Taken and adapted from The Lothian Cycle Campaign in Scotland.
Choosing a Bike with Storage in Mind
If you don’t already own a bike, think carefully before buying about what type might best meet your needs, bearing in mind where it will be kept as well as what it’s for. If you’re likely to need to carry it upstairs to your flat, it might be worth paying a bit extra for something more light-weight. If you’re leaving it elsewhere, bear in mind that you will then have to invest in good quality security devices.
Folding bikes might suit if ground-level storage is a problem. Bromptons are probably the best-known, though there is an ever-expanding selection of folders on the market now. These can be extremely useful for commuting to work or study (especially if you might also need to jump on the bus or train too), as they store compactly as well as being easily portable when folded. They’re also handy for rail- or bus-based cycling weekends and holidays.
Keeping a Bike in an Apartment
Whilst taking a bike up and down stairs is not ideal, in-flat storage should at least offer securer storage, and a bit of organisation can help. Various space-saving devices can make in-flat bike storage tidier and easier, including hooks, brackets and ceiling pulleys/hoists to hang bikes up out of the way. Typically these are relatively cheap to buy, and fairly straightforward to install using a bit of DIY common-sense (or a local handy-man), though pulley/hoist systems can be trickier - make certain that fixtures are securely attached to joists, beams etc. Some planning and organisation might mean you can fit more bikes than you’d think into any given space, e.g. by having two wall-brackets, one above the other. In addition to bike shops, DIY or hardware stores can be cost-effective sources of fixings. There are literally hundreds of storage solutions available and prices can vary considerably.
Things to consider include: bike weight and wall-quality (follow manufacturers’ advice); protection for wall/floors from bike dirt, especially in wet weather; and what clearance space you need to move around the bike (e.g. handlebars) or to allow doors to open adequately if bikes are to be stored behind one. Some brackets fold flat against the wall when not in use. If you’re a tenant, you may need to seek permission from your landlord if you intend to fix equipment to the walls or ceilings of your flat. Other options might be more straightforward, e.g. free-standing bike racks.
Storing Bikes Outside
First identify possible spaces – e.g., in shared back-greens (or possibly frontage), or coal cellars / sheds. Next, talk to fellow residents and neighbours about using these for bike storage. Various options might be considered
- Hoops or bars attached (securely) to external walls, to which to lock bikes and improve security.
- Bike racks such as Sheffield stands, if appropriate space (ideally hard-standing).
- Lockers and sheds, though bear in mind cost and the various consents required .
An imperfect bike storage solution may still represent a significant improvement and help resolve conflicts over using space, especially if implemented together with some of the other practical suggestions above.
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