Bicycles are becoming more and more popular, especially in cities. Besides saving gas money, they are good for the environment, as they don’t produce pollutants. Some people find that with a bike, they don’t even need a car where they live.
Many cities, large and small, are providing bike paths for those who ride for recreation. Bicycles are particularly common in towns that have a college. Students and professors alike use them to get around campus or nearby areas.
Depending on your budget and situation one of these outdoor bike storage ideas listed below may be the perfect option to keep your bike out of the weather and secure from being stolen.
People also use them a great deal for exercise and recreation, often forming clubs and going on group rides. Those living in cities often store their bikes in their apartments or a storage space in their building. If neither of those choices is available or you don’t live in the city, what do you do with your bike? Below are some outdoor bike storage ideas.
How Can I Store My Bike Outside Without a Shed?
If you’re really concerned about security, there are small shed-type metal boxes that are made specifically for storing bikes. Some can hold up to three bikes. They are bolted into concrete and come with anchors, padlocks and security chains. In short, they come with everything you need.
If you can’t take advantage of that option, however, there are several ways to protect your bike outside. There are tents specially made for storing bikes. They come in several shapes and styles, so you must take care to get one that is made with high-quality materials for the best protection.
For instance, not all bike tents are rainproof, so be sure to check on that point. If you live in an apartment, you’ll need to ask the landlord for permission for the bike tent. Not all apartment complexes allow them. The one downside is that bikes aren’t fully secure with a tent.
Bike covers are a great way to protect your bike. They are made specifically for bikes in terms of fit, durability and waterproofing. They come with straps that stretch to secure the cover around the bike. They also protect against UV rays as well as dirt and moisture. A heavy-duty tarp can work as well, as long as it forms a tent over the bike and doesn’t wrap all around. That can trap moisture inside, rusting the bike parts. Check out my article How to Choose the Best Bike Storage Shed for tips on getting the best bike storage shed.
How Do You Store a Bike on a Small Balcony?
If you’re tired of knocking your bike over on a balcony, try attaching a couple of hooks into the wall to hang your bike out of the way. You’ll need to get permission from the landlord first, just in case the management doesn’t like the idea. You’ll also need to make sure the wall surface is sufficient for handling the weight of the bikes.
If you are unable to use hooks or just don’t like the idea, there are bike mounts that attach to the floor. Another option is a bike stand, which is not a permanent attachment. If you have an open railing on the balcony, your bike can be mounted so that part of a wheel sticks out through the rail, saving interior space on the balcony.
How Much Space Do You Need to Store a Bike?
Bicycles come in different sizes and configurations. In general, though, a space about 71 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 43 inches high will be sufficient and usually gives you a little space at either end for getting around. The width also allows enough space for the handlebars.
Is it Bad to Hang Your Bike by the Wheels?
It’s not bad to hang your bike by the wheels. In fact, you can hang the bike by only one wheel without hurting anything. The exception would be bikes with specialty lightweight rims, usually carbon. If the rim can be flexed when you squeeze it in your hand, this is one bike that should not be hung by the wheels. There are many types of hooks and supports for hanging your bike.
If you have several bikes there are even supports that hang your bike by one wheel with the wheels standing on the wall, as if they were rolling down the wall. This is a good plan for people with several bikes without taking up a lot of wall space. One caveat is that bikes with hydraulic brakes should not be hung vertically or upside down.
How Do I Store My Bike Outside in the Winter?
Newer bikes tend to do better outside than older bikes. The parts are joined more tightly since they have not gone through many seasons of bumps and strains and have not been subjected to as much change in temperatures, which causes the metal to expand and contracts and eventually causes connections to loosen. In addition, seals on newer bikes are tighter.
Rust usually forms on the chain and gears before anyplace else on the bike. This can make the drive train brittle eventually, causing shifting and riding problems. Applying waterproof grease can help keep moisture from getting into hidden places and causing rust. Use the grease on any area that water may get in, such as bolt heads, screw holes and bearings. Lubricating the chain also helps, especially if you use a wet type of lubrication.
Riding the bike whenever possible also helps keep rust from forming, or at least interrupts it. Dust and dirt can also get into places, including the shifter and other mechanical parts. If nothing else, lift the bike and turn the pedals a while. You might try changing some parts if you have to store your bike outside, such as a rustproof chain.
Make sure you have a secure cover for the bike but don’t use one that goes underneath the bike. You don’t want it wrapped top and bottom, as this will hold moisture inside the cover, allowing it to affect the bike. Check the bike if you don’t ride it for a while for signs of moisture. If you see any, wipe down the bike and dry it. Check out my article The Top 6 Best Outdoor Bike Storage Sheds for more ideas for storing your bike.
Will a Bike Rust in a Shed?
Your bike usually won’t rust in a shed as long as it’s maintained and covered up correctly. The biggest problem is humidity in the shed. This can cause rust on your bike. If you live in a coastal area, salt in the air is another problem.
Your bike should be washed down regularly to remove any salt that gathers, since you probably won’t be able to see it. Since almost all the parts on your bike are metal, they cool off quickly, which causes condensation once the metal is cooler than the air.
One good tip is to keep the bike clean after use. Don’t let mud, plant leaves or grass tips collect on the bike. These collect and hold moisture on your bike. Make sure the bike is completely dry before you store it, even in warmer months when you use it regularly. Cover up the bike, but don’t seal the covering.
The bike needs some airflow so that if moisture does condense on it, the moisture has a better chance of evaporating. You can also get a rust inhibitor to protect your bike. It usually comes in a spray. Check the seals on the bike. If they are old, they may need replacing to keep the bike from being damaged by moisture. Even though there can be problems with storing a bike in a shed, it’s certainly preferable to having it stay outside.
How Do You Store a Bike in a Small Space?
There are many types of wall mounts for bikes that consist of more than just a hook or two. Among these are a small fold-out shelf used to support the bike, a small rack that includes a space for helmet, riding gloves and other items.
Even fastening the bottom of a pail to the wall will provide support for the bike as well as a little storage. Parts of an old bike frame, such as a fork, can also support your bike as well as being a unique solution. There are several kinds of mounts that hold the tires so that the bike hangs vertically with the tires against the wall support, saving wall space when you have several bikes to store.
There are even some decorative racks that don’t actually attach to the wall. They enable to bike to be stored vertically but can be moved when not needed. Some people have found that larger storage or shelving racks actually have enough space to store the bike and still provide storage for other things on additional shelves. This is especially good if you can get a unit that allows for adjustment of shelves, or just leave out a shelf or two when assembling.
Since the handlebars often are the item that makes storage awkward, try removing the handlebars or loosening them enough to turn them so that they don’t take up extra space. If nothing else, this will allow you to keep the bike behind some furniture.
Preparing a Bike for Winter Storage
Remove any water bottles, saddlebags, or any electronic devices attached to the bike for storing in your home. Wash the bike thoroughly. Any substance remaining on the bike, such as dirt, mud or road salt can cause corrosion on the frame and other metal parts, especially if it’s unused for several weeks or months.
This is a good time to take your bike in for a full tune-up. Most people have their bikes serviced in spring to get them ready for use, so you’ll avoid a wait time in spring. Keep watch on the tire pressure and air them up as needed. You don’t want the tires to get flat spots or any other deformities that might be caused by not being sufficiently inflated.
Lubricate the cables and chains. If you get a tune-up for your bike, the service shop will take care of the lubrication and airing up the tires, but it’s still a good idea to periodically check the tires over the winter, especially in places with long winters. It’s also a good idea to check for rust and remove it as soon as possible.
How to Secure Your Bike Outside
The best location in a city may surprise you. Instead of trying to hide it, keep your bike on a busy street, especially if there are CCTV cameras around. The more bikes in one location, the better. Lock your bike to an immovable object. Check any provided bike racks for tampering, such as a part sawed through and covered with tape.
Keep the lock well off the ground to keep thieves from hammering the lock on the ground. Fasten the lock around the frame, not the wheel. You may end up with a wheel and little else. If you use a U-shaped lock, put as many bike parts inside before locking as possible. You don’t want to leave space for a pry bar or other tool.
If you ride to places where you might spend a long time, such as a restaurant or movie theater, try securing your bike some distance away. Thieves watch for people parking a bike nearby a theater, knowing that the owner won’t notice that the bike is gone for some time.
If permanent racks aren’t available, try securing the bike to anything secure, such as railings. Using two locks or a lock and a cable will add to discouraging thieves. One lock goes on the rear wheel and the frame with the secure object while the other lock contains the front wheel and frame. On your own property, you can use things such as posts, or anchors set in concrete to make a secure place to attach your bike.
It’s easy to put away your bike for the winter and then just forget about it. However, making sure your bike is protected from weather and thieves before storage is not the only thing it needs. Inspecting your bike for signs of corrosion and tire condition periodically and working the parts to keep them loose and work off any dirt that may collect is just as important. Like any other object with moving parts, the better the care and protection, the longer it will last without problems.