Outdoor bike storage solutions are becoming more important as biking increases in popularity, with cycling enthusiasts choosing two-wheeled options for commutes, errands, and even simple outdoor recreation. While some people have garage space to accommodate their bicycles, others do not have that luxury. Perhaps they don’t have space in their garage, or simply lack access to a garage at all. FBI statistics indicate that over 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year in the US. Millions of Americans are looking for outdoor storage solutions that don’t leave their bikes vulnerable to thieves or vandals.
Is It OK to Store Bikes Outside?
Common concerns about storing bikes outside of the home, besides security, include worries about the cold and other weather conditions. Luckily, the cold itself is highly unlikely to harm your bicycle. If you have electronic devices mounted on your bike, like a cyclocomputer, the battery life can be diminished by cold air. So long as your bike isn’t cycling through cold and warm conditions, it should be alright. Are you familiar with what happens when a pair of glasses enter warm inside air after being out in cold air? They often mist over. The same principle applies to bicycle frames. Unfortunately, bicycles are a lot more susceptible to damage from moisture than glasses are. Choose conditions for your bike that keep it dry and at a steady temperature.
How Can I Cover My Bike Outside?
There are many factors to consider when picking a bike storage option that suits your situation. Everyone has different needs, of course, but generally cyclists are looking for an option that will protect their investment from thieves, the elements, and general dust and grime. Different solutions offer different benefits, but it is rare to find one that will satisfy all the requirements without a premium. If you have made a significant investment in your bicycle, though, or it has particular sentimental value, this premium may well be worth paying.
Bike Storage Ideas
When thinking of a reliable option for bike storage, bike racks often come to mind first. You see them everywhere, so why not by your home? It’s a retro, fun option that you can customize to reflect your family’s personality. You can even make your own bike stand with components as simple as a pair of wood pallets. The advantage of these racks, be they store-bought or rough and ready crafted, is that they are relatively secure. However, they do leave your bike visible, and don’t protect your bike from the weather. For this reason they are often best paired with a bike cover. These cheap, portable, and simple options can be used in all sorts of spaces. They can do a lot to preserve your bike’s dryness and cleanliness, as well as reduce their profile with casual thieves. Even if you do have garage space or space in your home to store your bike between infrequent uses, a cover or vinyl tarpaulin or other option can do a lot to preserve your bike from accumulating dust or dirt while sitting in your garage or home.
Best Bike Storage Sheds
The bike shed is a classic solution to the issue of bike security. Many people simply repurpose their outdoor storage sheds (such as garden sheds) as storage spaces for their beloved bikes. This can sometimes prove challenging for cyclists who own a lot of gardening tools: adult bikes take up a significant amount of space. In these cases, wall or ceiling hooks which allow you to hang your bike vertically can be a solid compromise. Others implement a pulley system with their hooks: the hooks attach to the handlebars and saddle, and then the bike is lifted as the pulley system is wound up. Pulleys have advantages over regular hooks in that they do not require physical strength to raise the bike to the ceiling. However, they are complicated to install and must be screwed into a ceiling joist to be safe. Some homes do not have a suitable area with a joist for bikes to go.
Some retailers offer purpose-designed bicycle storage sheds. These short, narrow spaces are space-saving and versatile. They can be used in side yards or along the side of your house, for a practical combination of security and accessibility. They even keep the weather off your bicycle. Bike sheds come in various options and materials.
Wood: A wooden bike shed can be cheaper and easier to make conform to the aesthetic of your garden. If it is low-profile and inconspicuous compared to the rest of your garden (and those of your neighbors), it will be less likely to be targeted by thieves.
Metal: A metal bike shed is often sturdier than a wooden shed. They’re also fire retardant. Galvanized steel storage units can be obtained for a few hundred dollars, and will not be susceptible to wood rot or termite infestations like wooden bike sheds can be. However, rust can become a problem over time in damper environments.
Plastic: Plastic bike sheds are often the cheapest option. However, they can be flimsy, too. It may be advisable to take additional precautions to ensure your bike is kept safe. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the unit is well ventilated so as not to accumulate condensation, which could harm your bicycle. That said, a big advantage to plastic sheds is that they don’t require any maintenance. No termite-proofing, rust, or rot to concern yourself with.
Bike Storage Tents
Bike tents are a potential compromise between a shed and a rack. As well as generally looking better and being more durable than covers, they are less time-consuming to erect than sheds and can be disassembled and moved easily when required (for example, if you are moving home). They serve to protect your bike from the weather, and keep it clean, but are less effective at protecting it from thieves.
More robust and private than bike racks, but also more expensive, bike lockers are commonly seen in spaces like train and bus stations, especially in bike-friendly cities. For their cost, bike lockers represent one of the best options in terms of protection from thieves, dirt, and weather conditions. They require a moderate amount of space to sit, but can often fit in a porch, patio, driveway, or side yard. Some communal garages may even have parking spaces that allow for objects the size of a bike locker to occupy the far end. A good option if your apartment doesn’t have a garden or balcony space suitable for bike storage.
The Alpen Bike Capsule is a unique, lovingly-engineered bike storage solution that combines the best aspects of many options. The patented circular design combines form and function to encase almost any kind of bicycle— even mountain bikes with wide handlebars. It includes space for cycling accessories, and is made of heavy-duty roto-molded polyethylene, for a virtually indestructible shell. It has a locking mechanism integrated into the structure, to baffle thieves, and offers weatherproof storage, resistant to water and UV alike. Its floor is raised off the ground to prevent moisture seeping in through the soil. Less than 3 feet wide, and 7.5 feet long, it’s a sleek storage solution that serious cyclists will love. The Capsule can also be bolted to the ground for an extra measure of security.