No garage? No problem. You can store a bike in the smallest studio flat – and lots in larger properties. Here’s how
Property in the UK is super expensive these days, whether you’re buying or renting. Space is at a premium and garages are a luxury. If you don’t have one and there’s no room outdoors for a secure bike bunker from the likes of Asgard or Trimetals, your bike will have to live indoors.
That puts limits on the kind of bike you can own. It must be narrow enough to fit through your door and light enough to get it there – possibly up steps. To avoid tracking tyre marks, rainwater and maybe oil across floors, you’ll want to store the bike fairly close to your door. And it’s best if there’s a wipe-clean surface like tiles or linoleum underneath. If not, a bike workshop mat is big enough to catch any drips and will be water and oil resistant.
While it is more hassle to lug a bike indoors, compared to parking it in a capacious garage, it’s significantly less likely to be stolen when you lock it behind your front door.
Here’s a range of indoor storage solutions. Some of them could also be used by employers offering indoor cycle parking to staff.
Use a compact folder
Folding bikes aren’t just for rail travel. They’re perfect for indoor parking. Compact folders like the Brompton and Tern BYB P10 take up no more space than a moderately-sized suitcase and can be stored in the smallest flat or bedsit. Invest in a bag or cover (even a 75p Ikea bag works fine) if you need to keep the folded bike’s surroundings pristine, or just buy a spare doormat to slip under it. Then put it wherever makes most sense – under the coatrack, under a desk, in a cupboard…
Slim-down your bike
Bikes are almost two dimensional. The bits that stick out and bark shins or catch elbows when it’s parked against an indoor wall are the pedals and the handlebar. One way to prevent this is by fixing horizontal-storage wall hooks high enough that the handlebar is above head height (your bike must be easy to lift). The other option is to minimise the width of your bike.
Instead of standard pedals, fit folding or quick-release ones. Folding pedals are hinged so that the main body of the pedal can be turned parallel to the crank; Decathlon’s are inexpensive. Quick-release pedals pop on and off a little stub axle that remains fixed to the crank. MKS Ezy pedals are the best known and come in a wide range of designs.
Quick-release stems enable the handlebar to turn 90 degrees independently of the front wheel, so that a flat bar ends up pointing longitudinally. The Shultz Stem Twist SDS won a Eurobike award in 2016.
Don’t forget to park your bike with its oily drivetrain facing the wall, if possible.
Hooks and racks
Hooks let you hang your bike horizontally or vertically on a wall or vertically from a ceiling joist. The simplest ones are large, plastic coated hooks like the Park Tool Wood Thread Storage Hook. Your bike hangs on the hook by its front wheel, dangling if you screw it into a ceiling joist or with both wheels resting against a wall if you fix it there.
Bikes hung like this take up little space side to side but do stick out from the wall a metre or more. To hook up the bike, hold it by the handlebar and flip it onto its back wheel, then brace the saddle against one thigh while lifting. It’s easier with a lighter bike; heavy bikes – electric ones in particular – may be too awkward to lift like this.
Vertical bike racks (such as the Gear Up Off-the-wall 1-bike Vertical Rack) generally have the hook protruding from a flat plate or wheel guide, and they fix to the wall with two screws rather than one.
Some also have a wall-mounted rest for the rear wheel to prevent tyre marks. Most such racks look fairly industrial and are better suited to garages than living rooms but the Cycloc Endolooks smart and folds flat when not in use.
Some vertical wall racks, such as the Steadyrack, have a pivot so you can tilt the bike towards the wall, making it stick out much less.
Racks that hold the bike horizontally need to be long enough to accommodate the width of your bike’s handlebar. Usually the rack will have a hook either side to support the bike by the top tube. Some of these racks are best suited to garage walls; others, such as the Cycloc Solo, are smart enough for posh apartments.
Stands typically hold one or two bikes. There are three basic designs: telescopic ones that wedge between floor and ceiling; ones that lean against a wall; and those that stand independently on a wide base. As you don’t have to do any drilling, they’re all good options for those in rented accommodation. For the sake of stability and ease of use, it’s best to mount heavier bikes at the bottom of these stands and lighter bikes at the top.
The Topeak Dual-Touch Bike Stand is a good example of a telescopic stand that wedges between floor and ceiling. It holds two bikes by default but can hold two more with additional mounts, as long as you mount it far enough away from a wall.
Leaning stands such as the Delta Two Bike Gravity Stand look like they might just fall over. They don’t because the stand’s feet splay out from the wall. The weight of the bike or bikes keeps the stand in position.
Some freestanding stands hold one or two bikes off the floor with height-adjustable mounts on a tripod base. The Topeak Twoup Tuneup Bike Stand is a good example.
Others are smaller and simpler, holding only one bike upright on the floor by its rear wheel. The BikeStow Stance is one such.
You can also use a workstand, normally used for maintenance, to hold one bike. It’s not a bad option if you’ll also be fixing your bike at home but bear in mind that the widely splayed feet of a workstand can take up a lot of room and thus present a trip hazard.
A hoist is a hook-and-pulley system for storing a bike above head height in a room or hallway with a high ceiling. It’sa great way to use dead space and get your bike completely out of the way. Lowering and raising the hoist to access your bike is as a little less convenient than other stands but it’s hardly time consuming. Maximum weight hoisted varies by model. The Delta El Greco Hoist is rated to 100lb (45kg), whereas the Gear Up Up-and-Away hoist has a maximum recommended load of 25kg.