Q&A – Where to store a bicycle?

Cycling in Buenos Aires 

^ Cycling in Buenos Aires


My flight landed from Lyon in France about 2 hours ago and I have a lot of catching up to do on London Cyclist. From what I can see a lot of things have happened while I was away including a big BBC blooper, the announcement of the London Cycle Challenge and the temperature has reached 30 degrees!

During my 3 weeks of travelling I had a lot of cycling experiences and I’ll be writing about some of them including cycling in Argentina and trying out the cycle hire scheme in Lyon (velove). I also want to write about a new bicycle maintenance magbook, a new iPhone app for cyclists and a few reviews. Also, I’m potentially doing a three day cycling trip this weekend so will aim to blog about that on the go.  As you can see things are pretty crazy at the moment!

So, to get myself back in the spirit of living and cycling in London I’ll start with a question I received from Natalie while I was in Barcelona:

“I am looking to get a bike to cycle to work, which is just under 9 miles each way. I was going to get a commuter/ hybrid bike due to length of the journey however my landlady won’t let me store the bike in the garden. As a result I was going to get a folding bike however I was advised strongly against this as even the best fold-up bike can’t compare to a basic mountain bike. My question is… is there anywhere or any place where cyclists might blog where I can post a request to store my bike on their premise on evenings? I know this sounds odd, but I really enjoy commuting and did this all the time when I lived in York. Since moving to London I’ve missed this and want to start it up again. Unfortunately I know if I leave my bike out on the main street (locked) it will be stolen within a month, hence my desire to find alternative storage. Thanks for any help with this.”

My response:

The two sites I can think of are craigslist and gumtree. Alternatively an ad in the local paper or a local shop may do the trick (probably the local shop is more effective).

You could also try local businesses with garages.

If you have to leave your bike outside use 3 locks, remove the seat and potentially remove the front wheel also. This will make it a completely undesirable target to thieves. Though I realise it is additional effort for you every time. A quick release wheel is very easy to remove.

Also I think a folding bike is actually not such a bad idea.

Would you guys offer similar advice?

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30 Responses to Q&A – Where to store a bicycle?

  1. Hamish 25/05/2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Also perhaps remove the handlebars! I had the handlebars stolen off my entry level road bike a few weeks ago in Camden, they cut through all the cables. Its costing me £175 to get them replaced, more than 50% of the value of the bike.

    • Andreas 25/05/2010 at 8:44 pm #

      wow, the handlebars! That’s the first time I’ve heard of someones handlebars being stolen

  2. WestfieldWanderer 25/05/2010 at 9:43 pm #

    One word: Brompton. Great fun to ride – better than a mountain bike on the road. Small fold and easy to store. No security issues – store it under your desk at work, and hide it in your room at home.

    • Andreas 25/05/2010 at 9:54 pm #

      Agreed – if storage is a big issue, then a brompton is a great solution!

  3. Mike 25/05/2010 at 9:56 pm #

    If you can put things on the wall, then this might be a good idea: http://www.cycloc.com/

  4. Alistair 25/05/2010 at 10:47 pm #

    I use a Brompton for a commute of 12 miles all in each way. Harder work than my road bike or mountain bike but still fairly easily achievable, and I feel it’s safer in London than my mountain bike.

    It sits under my desk at work, sits in the hallway at home.

  5. Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 25/05/2010 at 10:56 pm #

    I strongly advise against leaving the bike outside at night.

    In my previous flat my wife and I didn’t have much choice and they’ve got stolen in a week, even though my wife’s bike was a cheapish one with the saddle removed and a pedal missing (it had broken that day).

    It’s true we were using only one lock for each but it was on the relatively safe neighbourhood of St. John’s wood.

    Personally I don’t like foldings much but they’re much better than public transport if you can’t afford the space to have a normal one.

  6. James 25/05/2010 at 10:58 pm #

    Like Alistair and WestfieldWanderer I’d recommend a Brompton too. I had to get a folding bike for similar reasons – I’ve nowhere to leave it but in my flat. I’ve had mine since September and never had a problem with it.

    My commute is only 3 miles but I’ve also been using it for exercise at weekends and did 40-miles on Sunday and it wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

  7. MarkA 26/05/2010 at 10:05 am #

    Brompton! They were *made* for situations just like this, nearly everyone I know who has one loves one, it’s just there’s a small vocal minority of idiots who go about them not being ‘real’ bikes. Don’t listen to them and give one a try.

    I’d also have a word with your landlady about her precious garden, but there we go…

    • Andreas 26/05/2010 at 11:55 am #

      Yeah, the landlady is being a little restrictive! After all as long as you pay your rent on time surely its up to you!

  8. Russell 26/05/2010 at 10:06 am #

    I switched jobs earlier in the year and going from the office garage to the prospect of locking it up at the *totally secure* bike rake by the toilets at the top of Carnaby Street made me sick.

    My local bike shop (putney cycles) recommended I try a Brompton and I’ve fallen in love with it.

    I cycle 11K each way in pretty much the same time as my old mountain bike, it lives under my desk at work, and under the stairs at home, and it’s the best thing in my life since my son was born. Although they are pricey, I’ve worked out it will have paid for itself by September when you add up London Transport fees, plus the obvious health benefits and the intangible good feeling you get cycling on a beautiful day.

    My only quibble, I was slightly disappointed there isn’t an brompton fraternity waving to each other as we pass like VW Beetle owners do. Come on people, let’s make it happen!

    • Andreas 26/05/2010 at 11:56 am #

      Like the sound of the Brompton fraternity. There are a lot of converts to this very special bike!

  9. Alistair 26/05/2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Prompted by this discussion I’ve reviewed my Brompton on my blog:

  10. Filippo Negroni 27/05/2010 at 9:03 am #

    If you think you can fit half a bike, you can get 26″ folding bikes from Dahon or Montague.
    They don’t fold as compact but are a lot easier to store when folded and perform just like a regular bike when unfolded.
    Otherwise I can recommend a £300-400 20″ or 24″ Dahon instead of the Brompton: might not be as compact but for most people performs just the same, for half the money.

  11. smitten 28/05/2010 at 11:31 am #

    A quick word in agreement with Filippo. I love my 26 inch Dahon. It’s not quite so convenient as a Brompton – I can’t store it under my desk and it’s not as light to carry. On the flipside it rides like a ‘proper’ bike, none of the Brompton shakiness, and it’s half the price.

  12. Kevin 29/05/2010 at 12:26 am #

    I park my bike in my bedroom… which may be considered a bit strange… but then I live in California… so what else would you expect.

  13. Tim 29/05/2010 at 7:52 am #

    Reading the cycling press and discussion pages most regular cyclists seem to rule out a daily commute on a Brompton. I guess if you you are used to a speedy road bike or a kerb hopping hybrid then it would take some adjusting. However if you are used to nothing else then these comments prove a commute is possible and indeed enjoyable on a Brompton or similar. Hello to the Brompton owner who passes me at speed in the city most mornings!!!

  14. Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 29/05/2010 at 9:54 am #

    @Tim – what you say makes a lot of sense. My previous bike was a folding bike (thought not a Brompton) and I hadn’t ride for years. Back then I didn’t have much to complain about it, it served me well for my 35min/6km(4mi) commute, but I didn’t cycled every day.

    It got stolen and now I live further a way, with more space, so I bought a hybrid one and facing a 12Km(8mi) commute in 35min I look back and I feel a folding wouldn’t have fit my bill this time.

    Also, because it’s a hybrid bike I take larger routes, like Windsor or Rochester recently. But then again, enough saying that my wife owns a Dutch bike, not the most athlete orientated bike in the world, and she made it to Rochester just as well, so I guess everything is possible if you love your bike.

  15. Alistair 29/05/2010 at 11:42 am #

    Interesting about the assumptions that a folder, of any type, isn’t something that an experienced cyclist would use. As with anything these things are a compromise, and it’s very much what decisions one makes about needs that drives the decision.

    I have a lengthy train journey to break up my ride, so see most aspects of the decision set on a daily basis. I’ve also used both Brompton and mountain bike on the commute, and each has pros and cons.

    With a full size bike there is the hassle of storage and security. But they have a full range of gears for hilly routes and at least for hybrids and mountain bikes there is a lot of comfort with fat tyres and at least front suspension. Bluntly, a number of my clients don’t have anywhere to store a full size bike during the working day, so the prospect of leaving pretty expensive bikes nearby on the assumption that they might be there when I get back isn’t amusing to me.

    So what I’m sacrificing with the Brompton is a little comfort, mainly on my shoulders as the rural roads here are in appalling condition. I would say that I don’t lose anything on speed, looking at my records I was doing about the same times on both the MTB and the Brompton. My top speeds on the Brompton are probably a little better but the MTB gives me better speeds uphill, and a little easier on the legs with the lower gear range.

    In terms of pace in London I’m probably about halfway through the pack, I routinely pass hybrids and MTBs, and I’m routinely passed by road bikes and the odd hybrid.

    On the train, actually getting on can be hit and miss with the MTB, The Brompton means I always get the train I’m planning on. Sometimes people will load up the bike areas and obstruct the gangway, but that’s not my style. The bike areas on the trains can take three full sized bikes, with opportunity spaces for up to four Bromptons by virtue of the layout.

    The train is where the half-folds like Dahon and Giant are really inconvenient for others. The folded shape is awkward, they seem to take up much more space than a Brompton, so end up being folded in the gangway and still obstructing, They don’t seem to be stable, so need jammed in between other bikes to avoid them falling over. When I was looking at folders last year I did try a couple and really wasn’t all that keen, the fold seemed quite pronounced when I was riding, I felt as if the front and back of the bike weren’t actually all that joined up. Going from the half folder to the Brompton was enough to convince me which one I wanted.

    My impression is that in trying to be a full size bike with a fold the compromise was too great and it didn’t live up to my expectation of either. I’ll acknowledge that it’s only been a couple of times, but I was left feeling more comfortable with the Brompton for reasonable distances. The cost issue is a big one, but if CycleScheme or similar is an option then it makes a big difference.

    I will say that I do a longer ride on the way home if I’m on the MTB, although the main driver for that is the hills and the bridleways, I really wouldn’t fancy the state of my back and shoulders if I took the Brompton off-road.

    • Adrian 30/05/2010 at 6:05 pm #

      I swapped from a Dahon 20″ to a Hybrid which I keep out the front of my house in N8. Not had that many issues with crime at home or at work. One bike stolen once from work (never attach your bike to a slim street sign, no matter how tall. I knew that you could not lift the bike off standing, but standing on the top of the white van that nicked it was no problem), and one seat post and saddle stolen once from home (now have a cheap cable lock around the saddle) in almost 3 years.

      I have a motorbike anchor and chain out the front that I use to lock up. That may not be appropriate if you’re renting but lamp-posts might be just as good it you spend enough on the chain.

      I’ve heard a lot of anti-folding comments above and I have to say this: They are light, and the small wheels make them very swift to accelerate, the gears are all you really need for city commuting (how many of you out there are on fixies or singles?) and they are no slower than a heavy MTB or hybrid (I found my Dahon was actually quicker). The reason I swapped was that I found the small wheels made me feel very unstable. I just prefer riding a full size bike, and I only folded the bike up to bring it in the house at the end of the day.

      My Advice: Go try one out. I almost went with one of the Dahon 26″ the only thing that stopped me was the fact I didn’t need a folder.

  16. Ross 31/05/2010 at 10:10 pm #

    What about paying for secure parking – with changing facilities?

    How much would you expect to pay??!!

    How close to your home/work would it need to be to get you to use it??

  17. comment moderated 19/04/2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Thanks Dave for spotting this comment – I’ve now removed it 🙂 Please do always report when you spot something like this!

    • Dave 14/04/2013 at 2:47 pm #

      @holiday accommodations this is a lame and thinly veiled plug. This is a cycling forum not a property market. Your post appears to be a generic copy and paste and I believe Andreas already has a loved one so your greeting is also inappropriate

  18. Dave 14/04/2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I took my Brompton on last years London to Brighton ride and it coped beautifully. Since then I changed the three speed hub for a Sturmer Archer 8 speed hub and now it climbs hills like an MTB. With SPD pedals I fly through London on my 12 mile commute and the fold isn’t affected apart from the pedal

    I have a road bike and a hybrid but my Brommie is the most fun

  19. Dannie smith 23/03/2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Buy a bicycle store from Trimetals and put it in your front or back garden they have various levels of security.Take a look, Secure By Design and Police Approved.

  20. Dave 23/03/2015 at 6:07 pm #

    Since my last post, I have added a 53″/39″ chainring to my Brompton. Together with the 8 speed hub this gives me a brilliant flat and a climbing range together with a very fast flat and downhill range. It still folds perfectly and outruns a lot of road bikes. It’s amazingly stable at speed and very maneuverable in traffic

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