bicycle storage options for the space-challenged

Having acquired her new bicycle, Genia Blaser, the subject of our Bike Month series for beginning cyclists, zeroed in immediately on a key question: When space is limited — as it is in the majority of NYC dwellings — where does a bicycle fit in?

By Genevieve Walker

It’s the sweeping views, the staggeringly tall buildings, the overwhelming rivers of people that define New York City’s landscape. But as inhabitants of the city, we are probably even more familiar with the opposite of its epic attributes: tiny living spaces.  Like the weather, talking about space is one of those conversations we bond over.

There are elevators to cram into, subway stairs to navigate, lines in the grocery that require shopping while waiting. Though it is often taken for granted, or goes unacknowledged, cyclists are the beneficiaries of a brief reprieve from this space constraint as we enjoy the singular freedom of navigating the streets on two wheels.

But bikes pose their own space problems: How do you store something around five feet long and about three feet high, that is potentially dirty and definitely greasy? It makes this wonderful piece of machinery sound like a horrible house guest. But we’re just reducing it to the facts for effect.

Luckily, there are many solutions to the bike storage quandary ––often pretty, maybe even fun, and potentially elegant for the contemporary apartment.

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Above: We’ve pinned a collection of bike storage options at velojoy’s Pinterest. Follow us!

Which Option is Right for Your Bike?

    • Do you want to build up, or build out? (More on this below.)
    • Does the height of your ceilings make them a good storage candidate?
    • Is there some overlooked place in your building or house that might be a good storage spot?

Because the design of bikes varies, some home storage systems will work for your bike, and some just won’t. For example, beautiful Dutch-style bikes, with their swooping step-through frames, cannot be attached to the sleek wall mounts meant to hold a horizontal top tube. Maybe your bike is particularly heavy. If so, scouting hallways and courtyards for a storage options may make more sense than trying to hoist a bike to your ceiling. And, if simply parking your bike in the living room is the only option, it pays to seek out the spot where it looks best and won’t be in the way.

Home Bike Storage Systems

Ceiling mounts: With high ceilings, a great way to deal with bike bulk is to mount it up high. Pulley systems that attach to the ceiling allow you to smoothly hoist a bike off the floor.

Wall Mounts: The geometry of a road bike lends itself to a wall mount. A recent wave of innovative products makes this the most alluring category. Whether you choose a horizontal or vertical mounting option, what you need to consider is whether or not you possess, 1) a wall with accessible beams or studs (to drill into) and 2) the strength to lift and guide the bicycle onto the mount.

Racks: There are also clever rack solutions that come pre-made and ready to hold bikes. These are often free-standing and require a good deal of space. The benefit is that they can generally hold more than one bike, so if you have adequate wall and floor space this might be the option for you.

Get Creative

Use the bike’s design to your advantage. If you’re crafty, go to the hardware store and buy a large hook that can be screwed into the ceiling––now you can hang a bike by its wheel. And of course, you can always roll your bike into your room, lean it against a wall, and gaze lovingly at it.

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