Urban Cycling Solutions, Part 1
A friend of mine often says, “Ride a bike, change your life.”
I know first-hand the power of making the switch from being a commuter to a bus passenger to becoming a cycling/walking-only lifestyler, and as part of Build Direct’s green initiative, we’d love to see more cars parked, and more people changing their lives through bikes.
To serious cyclists, it’s disheartening to see someone invest in a bike then haphazardly toss it on a balcony or lock it up under the stairs or in the carport.
Unfortunately, many urban cyclists feel forced to store their bikes on their balconies. No matter what the climate is — moist air or hot, dry sunlight — leaving a bike outside 24/7 is damaging long-term to that poor bike, and will demand more time (and money) spent to maintain it.
But cycling in cities makes sense! Bikes get further than cars, faster, because they can go around peskytraffic snafus. Running errands never got easier, with a couple saddle bags and a “you ain’t stealin’ me!” quality bike lock.
The lack of “bike storage” shouldn’t deter you from making this brilliant lifestyle change that’ll benefit both your backside while putting thousands of dollars back in your bank account.
Say what? Get exercise and commuting done at the same time, save money, AND never get stuck in a traffic jam again? Sweet! I KNOW.
So the first step is in accepting your space’s limitations. All you really need is one good wall as a safe, secure place to hang or mount your bike in order to become the next super-urban cyclist, saving the planet two wheels at a time.
Instead of being flummoxed at the weirdness of having a bike in your living room or den, start thinking of your bike as art. Or maybe even a lifestyle manifesto. Hanging a bike on your wall says “I not only am awesome and bike-y, but I can lift things too.” There’s all kinds of hipster cred that only a visit to the bike shop can deliver.
Don’t worry, grasshopper. There are so many buyable solutions for bike storage that it boggles the mind. It’s a good thing that the design capital of the world is also the cycling hub of the world. Here’s to Holland, Germany, and Denmark, cranking out stylish solutions.
A Matter Of Perspective
So now you’ve got your perspective hat on and you’re looking at your bike as art. On the wall it will go. What angle or height can you comfortably lift your bike to? That’s a big factor in the solution you choose. No sense getting a ceiling hook if you’re a 5’2 woman who’ll need a boost just to get the bike there, right?
Obviously it needs to be securely anchored, so wall stud location means everything. Figure out where all your studs are, consider the install solution, and then do a rough sketch of what all the possible installation areas might be.
It Ain’t All About The Bike
No one just magically rides a bike, or if they do, they have a bike shop to which they’re dedicated. Most serious cyclists amass tools, cleaning equipment, spare parts, extra bike tires, tubes, extra bikes, and lots of funky clothing and gear, some of which arrives home pretty wet on occasion.
Taking care of your bike at home can save you hundreds of dollars a year, since more than 1,250 miles a year is when you should get into a tuneup every six months, but cleaning the chain regularly doesn’t take long and can really offset that.
If you can’t do work outside or in a garage, you might need apartment space where you can do light work without leaving greasy damage. Consider industrial garage rubber mats for the floor under your storage/work area. If a mat’s 3 feet wide, 6-or-more feet long, and grooved, it’ll catch rain-water drips, be okay to clean, run the length of your bike, provide a place to hang wet clothes, while protecting your floor. A sturdy backsplash going 3 feet up the wall can also ensure you protect your home.
Some shelving for tools, parts, and repair guides, along with hooks for gear, helmet, shoes, and more, will make maintaining your bike a breeze.
Hung-up On Hang-ups
Leaning your bike over almost always results in it falling. One day, somehow, it’s gonna happen. Slip, boom. “Oh, look at the scratch on the wall, the new grooves from sprockets on my nice hardwood floor. Sure wish I mounted that bike!” Worse, you could bend the tire or the derailleur, which can get costly in the shop.
Other pluses to mounting your bike include it drying quicker, more evenly, which is better for its long-term life, and also, it means your tires are less likely to go flat if you go a while between riding.
If you go with a lower-level mount, you can probably do some tuning up while it’s just hangin’ out, instead of having to get a floor stand for doing the work, which is likely what you’ll need if you hang that puppy up high. Think about mounts that’ll allow you to use it for maintenance, without being ugly.
Here’s a DIY solution with a few hardware shop parts that can do the trick at any height you like. Well done, MiniPenny Blog!
Stay tuned. Next time, I’ll have a few bike storage solutions for urban small spaces, including DIY projects.