I ride a bike for transport, to get about town. In the small busy town where I live it is quite simply the quickest way of getting around.
I also ride a bike to keep fit.
So having a covered space that is the right size, conveniently located and secure for mine and my families bikes is important. This space is called the bicycle storage shed.
The basic planning dimensions for a single bike are 1.8m long x 1.07m high x0.56m wide, as in the picture below.
Bicycle Storage Dimensions
However the fun begins when you need to store more than one bike. In a family of five we have 6 or 7 bikes (depending on the time of year!). I like it to be as convenient and as easy as possible for everyone to get to their bike. It is no fun having to move 5 bikes out of the way before you go on a 10 minute journey. So getting a bike shed of the right size to enable easy access is important.
The simplest bike storage arrangement is to simply line the bikes up, side by side, on level ground. Allowing a 25mm gap either side of the handlebar ends for a bit of tolerance that puts the bikes at 610mm centres. It is quite nice as you can walk alongside the bike to remove it from the line.
Storing bikes side by side
But what if you are a bit pushed for space?
The limiting factor for the first arrangement was the width of the bike handlebars. But the widest part of a bike, apart from the handlebars, is the pedals. So if you lift the front wheel of every-other bike up in the air (using a small ramp) the handlebars don't clash. And the bikes can be stored 310mm apart.
Storing bikes at closer centres
To achieve this neat trick you will need to build a small ramp to lift the front wheel of the bike up by 25cm. This stops the brake levers and brake cables getting tangled and also allows for the drop handle bars on touring/race bikes.
Ramp for lifting front wheel
You also need to make sure that there is some storage for:
Keeping everything in one place makes it easy for a quick get away. Without searching for mislaid locks, gloves etc. just before you leave the house.
You might also want to consider if you are going to need covered space for bike maintenance. Or if you will take your chances and fix tyres, brake pads etc. when the weather is good. The maintenance space could be within the shed itself. Or you could make a covered area outside the shed to protect your bike maintenance efforts from the worst of the elements.
Your bikes might also have to share some space with garden tools and the lawnmower.
Let's have a look at a few ways that these arrangements translate into the size of shed that you need.
Bike storage cabinets
These cabinets often seem to me to be a bit tight on space. A standard size of about 2.2x1.0m is quoted for storing up to four bikes. However this means that all four bikes are leaned up one against the other. This is fine if your bike is top of the pile or nearest the door. But not so great if you have to move three bikes out of the way before you leave and then put them back before locking the door.
I have seen these in both timber and steel. If I had to have a bicycle storage shed of this type then it would be a secure metal one.
Bike storage cabinet
Double ended shed
One arrangement that I have found useful is to have a long thin bike shed with a door at each end. We can then store the four family bikes quite easily in a narrow passageway down the side of the house. There is a raised box in the middle so that two of the bikes have their front wheel higher than the other two. This prevents the handlebars from clashing and getting tangled.
All bikes are easily accessibly and there is plenty of space for storing helmets, bags etc on hooks up by the eaves. I have a separate shed for my bike tools and other bikes.
Double ended shed (I have removed the side wall for clarity so that you can see inside)
Shed with double doors
This shed is very efficient on space and uses the arrangement with the front wheel of every other front wheel raised up. Having double doors means that the bikes can be taken straight out of the shed without having to 'wiggle' it around the dead space at the side of a single door.
Double door shed - storing 4 bikes
It is great to have all of these options but the shed needs to be in the right place
As well as it being easy to get the bike out, a bike shed needs to be conveniently located near the front door. If biking is to be as quick or quicker than your car.
Perhaps have a small storage 'bike cabinet' near the front door for the more frequent bike users in the family. The less frequently used bikes in the 'fleet' can be kept in a bike storage shed in the secure back garden.
Security around bikes is very subjective and personal. It depends very much on the neighbourhood you live in and also the value of your bike(s). No one is going to try too hard to steal my old Ridgeback hybrid bike. But my neighbours £3000 Pinarello is almost interesting to me!
The first layer of security is keeping the bikes in a secure garden and out of sight from passers by. This in itself might be enough.
The second layer of security is to keep the bike inside a locked bicycle storage shed. I have covered the many methods of securing your shed whilst maintaining convenience on this page about shed door locks.
The final layer is to secure the bike to an immovable object inside the locked shed. The most secure method is to cast a ground anchor into a concrete shed base or into a concrete pad beneath a timber shed floor. However if your shed isn't built on a concrete base this wont be possible. For this reason I have developed the Shed Equipment Anchor which enables you to securely fasten a heavy steel bracket so that you can fix your bike to the frame of the shed.
The Shed Equipment Anchor used with a D lock to secure a bike to the shed wall
These levels of security should be more than enough to put off all but the most determined thief. However if your bike is stolen, there should be a significant trail of evidence to convince your house insurance company to pay out for your loss. Though I realise it wont ever make up for the loss of a treasured possession!
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