Where do you store your kids' bikes?

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Where do you store your kids' bikes?

Post by psteinx » Fri May 06, 2011 11:11 am

We've got 3 kids, ages 11, 10, 5.

They each have bikes, roughly appropriate to their age or maybe a bit on the small side now (i.e. so bigger bikes are likely on the way.) Those of you with kids these days probably know that in addition to the bikes, there are helmets, and a scooter or two that float around (For convenience, the helmets should stay with the bikes. The scooters are smaller and more storable, but still...)

Also bike styles these days tend toward wide, straight-ish handlebars that are awkward to maneuver through tight spaces (versus my memory of the ten-speed-ish bikes of my adolescence, with narrower handlebars).

They take up a lot of room, and we don't have a good storage solution.

We live in a decent sized suburban house built in the 90s. But we only have a two car garage, and between a minivan, a second vehicle, and the tools, trash cans, and other stuff that goes in our garage, it is quite full. There isn't room to store bikes in there conveniently.

Most of the time, the bikes are stored on our front porch, which is covered, but open in the front. Some rain gets in, but we haven't seen too much rust damage over the years. The main problem is that it looks ugly to have an array of bikes clustered right near our front door, sometimes half-blocking the door, and the space there is tight (the problem will get worse with the next round of bike size upgrades).

I'd like to keep the bikes reasonably accessible for our kids. They're heavily used, especially in nicer weather.

We've got some reasonably accessible, suitable spots for bike storage on the sides of our house, BUT, they're open to the weather. The house and eaves would provide minimal weather shielding.

We could build something better - either a full on shed, or some sort of covered space (open on the sides). But, as I told my wife, there are 3 relevant traits here: Functionality, aesthetics, low (ish) price. We can pick only two of the three. A really nicely integrated space might run $3-5K (maybe more). A cheap shed or covering that I build myself might be under $1K, but would likely look bad and/or have limited functionality (hard to access).

I'm debating just having the kids put the bikes on the side of the house and leave them to the elements. The bikes might rust out in a few years, but replacing kids bikes every ~2 years until they switch to cars might be cheaper than building some elaborate structure. In the winter, I could move the bikes to a relatively inaccessible, but sheltered location.

Anyone else face this problem? Thoughts? How quickly would the bikes rust out if exposed to full rain and such ~8 months out of the year?

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Post by livesoft » Fri May 06, 2011 11:19 am

This is a problem. Our neighbors store their cars in the driveway which makes tons of room in the garage for bikes and junk.

Our garage has room for the cars, but then another 10 ft extension, so we have room for everything including 6 bikes.
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Post by psteinx » Fri May 06, 2011 11:24 am

Would love to have a bigger garage. But not easy/cheap to retrofit an existing garage. :(

Yeah, I know a fairly common solution is to move one or more vehicles out of the garage. But that rates pretty low on my possible solutions list...

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Post by SP-diceman » Fri May 06, 2011 11:25 am

Ours fit in the garage (single car) with the car, but that’s all we had in the garage.
(I’m guessing your garage is full of other non-bike stuff)

Id probably look into a shed rather than keep them outside.


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Post by psteinx » Fri May 06, 2011 11:29 am

The minivan fills up one side of the garage pretty completely (yes, there are tools and bric-brac on the walls, but even removing them wouldn't make room for 3 bikes to fit easily).

The other side has a smaller vehicle. But we store 2 trash cans and a recycling bin, plus a smallish shelf unit and a few other things there. Removing the trash cans might allow the bikes to fit there, but then we've merely shifted to a trash can storage problem...

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Post by letseatpaste » Fri May 06, 2011 11:37 am

To a kid, their bike is their car. Help them learn to keep their own stuff in nice condition and not left to rot outside. It's somewhat of a safety hazard, too. Rusty chains will seize up and break or skip, and brake pads will deteriorate, spokes become non-adjustable, etc... I'd consider building/buying a shed and moving some of the tools and lawn stuff out there, or decluttering/organizing and making space.

For winter time you can install hooks at the ceiling so they would hang over the hood area of your car. You can also hang a bike with one hook in the front wheel with the bike hanging vertically near the wall, but then you'd probably have to be there to take it down and put it away for them whenever they want to ride. It's a nice way to get them off the floor and not occupy so much floor space. You might be able to put hooks on the bottom of a shelf and then they'd be lower down so the kids could hang the bikes by themselves.

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Post by psteinx » Fri May 06, 2011 11:42 am

Any kind of scenario that involves my kids attempting to wrestle bikes on and off hooks in the garage is unrealistic. The bikes are somewhat heavy, the kids small and not especially strong, and the garage is very tight. They might be able to do it successfully sometimes, but accidents where a bike would fall onto a kid, a vehicle, or something else seem too likely for my comfort.

I agree that, to a kid, bikes are roughly analogous to a car for an adult. That's why I want them to have bikes and want the bikes to be accessible.

I looked a bit at bike covers on the internet, but that may not be ideal - outdoor condensation may create problems. Then again, the bikes are mostly outdoors now, though the fact that they are uncovered on a porch may allow morning dew to clear up faster.

EDIT - and again, the only things in the garage right now that could be removed so as to create enough room for easy bike storage are the vehicles and the trash cans/recycling container. Moving those out is not a good solution for me.

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Post by epilnk » Fri May 06, 2011 11:54 am

You keep your cars in the garage? How on earth do you make room? Neither of our cars has ever crossed the threshold of a garage; I did clear enough space for one car a few years ago but it filled up almost immediately.

Our garage early this year: My husband recently replaced his too-small bike with one that doesn't wreck his knees and I kept my broken down beater, so we now have two loaners for guests. My growing boys each got a new bike this year and the outgrown bikes are still in the garage, as is the old toddler bike. If you include the two trail-a-bikes that were our primary transportation before the boys could keep up with a decent pace, that made 11 bicycles for a family of 4!

But our bottom line is that the bicycles need to be garaged. The cars are fine in the driveway.

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Post by alec » Fri May 06, 2011 11:57 am

A few years ago, we went to Home Depot, bought a shed for a couple hundred bucks, and put it together in 2 hrs. It looks perfectly fine on the side/back of our house. I'm sure it looks a whole lot better/neater than having the bikes on the porch or side of the house. Most people in the neighborhood have some shed like thing near the back of their back yard, so it's not that noticeable.
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Post by mikepru » Fri May 06, 2011 11:58 am

I use the overhead bike holders on a pulley system with a rope and a camcleat. Works pretty easily. All the bike stores have them. Target etc probably also have them.


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Post by verbose » Fri May 06, 2011 12:13 pm

I vote to move the trash cans out. Our setup is similar to yours: 2-car garage, minivan, small car, bikes (2 kids), trash cans.

Trash cans are outside. Currently, they live on our "patio" (the 10 x 10 concrete pad that came with our house but isn't large enough to call a patio). We will build them an enclosure. Easy to build, just walls and doors.

I wouldn't have cans in garage anyway. They stink.

The problem I have with the bikes is they fall over and slip under the car wheels. Kids are 9 and 3, they have no idea how to fit bikes nicely.

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Post by mikepru » Fri May 06, 2011 1:03 pm

At our lake cottage I got a bike stand for 4 bikes. It held them upright, didn't take up much space. Not too pricey.

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Post by cyclegirl » Fri May 06, 2011 1:17 pm

We have 5 bikes and all hang on the walls of our garage. Homedepot has some great supplies that you can install into the walls and they're a lot cheaper then at the bike stores.

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Post by Jake46 » Fri May 06, 2011 1:38 pm

mikepru wrote:I use the overhead bike holders on a pulley system with a rope and a camcleat. Works pretty easily. All the bike stores have them. Target etc probably also have them.

We installed a pulley system a few months ago. Works great. My daughter has no problem raising & lowering her bike. Got it at Lowe 's.

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Post by psteinx » Fri May 06, 2011 2:06 pm

mikepru - At the lake cottage, are the bikes exposed to the elements all/most of the time, and if so, how do they hold up?

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Post by FrugalInvestor » Fri May 06, 2011 2:12 pm

There is nothing like a nice shed to relieve garage clutter and get all the stuff out of the garage that really shouldn't be there anyway (like power equipment and associated fuels, gardening implements, lawn chemicals, etc.). A well designed and built shed will be expensive but in my experience it will pay for itself many times over in convenience and safety.
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Post by gkaplan » Fri May 06, 2011 2:28 pm

Move the trash cans outside.

Hang the bikes high.

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Post by mikepru » Fri May 06, 2011 3:00 pm

The bike stand was kinda like the old-fashioned ones at schools and parks. Only it held only 4 bikes. The kind you pushed the front tire into the metal and it held upright. Usually we left it under the porch overhang, so it wasn't rained on. Google bike stand and look around a little. You'll see what I mean.


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Post by Random Musings » Fri May 06, 2011 3:54 pm

I hang my bikes. That empty space up high sure comes in handy.


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