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 Bike Storage
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.
Or, if you are lucky enough to have high ceilings, a pulley system is another option – and they look pretty good too.
[Bikes make great wall art]
Shoreditch-based Bike Dock Solutions have a great range of products for business and home.
Outdoor Bike Storage
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.