Bike kit storage that doesn’t cost the room

Cycling starts off as a lovely simple hobby – you pop on your trainers, strap a helmet to your head, jump on the bike and off you go. Then – a couple of years pass and suddenly you have multiple pedals, a collection of steeds, several helmets for different purposes, and more saddles and stems than you could use at once.

Being a cyclist doesn’t make you immune to the cost of living – so many of us still find we need to cram a lot of stuff into a fairly small area.  This is made even more of an issue if there are two of you, and you’re both I-Have-4-bikes cycling addicts, saving for the deposit on ‘That-Dream-House’.

So how can we prevent the bike gear from consuming what little space we have? It’s about making everything as compact as possible.

It goes without saying if you’re a multi-bike-household, save space by lining bikes up head to toe. Alternatively, you can really claim back your floor with a well designed bike rack, like this Dual Touch Bike Stand – the bonus being it doesn’t require any screws which will please the landlord if you’re renting.

This Topeak stand saves space

This Topeak stand saves space

At London Cyclist, we looked at storage for bikes in detail once before, here.

It’s not just about the bike(s). Tools and accessories can get messy and/or lost if not kept in check. I love this amazing Expedit unit from Ikea. It serves two purposes: storage and decoration. I’ve seen the unit put to great use, here is a non-bike example from Dig the Design:

The Ikea unit in a non-bike home

The Ikea unit in a non-bike home

It works pretty well for cyclists, too. You can give every compartment a theme, meaning that everything has a home. If you’re lucky enough to race and win a few shinies, these look pretty awesome when displayed in the Ikea feature:

The Expedit for a cyclist

The Expedit for a cyclist

Of course, not everything can look nice. I’ve never seen a pretty length of cable, or an attractive inner tube (have you?). A unit like this with draws for tubes and cables is perfect. Spare handlebars make good hooks, tooso if you’ve been tinkering with your set-up and have a couple of pairs not quite worth the postage cost of selling them – try turning them upside down and using them to hang bits and bobs. If you like to get creative and make something new – we once compiled 10 of the best DIY projects anyone can do.

Picture of handlebar hanger in use

This example is from makezine.com

Lots of racing cyclist have a few pairs of wheels. I’ve got a friend who is lucky enough to have a nice big house, and he’s got a “wheeldrobe” – yep – a wardrobe full of wheels. My better half, however, came up with a great space efficient solution: adapting a shoe storage unit.  Wheels sit between the slats – shoes claim the space underneath. It probably cost about £20 to construct – but it does the job perfectly:

Home made wheel storage

Home made wheel storage

Bike clothing is by nature easy to fold away. Jackets however can be a bit more bulky, so an Ikea over-the-door hook set can be a good draw space saver. This also means they have some breathing space too when they get wet and need to dry:

Hanging soloutions

Jackets have a home behind the door

Little bits of kit are pretty easy to lose. How many times have you been all ready to leave for a ride, only to find you’re missing one glove, arm warmer, overshoe, <other>? To prevent that the ‘where is leftie warmer?’ morning crisis and possible confusion over arm-warmer ownership, mine live on a skirt hanger like this:

Arm and leg warmers on their hanger

Arm and leg warmers on their hanger

Drinks bottles are another item that could cause more grief than necessary. So – give them a home and keep them there. It’s worth noting that these really need to dry properly on a drainer before you ever attempt to put them away. The consequence of not doing this is a smelly bottle a week later- trust me.

Cycling can become a bit of an obsession – and sometimes it can require quite a bit of kit. That doesn’t have to mean clutter and mess, and if it’s a big part of your life, why not let that breathe, and make a feature of your hobby in your home?

I’ve still not come up with a good way of storing, and not losing, long finger gloves by the way (mitts live on the hanger above). Any suggestions?

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9 Responses to Bike kit storage that doesn’t cost the room

  1. Human Cyclist 14/10/2013 at 9:16 pm #

    I love bikes and bike bits but I don’t want to feel like I’m living in a garage! I just buy less stuff. I’m sure the need for a garage or shed will be one of the decisive factors when it comes to leaving this city.

    • Michelle 14/10/2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Ah – hence the saving mentioned at the start! Every cyclists ‘TheDreamHouse’ has a garage – it’s all about making the most of what you have in the meantime.

  2. Tom 15/10/2013 at 8:05 am #

    Hmm.. If I ever require arm-warmer specific storage solutions I will know something has gone terribly wrong in my life ;-)

  3. Cas Burke 15/10/2013 at 5:47 pm #

    A couple of ladder hooks high on the wall will get your bike out of the way.

  4. Watdabni 16/10/2013 at 7:58 am #

    Useful article but does not mention one of the very best storage solutions of all – folding bikes. We have three in our hallway with no problems. We cannot put even one normal-sized bike in the same space. I realise that not everyone would want a folding bike but for utilitarian cyclists they are a superb solution.

  5. Rossithe bossi 16/10/2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Well worth having a dedicated place for small things…spare locks keys and PitLock pits, all with their associate codes/paperwork.
    Plus all those little bits of rubber and bolts that come with brackets and attachments. Handlebar end caps, cage bolts etc

    Similarly, well organised electronic storage – email confirmation of component orders so you can look up exactly what kind of chain you want to order again (or avoid!).

    A bike repair place near me was recently burnt down so I donated them an old but serviceable rim, v brakes, pedals etc. Good to spread the oily love.

  6. sheridan 18/10/2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Nice to see an article that takes into account landlord / letting agent restrictions on doing anything to walls (most standard contracts I’ve seen don’t even allow you to blue-tak a poster to the wall!)

  7. Alehouse Rock 20/10/2013 at 4:44 pm #

    [[[[ MICHELLE--------thanks. Nice article. I particularly like the Picasso-esque handlebar hooks.....likely to get used for stuff NOT bike-related, I think!
    A-R.

  8. Dave 21/10/2013 at 3:06 pm #

    You are all making me feel that I am missing out! My bikes (3), bike gear and computer workstation are all together in my man cave. It used to be the dining room, but I traded the whole of the rest of the house for it with my wife, who feels SHE got the best of the bargain! I feel so ashamed of my self….MWaahaahaaha

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