Bike storage ideas in London

Summer is on its way and London’s roads are filling up with cyclists, many inspired by last year’s Olympics and encouraged by the proliferation of Boris Bikes on the streets of the capital.

Bicycle ownership in London increases year on year, with 2012’s annual travel report for London estimating that a staggering 700,000 people cycle in the capital every day.

Increasingly popular ride-to-work schemes and street-hiring options, as well as an abundance of affordable second hand bikes, mean that getting hold of a bike is neither difficult nor expensive, but storage is still a problem for many, particularly in London.

With 8 out of 33 London boroughs having a population density of over 100 people per hectare, Londoners are particularly cramped, with small interiors and little outside space.

Below are some some space-saving bike storage solutions to help keep your bike safe without cluttering up your living area.

Indoor

Leaving your bike indoors is often preferable to leaving it outside. It helps to avoid deterioration such as chain rusting as well as brakes and tyres perishing, which can occur when your bike is exposed to the elements. And with bike theft rampant in the capital, and many Londoners managing without a garage, hallway or even an under-stairs cupboard, bikes are often left in the hallway or even stored in a bedroom.

If space is a problem, consider indoor bike hooks, which allow you to hang your bicycle directly onto a wall and saves on floor space. Try Cycloc.com for wall-mount solutions.

Or, if you are lucky enough to have high ceilings, a pulley system is another option – and they look pretty good too.

Untitled1

[Bikes make great wall art]

Shoreditch-based Bike Dock Solutions have a great range of products for business and home.

Outdoors

If indoor storage isn’t possible, you need to find somewhere secure outdoors, such as in a shed, or by installing a locking point in your garden or outside space.

If you have or share a shed you can easily store several bikes at once. If possible, lock one bike to another object, such as a lawnmower, as shed locks and doors aren’t particularly secure. Remember to check with your insurer to see if your bike is covered on home insurance. Look for companies that offer cycle cover away from home.

If you want to buy a shed, prices start from around £150 at B&Q, who also offer smaller, purpose- built bike sheds. More expensive options for multiple bike storage include Bike Shel, a bespoke bike house that stores up to four bikes, with prices starting at £610.

If you don’t have room for a shed, installing a locking point to an outside wall is a cheap and effective option: a fixed butterfly wall stand will only set you back £14.99. Locking your bike to a wall fixture with a cable (via the wheels, a D-lock and the frame) will keep it safe, or invest in a heavy duty motorcycle chain that will deter even the most determined thieves.

If you are parking your bike on the street, look for well-lit areas on main roads or a spot close to security cameras. Check the area for signs of theft, e.g. broken locks, a lock with just a single wheel attached.

For more information and specific bike-locking advice, check out our bike lock guide.

Storage parks / private companies

There are numerous examples of great parking facilities for bikes across the globe – some with fully automated systems. This video from Japan shows a bike being stored by a giant vending machine.  There’s a similar machine called Velogic from a Dutch company, and there are many countries around the world that have innovative storage schemes. Check out these in Apeldoorn, Holland, Sao Paulo and closer to home in Manchester.

London isn’t that far behind. TFL runs four secure cycle park schemes – sadly not yet automated.

  • Finsbury Park cycle park – 50p for 24 hours, 125 racks – Smartcard required
  • London Bridge cycle park – has temporarily moved to The Vaults, Montague Close, London, SE1 9DA while London Bridge is being redeveloped
  • City of London cycle parking – Free
    • London Wall, 176 spaces
    • Baynard House, 106 spaces
    • Tower Hill Car Park, 52 spaces
    • Minories, 15 spaces
  • Heathrow cycle hub – Free, 400 racks

Click here for more information about parking your bike at tube, mainline, tram or DLR stations. There are also private companies offering bike storage, with the majority in the city.

Wherever you are parking your bike, remember to remove any portable items, such as a basket or lights, and if you have a valuable seat, padlock it to your bike frame. Also make sure to lock your wheel to your bike using a heavy duty chain.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

11 Responses to Bike storage ideas in London

  1. Watdabni 04/07/2013 at 4:19 pm #

    As ever, useful but omits one of the best methods of cycle storage – the folding bike. I bought my first ten or so years ago and my cycling life was transformed. I could ride to the office, fold the bike, and keep it by my desk. It takes up very little space in our fairly small hallway (there are currently three there and I cannot get even one normal bike into the space). My previous (non-folding) bike had to be kept in a storage cupboard in the garden at the back of the house and, every time I used it, it had to be wheeled through the entire house – a real nuisance. No more of that now! my wife and I take our folding bikes into restaurants, shops, theatres, museums and almost never need to carry locks. The bikes are either in cloakrooms or in our sight. On trains we can carry them on at all times (folded if it is rush-hour). On ferries they can be carried without additional charge. I could go on but you get the point. Of course it does help if the bike genuinely folds small (many don’t) – otherwise what is the point?

    • MJ Ray 21/11/2014 at 4:57 pm #

      It feels like more places are banning folding bikes as they become more common. They’re awkward to lock to conventional stands because of all the quick release parts. Are there better alternatives to the fairly expensive left luggage at the mainline stations?

  2. Tom 05/07/2013 at 12:10 am #

    Funny how all photos I’ve seen of Cycloc are always of pristine bikes that look like they’re never used, hung on freshly painted white walls. I dread to think what state my walls would be in if I hung my bike up after a wet winter commute..

  3. Ross 05/07/2013 at 7:33 am #

    Butterfly stands are awful! You can only lock one wheel, they’re often made of thinner steel than a lock. Disappointing to see these recommended.

    • Sheridan 12/07/2013 at 10:35 pm #

      I agree with this – if you’re locking your bike up, make sure you can put both locks through the frame, the wheel and the object you’re locking it to. Anything less than that and you’re asking for it to be stolen. I boycott any shop that has butterfly locks (unless there’s a proper cycle rack somewhere nearby).

  4. Laura 11/07/2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Can you advise if any bike sheds are covered by either home insurance or bike insurance? Is there an equivalent of a gold / level 10 of bike sheds as with bike locks or is a shed/bike shed considered equivalent to leaving them outside?

  5. Tom 12/07/2013 at 10:22 am #

    Hello – Good article although not sure how the researchers of this article didn’t come across http://www.h2bikerun.co.uk. I am a member at H2bikerun I think they have about 400 bike parking spaces which are safely secured inside under CCTV in W1 just off Carnaby St. They also have showers & bike servicing and retail onsite. Its fantastic, I have been a member there for 2 years they have a massive following from members but I think it deserves more support from the wider cycling community.

  6. Simon Harrison 12/07/2013 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Andreas, Great blog..

    You could also consider our Bike Vault locker.

    It’s only designed for one bike and associated kit but will fit in tight outdoor spaces and typical small London front gardens. Totally secure, weatherproof and convenient..

  7. Emma Bostock 12/07/2013 at 10:57 am #

    I’ve just signed up to something called cyclehoops – they’ve been installing bike hangars in certain parts of London – £42 for a year, have to apply for it and get sent a tag and key, preference given to people who live on the same street as the hangar. Brilliant getting my bike out of my flat!

    • Gaynor 15/07/2013 at 3:37 pm #

      Thanks for sharing cyclehoops Emma. I live in a house which has been converted in to 2 flats. I live on the ground floor and my cousin lives above me… We are both keen cyclist so use our bikes most days.

      We both have no where to put our bikes…. I do have a garden but it would be a nightmare to have to get a bike through the long and not very wide passage and then into my kitchen before leaving it outside…. Plus i don`t have a shed etc to lock it up in.

      So most of the time my bike is parked in my living room which is a real pain and if my cousin is away or working or im home late but off out early again the following morning then I leave it in the small front passage but it then blocks both our doors to our flats which means every time one of us wants to go out I have to move my bike first….. errggghhhh!!!
      My poor cousin ends up carrying his bike up and down the stairs to his flat every time he uses his bike which is an even bigger pain and he leaves his in his passage at the top end of his stairs…. OMG the things we do so we can cycle huy!!

      So after looking up the details of cyclehoop I have put forward details requesting for one of the bike hangars to be based in my road….. There are none in Tower Hamlets of yet… So I am on a mission to get this changed….. and will be enlisting some help from my cousin and some of my neighbours who cycle…. Thank you for this site Andreas its a godsend. :~)))))

  8. Hannah 23/07/2013 at 9:58 am #

    I have just fitted a Shed Shackle to keep my bike safe in our new shed: http://redbeaucycle.co.uk/2013/07/23/i-love-my-shed/. Actually quite impressed with my b/f’s construction skills that the shed survived the baptism of fire of last night’s storms! I know once you have a back garden, bike storage life gets a lot easier, but it’s still hard finding something secure which doesn’t require you to lay concrete to keep your bike safe.

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