compartments from Ikea “is hidden storage, it’s nice and slim, and it fits up against the wall.”
If your front entryway has a closet, experts suggest designating a basket or bin inside for bike accessories. Onojafe likes stacked containers, such as a three-drawer unit from Sterilite; you can put your helmet on top. Dunbar’s wife and shop co-owner Michelle Dunbar cleverly tasks her Deuter backpack with storage duty while it hangs in the closet: “When I’m not using that bag, I keep everything I need [inside it] if I want to go somewhere and take my bike,” she says.
You should also consider how you organize things, Hobgood says. “Some people prefer to hide everything, and some people feel like if they put their things away, they’ll forget it’s there, … so they’d like to see everything out.”
For folks in the latter camp, she recommends using bookshelves, open baskets and hooks, such as the Klyket model from Ikea, which can be closed when not in use. A more traditional wall rack, such as the Tjusig series from Ikea or the heavy-duty wall storage rack from the Container Store, “allows you to store heavier equipment that you wouldn’t want to necessarily put on a basic bookshelf.” You can essentially create “a little fitness corner,” she says, with your bike gear as well as other equipment, such as a yoga mat and dumbbells.