During the wet and windy night, while you are tucked up warm in bed, do you spare a thought for your bike, wherever it is in these harsh wintery conditions?
I do get that indoor space can sometimes be hard to come by. Stashing your bike in the hallway simply means getting your clothes, shopping or bag caught on the handlebars 50% of the time you pass by. Even those who have space may find that kids, clients or family pets aren’t very compatible with indoor bike storage. Then there are those who live in a unit, where getting your bike up and down the stairs or into a lift is an incredible inconvenience, sure it might only weigh seven kilos but it’s an awkward seven kilos. Dwelling hassles aside keeping your bike inside is the best place for it if you want it to last longer and work efficiently for you.
If your bike is high end and newer (as in less than 10-years-old) it’s likely to be pretty durable for short outside stints of one to two days, especially if it’s protected from direct sunlight, rain and humidity under a veranda, carport or similar roofing. This is due to good quality paint seals, which help to keep moisture out of headsets, hubs and various parts so they won’t corrode.
It won’t take long though for things to take a turn. Just a week outside in bad weather will be enough to see signs of corrosion and weather wear on your bike.
If your bike is somewhat sheltered and the weather is good (warm and dry) it might take as long as 3-4 months of outside storage for corrosion to be evident. If your bike is less sheltered and does get wet from rain, dew or if you live in an especially humid environment you may notice the effects of corrosion more quickly, especially if your bike is older or in the budget range.
I’ve seen some people get pretty creative when it comes to bike storage solutions and I’ve had my fair share of competitive riding to see and do some crazy things when it comes to fitting a time trial bike into a tiny hotel room. Of course, the majority of cyclists have a terrible habit of collecting bikes so three at any given time is not unusual and storing three bikes can get pretty challenging. One person’s unique way around this is using a shipping container to house his bike collection (which includes vintage, BMX and elite road bikes). The container was fully lit, had bike brackets and a full workshop, it’s a fantastic idea but not everyone has room for a shipping container.
Every home is different and will have nooks and ‘study areas’ you can tuck a bike into. If you have multiple bikes you’ll probably want to spread them out into different rooms of the house. Some ways to save space inside include using a vertical hanging or clip system, ceiling bike pulley or small-space gravity rack. You can also stash your bike inside a cupboard if you don’t have many clothes.
Don’t want to hide your bike? A bike mounted on a wall really doesn’t take up more space than a large artwork and is a great conversation starter.
Check out our All Torque Podcast episode with Andrew and Letti Melbz where they share their latest ideas on bike storage through their company Venture Pod Australia!
If you really can’t get your bike/s inside there are still some ways you can help reduce weather damage and keep your bike in great condition.
These simple tents are roomy enough to stand up in and have the added bonus of hiding your bike from plain view, although it won’t deter thieves who know what they are looking for so it’s a better option for private spaces like balconies and back porch areas.
If you don’t have a ready structure, like a carport or shed to protect your bike then put together your own using tarp. This is one you can do easily, with little cost and you won’t need your landlord’s permission, as there are no permanent fixtures. Rather than place a tarp over the bike, like a car cover, suspend it over your bike to allow air to move and prevent moister build up.
Drying your bike properly after a clean and applying an extra layer of grease to the seals, plastic cables, bolt heads and bolt threads will also help protect your bike from moisture damage.
Rust takes some time to do real damage so you may be able to bring your bike parts back from the brink with a good oiling if the rust hasn’t been there too long.
While it is possible to leave your bike outside in the rain for a day or two if you really need to, anything longer than that will start to have a big impact on parts that could be costly if you don’t address the issues quickly.
If you have creative storage solutions for your bike we’d love know about it so comment below.
As always, take good care of yourself and your bike out there so you can love your ride longer, that’s freedom!