Whether you are an avid year-round bike rider or just enjoy riding seasonally, storing your bike in the garage is a great way to protect it from the elements. It also protects your bike against theft.
Storing a bike in the garage is preferable to keeping it outside, provided that you have enough space available. If space is limited you can install a hook, shelf, or rack hanging system to get it off the floor and out of the way. There are several affordable options for bike hanging shelves and hooks available.
The following tips will help you determine which mounting system is best for your bike, or multiple bikes, as well as the proper way to hang them.
The Reasons You Should Hang You Bicycle in Garage
There is one reason why you should hang your bicycle in the garage: protection. Bikes come in all shapes and sizes, colors, speeds, and price tags. Sometimes that price tag is pretty hefty. Some racing bikes can go for as much at 15 grand. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the models you can pick up at your local bike shop for at little as $100. You can also find used bikes for much less than that.
Bikes, like cars, lose value fast. Regardless of the street value, most people want to protect their bikes from two things: theft and the elements.
Protection from Bike Theft
Bike thieves are rampant in every city and town. A high-quality bike fetches a good price and it’s not unusual for a stolen bike to be listed for sale on Craigslist within hours of the theft. Whether your bike was an expensive purchase or it just has sentimental value to you, you’ll want to keep it safe from thieves.
There are two types of bike thieves: the opportunist and the pro. The opportunist will steal an unlocked bike that has been left temporarily unattended. They may not know what its value is and they may not even be interested in selling it. You’ve just made it too easy for them to pass up.
The pro, on the other hand, knows the value of bikes and how to get them fast. This type of bike thief can get through locks by using hacksaws, crowbars, and hammers. They’re pretty determined, so there’s no reason you should tempt them by chaining your bike to a tree in the backyard or locking it to your back porch.
Keeping your bike in a locked garage is the only way to protect your bike from any thief. In addition to bike many people keep valuable tools in their garage, along with their cars, of course. Having a security system including motion-detecting lights and an alarm is also advisable.
Protection from the Elements
The weather can do real damage to bikes. It’s hard enough when we ride them on rough roads and streets filled with potholes. If you are a year-round bike rider, you are also subjecting your bike to harsh elements like snow and rain and plenty of mud and dirt. If you live in the Midwestern part of the United States, road salt is also an issue which is the same thing that causes cars to rust out much quicker than they do in the southern parts of the country.
Storing your bike outside causes the components to degrade pretty fast. A new bike may have a better chance initially, but if the bike is left in areas of high humidity or with lots of rain or snow, things will corrode quickly. Even leaving a bike out in the rain for as little as one week left out in will start showing signs of damage. The chain, in particular, will start to rust which you may not even notice at first. Any plastic or rubber components will weaken or crack. Bolts and other hardware will seize up and you definitely do not want wet, squeaky brakes to become an issue.
Even if you live in an area with perpetually sunny and dry weather, there is potential for damage. In the bright sun your bike’s colors will start to fade and plastic components may start cracking.
Don’t Put Your Bicycle Away Wet
If you keep your bike in the garage to protect it from rain, snow, or too much sun, you obviously care about protecting it. Putting your bicycle away wet after a ride in the rain is not protecting it. Here are a few things you can do to clean up your bike before you store it in the garage.
Wipe it Down
Wipe down your bike with a clean, dry towel. You should make a habit of this every time you take it out. It will make your bike last longer. Make sure to dry, not just the frame, but all components. If the bike is really filthy, you can fill up a bucket with warm water, add a little dish soap, and really go to work. May sure to get under the saddle and under the front fork where the wheel kicks up a lot of dirt. Remove the wheels to do a really thorough job.
Clean the Wheels
Dry each wheel with a dry cloth or sponge them down with soapy water to remove oil and dirt. Clean the rims and spokes, hubs, and tires. Removing the wheels will make this job easier.
Clean the Brakes
Remove the wheels and clean the brake calipers and pads. You can use warm soapy water, but there are also brake cleaners available that will help break down dirt. Dry them thoroughly before putting the wheels back on.
Clean the Drivetrain
Cleaning the drivetrain helps prevent rust. An old toothbrush and some warm soapy water should do the trick, but you can also purchase and use a degreaser for extra dirty drivetrains. Apply lubricant after cleaning.
Bike Storage Considerations
You may recognize the need to store your bike in the garage, but there may not be enough room in it to store a bike, much less anything else. Ideally, you would have enough room to park the bike using the kickstand or by leaning it up against the wall. If you don’t have the luxury of space, one space-saving way to store a bike in the garage is to hang it by a hook from the ceiling or on a rack mounted on the wall.
When considering whether to hang your bike in the garage to keep it safe from bike thieves and the elements, there are a few things to consider.
If you are like most people you use your garage for much more than car storage. In fact, some people have so much stuff in their garages they can no longer park their cars in them at all. If you don’t have enough space to park them in an area where they are easily accessible, hanging them may be the best option. There are a variety of bike hanging systems that can be purchased. Depending on the type of walls or ceiling beams available you can use hooks, racks, or shelves.
The weight of your bike is a big factor in determining what type of hook or rack to use. A simple hook may be plenty strong to hold a lightweight racing bike. For mountain bikes a sturdier shelf may be required. The type of wall that you’d like to use to hang the bike is also important. If there are studs availed to attach mounting hardware, that makes things easier.
If you are storing one or more expensive bicycles in the garage, security becomes a concern. Obviously, you’ll want secure locks on doors and windows, but it’s also a good idea to hang bikes in an area away from windows where they won’t be visible for peering eyes. Security cameras and lighting will also deter thieves from getting near the garage and your bikes. Motion detecting lights and alarm systems are good deterrents.
The size of the bike wheels is also an important consideration. If the wheels are small, like on a child’s bike, it may be too much of a reach for them or even an adult to place on or off a hook. A rack may be a better option for bikes with smaller wheels. Measure the wheel before you purchase a rack to make sure it will work with your bike.
Wall and Floor Protection
You may not care much about the condition of the walls or floor of your garage. If you have a newer garage you may want to protect it. Bikes don’t leak oil like cars do, but they do get dirty. After you’ve ridden them in the rain they will drip when hanging. There are racks available with molded plastic the wheels fit into. This may prevent some of the dripping. To protect walls, make sure to install hardware that allows for hanging the bike far enough away from the wall to avoid making scuff marks. Additionally, you can place plastic sheeting or some type of drip tray under the bike to protect the floor. Your garage may have a floor drain which is great for hosing down the floor and getting rid of dirt and grime.
Ways To Hang A Bike By A Hook
Hanging a bike by a hook is not difficult and it may be the cheapest and quickest way to install a hanging system. You can purchase an S hook online or from your local hardware store. Make sure to get one that is thick and durable enough to support the weight of the bike. Hooks are available with a vinyl coating that will minimize the metal-on-metal friction when the rim is placed on the hook.
You can install one hook and hang the bike by one wheel or you can install one hook for each wheel and hang it upside down. Some people feel that hanging the bike upside down puts too much pressure on the wheel rims. It definitely does add pressure, but hanging the bike on one hook would put even more pressure on a single tire rim. You may find yourself limited by space and not have many options for hanging your bike by a hook.
Types of Bike Storage Racks
A simple S hook with a rubberized coating is probably the easiest type of storage, but racks and shelves work well too. A shelf distributes the weight of the bike more evenly than a hook will. Check with your local bike shop or go online to find the best deal on sturdy bike storage racks.
If you have just a single bike to store consider a single bike shelf. A folding bike shelf is even more space-conscious because it folds back toward the wall keeping the bike out of the way when trying to get to the car or other equipment. So models of bike shelves have hooks for hanging bike gear and helmets. It’s very convenient to have all your gear in one place.
If both your partner and yourself, or you and a roommate need garage bike storage, consider a double bike shelf solution. It works the same as the single bike shelf only it can accommodate a second. For bike collectors or for families with multiple bikes to store, you can use multiple shelving if you have enough space.
Is Hanging Your Bike Bad?
In most cases, no, but it does depend on a few things. First of all, how easy is it to get the bike on and off the hook. If you don’t have easy access you risk dropping the bike and possibly injuring yourself in the process.
If you don’t have the right hook for the wall or to support the weight of the bike you can also cause damage to both. If your rack or hook is installed correctly and the wall can support their weight, then you should be fine.
It also depends on the way you hang the bike. I ideally you would have enough room to mount the bike horizontally with the hooks supporting two points on the frame. In some cases, people only have the space in their garages to hang the bike vertically. This means that all the bike’s weight will rest on the rim of one of the tires. Over time this can cause damage to the rim of the wheel. Try to avoid this if possible.
If your bike has a hydraulic braking system, it’s fine to hang upright, but you do not want to hang it upside down or by a single tire on one hook. With this type of system the air goes to the caliper in the breaks which causes them to not function properly.
Is it OK to Hang a Bike Upside Down?
It is OK to hang your bike upside down. Ideally, if you ride every day or at least every week, the bike is getting used enough. It would not be a good idea to store the park for the course of a winter in this position, but it won’t cause much damage.
If you have an expensive racing bike and you’re concerned then you should consider a bike shelf. Also for bicycles with hydraulic brakes you want to avoid hanging them upside down as the air will go directly to the brake caliper which may cause issues.
How Do You Hang a Bike on a Concrete Wall?
Hanging a bike from a concrete wall requires a little extra effort. You need a hook that is sturdy enough to penetrate the concrete. You will also need a drill with a strong drill bit to make the initial hole in the concrete wall. Just as you would when inserting hooks into wood studs, you’ll need to decide whether to use a single hook or two hooks. For wall mounts, there are options for a single or double bike shelf system.
To hang a wall-mount bike rack on a concrete wall, follow these steps:
- Choose your wall mount — Pick a style of bike mount, either horizontal or vertical. A horizontal rack allows you to hang the bike flat against the wall. A vertical mount saves more space in the garage.
- Measure your bike — If you want to hang the bike vertically, measure the length of the bike. For horizontal hanging, measure the height.
- Measure off wall space — Find an area in the garage that will accommodate your hanging bike either vertically or horizontally. Measure off the appropriate space. Hold the bike up to the desired height to make sure it will be easy for you to take the bike on and off the rack.
- Drill screw holes — Mark off the screw holes on the wall with a pencil, then use a drill with a strong drill bit that will penetrate concrete. Drill deep enough into the wall to fit the length of the screw.
- Place wall anchor — Insert the wall anchor into the concrete wall.
- Install up rack mount — Line up and place the rack mounting hardware over the holes and screw in the screws until tight.
- Place rack — Place the rack hardware on the mount.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare