Bicycle storage conundrums

Wheel on the ground badly locked

“Excuse me, you can’t leave your bike there” a woman climbing into her Toyota Prius stated.  A strange request I thought to myself, as bike racks tend to be a public space and there was three of them standing empty. “Oh sorry, I’ll only be 3 minutes”. I looked down on at the sorry remains of the previous bicycle resident in these racks. I couldn’t help but laugh that someone would want to stop me from locking my bike in such a clearly undesirable location.

“That’s my husbands bike, someone stole it last week.” I didn’t feel like preaching about his stupidity of only locking the front wheel. “Ah” I stated with a “I know how that is” look on my face.

Bikes left on the same rack in a predictable manner are easy picking for thieves. So what options do we have?

Obviously, indoors is great. But not everyone has the luxury of doing that. Especially, when you’ve come in from a ride in the rain and your bike is soaked.

If you have been graced with an outdoor area then a bike shed is another option. These can take up minimum of space and protect your bike from the elements and  thieves. There’s a range of these available and if your bike is relegated to the great outdoors then it’s worth considering. You generally have two options between a wooden version or a plastic storage container.

The wooden ones look good and aren’t too expensive. However, it doesn’t do a great deal to keep your bike away from moisture that causes rust. Though this can be treated every couple of years with oil based varnish to help the situation.

The plastic storage structure on the other hand whilst it doesn’t look quite as good, it does protect your bike more effectively.

Although London, being London, not a lot of people are graced with a garden. Many people end up carrying bikes up stairs or fitting them into tight escalators. Personally, I’ve been fortunate enough that our flat has a landing area outside with plenty of space to lock bikes. I’d be pretty stuck without this space!

The other option comes from a clever innovation known as folding bikes. These can easily be folded down and then stored away in a cupboard. Undeniably this is a great convenience for those that are happy to ride a folding bike.

Where do you store your bike when you are at home?

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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48 Responses to Bicycle storage conundrums

  1. Phil 12/07/2011 at 9:42 am #

    I have to lock both my bikes to a 3″ thick iron railing outside the house, with a waterproof tarpaulin roped down over them to keep the elements and local scrotes at bay. That and three locks seem to work at both keeping them dry, rust-free and un-stolen. My next bike will be a Brompton 6-speed.

    • Bokers 15/07/2011 at 3:43 pm #

      Having carried my bike through my terraced house twice a day for a year, I realised a better solution was needed (after numerous grease stains, scuffs etc). I have a small front garden which I don’t use (about the width of a wheelie bin) and bought a Top Peak cover from Amazon (completely waterproof and UV resistant). I then ordered a wall anchor from HB Designs for c£25 (looks good and the white blends into my wall)

      http://www.hbdesigns.co.uk/product/products/bike-wall-anchor/

      Very easy to install and they post it to you. I just chain it up every night with an Abus lock and cover it. Much easier than dragging it through the house. So far, its always where I left it (touch wood).

      • H-B Designs 19/07/2011 at 11:26 am #

        Hi Bokers,
        We are glad you are getting on well with your Smile Bike Wall Anchor. Would love to hear any more feedback you may have. Perhaps you could give us a quick call?

        Several people have mentioned storing 3-5 family bikes in a room or garage. We have a great solution called ACCP with its softdock slot. It cushions and protects any size/type of bike against metal to metal / bike to bike contact whist storing them in a compact way. Have a look at:

        http://www.hbdesigns.co.uk/product/products/accp/

        It also has an optional ventilated locker for helmets, waterproofs, shoes etc.

      • Kai Paulden 19/07/2013 at 12:48 pm #

        Great to hear that these solutions work for you in such a tight space.

  2. Tommi 12/07/2011 at 9:58 am #

    I carry mine into my flat. There is a relatively new sheffield stand in gated inner yard, but for some reason I’m hesitating leaving my bike there. Main reason is probably that it’s not covered. It’s also not helping that it’s almost always full, placed too close to a wall, and not actually cast to ground, just sort of floating there.

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 5:30 am #

      When looking a flat recently they said they had a secure bike area for up to two bikes with access only to residents. Still felt less safe than bringing it into the flat.

  3. phil 12/07/2011 at 10:27 am #

    It used to be in a bike rack in the garage in the apts, then into the laundry room, then into the living room, then in the kitchen, then into the hallway and now finally i live somewhere with proper storage space in the apt garage. The hallway was the worst, esp since there were three bikes and i could barely ge my front door open.

  4. JonF 12/07/2011 at 10:33 am #

    “I looked down on at the sorry remains of the previous bicycle resident in these racks. I couldn’t help but laugh that someone would want to stop me from locking my bike in such a clearly undesirable location.”

    Eh? This is really confusing me. It seems that you *did* want to lock your bike there, and I think it’s really pretty good that someone said you shouldn’t leave your bike there because of their own (husband’s) bad experience. What was it that was laughable?

    Is it a case that these racks were on private property and not for public use?

    I bought a Harrogate rack from Broxap and concreted it in my front yard. The curved top means it doesn’t look so ‘municipal’. Cost about £130 I think including paint and delivery. No need for a shelter. I considered the PlantLock but space was so restricted that the thinner rack was better.

    Worth every penny to get the bikes out of the hallway.

    Price from £35.00 they say:

    http://www.broxap.com/viewproduct.asp?cID=27&pcID=23&pID=350&/BXMW/GH0_Harrogate_Cycle_Stand

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 5:36 am #

      Hey JonF – the person wasn’t telling me not to lock it there because of hubbies experience – they were telling me not to lock it because it was private property (even if it looked pretty public to me!)

      • Woody 15/07/2011 at 10:59 am #

        That’s not how it reads to me Andreas. It looks like she was warning you about bike theft, not forbidding you from using private property. You might want to edit the opening para if that’s the case?

    • James 19/11/2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Only the front wheel was locked, meaning that it was pretty easy to steal… had he locked it properly, there probably wouldn’t have been an issue. So, what was laughable was that whoever locked thought it was okay to do so in such a way, the location isnt so much the problem, its how it was locked.

  5. Matt 12/07/2011 at 10:38 am #

    We have one of the Trimetals steel bike sheds in our front garden. They cost quite a lot, and do take an afternoon to put together, but are becoming increasingly popular (there are 6 in our street in Hackney alone). There’s plenty of space for two adult bikes and all the tools/accessories, and it seems very secure.

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 5:43 am #

      I’m interested to read quite a few people are investing in these types of bike storage.

  6. Paul 12/07/2011 at 10:57 am #

    I put mine in a metal shed.. until it got broken into. They didn’t break the lock as much as move the door out the way. Additional hasp and staple lock makes sure that won’t happen again.

    I still keep the some bikes in there, attached by two locks (D-lock and hefty chain) to a heavy, cast iron bedframe and gas canister.

    My bike tends to be in the dining room, stretching the patience of my wife. We have a small path next to our kitchen which, once clear of junk, I intend to cover and put an Arbus Wall anchor up to store the bike there. Secured, away from the elements and easy access for daily commute.

    I think that even if you have a secured shed/bike hut/etc… its still about how the bike is anchored. A shed won’t protect your bike, two big locks will..

    and a dog…

    .. a big angry dog.

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 5:51 am #

      Very true Paul. A lot of people who’ve had bikes stolen say “but it was in my garden”. If it was in your garden and not attached to anything then it is still easy pickings for a thief who has observed where you store it. Seems you’ve got your locking strategy down (as soon as bike is out of wife’s way)

      Agreed on the angry dog!

  7. Alex 12/07/2011 at 11:00 am #

    I use a top peak bike cover, which keeps the rain off. The bike shed would be a step up but doesnt look like it would be that secure unless you put some sort of secure post inside the shed.

  8. Greg 12/07/2011 at 11:11 am #

    If you do have to leave your bike in the garden or on balcony etc we’re just launching (officially soon) a new bike cover at http://www.bikeparka.com

    It comes with some features existing covers don’t; a very handy Velcro lock-through panel (to put your existing bike lock through the cover). They’re toggle adjustable on the top (to adjust depending on your seat height) and have an elastic wheel fit. There’s also an eyelet at the bottom to secure the cover. Technically, it’s made from rip-stop polyester, the seams are taped, PU coated, UPF50+, and comes in two designs and a handy stuff-sac.

    Obviously you need to lock your bike and it’s better kept inside but if you do need to keep it outside, then a good quality cover will help take care of it.

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 6:03 am #

      Does that prevent a bike from rusting? As I’d assume the moisture would simply build up inside the cover and make things worse?

      • Greg 13/07/2011 at 8:01 am #

        The covers are fully open at the bottom so there’s a lot of airflow – if moisture does ever occur it will dry out quickly rather than build up. I think I’ve had more condensation inside my flat :-) In the past I’ve used covers to take care of boards, bikes, scooter, and bbqs, the only issue I’ve ever found is that cheap plastic versions become brittle from the sunlight so you end up having to replace them. I take good care of things and bike is my pride and joy – definitely wouldn’t leave it outside without covering of any sort.

        • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 8:55 am #

          Thanks for your answer Greg :)

  9. Louise 12/07/2011 at 11:23 am #

    Apart from when my bike is locked up at work (two locks and a small monkey with a machine gun) or out on the road, my bike usually lives in my bedroom and guards me when I sleep. My flat doesn’t have any outside space and my flatmates don’t tolerate bikes living in the hallway (they both HATE cyclists).

  10. Greg 12/07/2011 at 11:34 am #

    The machine gun wielding monkey sounds like the best solution.

  11. Natalia 12/07/2011 at 11:39 am #

    We decided to sacrifice our pantry/storage cupboard and it worked great. It was big enough to put two vertical bike racks and fit a shelf with baskets for all the bike stuff!

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 6:11 am #

      In a house I was looking at I was prepared to sacrifice the second tiny toilet!

  12. tim 12/07/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    if you have the space this is what you should get http://www.trimetals.co.uk/bicycle-storage.php?m=4&g=9

  13. walltoall 12/07/2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I use a Strida and have done so for almost eight years. Folded it fits in any space vacated by golf clubs. I store it under the stairs, in the car boot, in the engine room of a canal barge, on buses I bring it with me often upstairs. On trains it fits between reversed seats.

  14. Adam Edwards 12/07/2011 at 1:58 pm #

    We had a porch extension to the house some while back to gain extra space. But then the kids got bigger and became regular cyclists, so the space now has to fit a Pashley Tri1, 2 Pukys and a Brompton.

    My Brompton does at least fit folded behind the front door. The Tri1 does at least fold in the main stem, but it really does take up a lot of room.

    On the plus side it’s more secure indoors than out. We are very lucky to have the space.

    Adam

  15. Alis 12/07/2011 at 4:46 pm #

    We keep our bikes (5 of them) in the back room. It’s awkward but there’s no space in the garden for a shed, the garage is a gym and the basement is a nice room!

    Basically that whole room is dedicated to the bikes now.

    We use 2 Shimano Pro Cycle Stands and a freestanding steel bike rack that can hold 3 bikes.

    Would be great to have the space to store them less awkwardly, but they are safe!

  16. Vicki 12/07/2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Landlord dictates that mine doesn’t come in house, even to put in back garden. So it’s locked via three locks to the wall and a Bronze level ground anchor. It’s also outside someone’s window and my room is above that and has a rain cover over it and no-one had had a go at it over the years.

    I’d prefer to keep in house but no such luck and it would be the same setup if used back garden instead,

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 6:14 am #

      I guess he had a previous resident who really scratched up the wall.

  17. Iain 12/07/2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I have a handy parking space with my flat, not much use when you have a bike. Quick tawl on a popular auction site and \I became the owner of a secure, alarmed shed with mini-greenhouse. Okay, it’s a ’93 VW Transporter, failed it’s MOT and sold for spares, the body is generally sound (ok the sill’s going…) but the bits I’m interested in are fine. The locks work, there’s space for a bike and a lot of other stff (too much other stuff, I need o get the council van round!) If youve gopt the space, an old van is a good solution – and No one bats an eyelid at an old van (after all, who’d expect a nice bikle to be in a van, when there’s nive new bike sheds…)

    • Andreas 13/07/2011 at 6:15 am #

      The most innovative solution I’ve read!

  18. Henz 12/07/2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Before moving to London my bike (alongside my partner’s) was locked to an anchor mounted on the wall outside our back door and covered with a tarp. Fortunately we had access to the back of the house and lived in a quiet area.

    The set-up in my (London) flat is almost perfect, we have a ground floor, CCTV monitored, dedicated, bike-room. The only things letting it down are that delivery lorries like to park in front of the door and that it is equipped with inadequate wheel-buckling bike stands. (eg. inadequate stand from Halfords http://bit.ly/ppOHdG)

    @Louise: Where does one get a small monkey with a machine gun? Is there an agency which specialises?

    • Louise 14/07/2011 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Henz

      He comes with the building I work in, but he is more commonly known as Dave (the security guard) who watches the CCTV during working hours and makes sure nothing gets nicked.

      I think due to the extensive laws regarding animal welfare it is unlikely that such an agency exists, though is would be nice because I could pay my monkey in peanuts to guard my bike.

      Louise :)

  19. Skippy 13/07/2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Visit the Tour de FRance and see how quick your bike can get nicked !

    Too many are leaving their ” nice ” bike behind them saying they can “keep an eye on it “!
    HA , who looks at their bike as they try to grab the ” junk ” from the caravan or evren later as the racers go by ?

    Plan and think ! Your bike is worth more than a strong lock

  20. Rachel 15/07/2011 at 9:41 am #

    After my first (cheaper) bike got stolen 3 days after moving to London (I had kept it on the bike racks outside out flat block) I went the route of buying a brompton as I was space conscious in our flat. It didn’t really matter as my flatmate keeps his 15 year old, heap of junk £30 mountain bike in our hallway so after my journey distance increased, I bought a more expensive hybrid which I keep in the flat.

    I work in Soho and pay £30 a month to h2bikerun who provide me with secure space to keep my bicycle and showers etc.

  21. Penguin 15/07/2011 at 10:49 am #

    I kept my last bike locked with 2 big locks to the railings outside my basement flat by the bedroom window… Until it got nicked. While I was in the bedroom. Now I battle it down the extremely steep and narrow steps (they’re risky enough to walk down, let alone carrying a bike) and keep it inside.

  22. Fritz 15/07/2011 at 11:07 am #

    I am truly blessed for a Londoner, I have an underground car pack on my block which has a caged area just for bikes. Am I lucky or what? :D

    • Andreas 15/07/2011 at 3:44 pm #

      Very rare! Hopefully this is the kind of thing we’ll see more of in future

  23. ale 15/07/2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Make indoor storage easier with a flipphandle.. Help us help you and look for us on kickstarter.. Makes bike storage a snapp..

  24. sehsuan 15/07/2011 at 2:10 pm #

    i’m not from london, i’m from singapore.

    what i intend to do is to retrofit my skewers to Pitlocks, and together with my ABUS Granit X Plus 52HB, lock the frame through the rear wheel/seatstay junction, along with an ABUS Cobra cable running through my front wheel anyway.

  25. Andrew 16/07/2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I’ve got a TidyTent BikeCave (actually, 2 now!) in the backyard – i’m not in London. It doesn’t provide any security by itself, just weather protection, but has a convenient hole/flap in the back for locking the bikes to something solid. I can fit 3-4 bikes in there, plus some tools and accessories. When I bought the second one I looked into other options including timber sheds and metal cages, but the cost and convenience of this made it a clear winner. Available at amazon.co.uk

    • ale 19/07/2011 at 12:54 pm #

      FLIPPHANDLE: Easily Store or transport a bike by moving the handlebars

      Flipphandle Solicits Investors (supporters)on Kickstarter
      Bicycle Inventor Seeks $75K in 60 Days
      http://kck.st/flipphandle

      FLIPPHANDLE MAKES BIKE STORAGE A SNAP.
      Swing Handlebars Out-of-the- Way for Easy, Instant Storage

      Flipphandle, a patented bicycle stem that allows handle bars to be turned or flipped to the side for easy storage, is seeking investors on Kickstarter.com, a crowd-sourced venture funding platform for creative projects. Flipphandle is seeking to raise at least $75,000 in 60 days – or before Sept. 13

      Push a button on top of the stem. Swing the handlebar 90 degrees. It locks in place. When you want to ride, push the button. Swing the bars back. They lock in place. And away you go.

      “For a century people have been banging into handlebars and trying to figure out how to store or transport their bikes in tight spaces. This is the challenge that got me excited; an obvious and common problem that nobody has solved yet … until now, Mr. Lacreu observed. “Now you can snap the handlebars out of the way and take a bike easily in an elevator, on a train or even just walk respectfully on the sidewalks. I’m hopeful that bike owners everywhere will embrace this useful invention and help me raise the money to bring it to a global market.”

  26. Clive 02/08/2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Interesting article and replies – especially the old van! We have had exactly the same problems which is why we have designed and made our own range of internal storage solutions for bikes – if you have to have your bike in the house/flat then at least make a virtue of it by having a nice stand! http://www.quarterre.com/products

    Keep up the good work Andreas! Londoncyclist is a regular read here!

  27. holzkohle 03/08/2011 at 10:58 am #

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So good to seek out somebody with some original ideas on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this website is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with somewhat originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the internet!

  28. Jessica 24/10/2011 at 11:42 am #

    I bought a College bolt down bright polished stainless steel cycle stand from Furnitubes. They had really helpful sales advisors on the other end of the phone who seemed to have a lot of information to help me chose the product best suited to me. I chose the college stand because it has a timeless appearance and is cost effective durable and low maintenance so perfect for me to store my bike. I would recommmend using furnitubes any day.

    http://www.furnitubes.com/cycle-parking/cycle-stands/college-bolt-down-bright-polished-stainless-steel-cycle-stand

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