Monday, May 23, 2016

Bike Storage in a Small Space: Go Vertical

Four bikes hung vertically, inside 44" of horizontal space

I have a space set aside for bike storage, which also encloses some metal shelves that hold most of the parts and stuff. Fitting the bikes into the space is not the challenge, not in itself. It's possible to fit more than this just by stacking them into a great pile, for example. But the goal is to store them reasonably orderly, so they don't scratch themselves all up, and, more importantly, so that I don't have to dig through to get one particular one out.

The way that I had them previously required me to take most of them out of the space if I wanted to get to the one in the back, or hanging on the wall. What I was looking for, though, was a way to fit all the bikes into the space in an orderly way that also permitted easy access to any of them. Especially so that the girls could get at their bikes without relying on me. When I saw the Rubbermaid Fast Track and the vertical bike hook, I knew it had potential.

Tape measure in hand, I went back there and began to try to figure out how many I could hang vertically on the wall inside the 44" between the steel shelves and the mountain bike hanging on the wall. The handlebars seemed to be the limiting factor, until I realized that hanging the bikes up-down-up-down meant I could probably fit four in the allotted space. That would be enough, if they all actually fit. I found in the past that bicycles, with their slightly odd shape and protruding parts, sometimes defy simple measuring and planning, with a pedal sticking here, a brake lever sticking there, you can't quite be sure until you try. So I did.

The Rubbermaid Fast Track was easy to hang on the block wall. The first hole I drilled was going into the block slowly, frustratingly slowly, when I realized that the bit was worn out. So I grabbed a fresh masonry bit, which sped up the hole-making considerably. Mounting and leveling the rack with one set of hands, on the fly, was interesting, and went OK. The problem I've run into before with making permanent 1/4" holes in masonry for anchors is that the rough surface undoes all efforts at aligning the bit with the marks that you make, even if you punch a starter. I'm sure there's a right way to do it, but I never get the kind of precision I would like with just marking. Instead, I end up doing something like drill the center hole, mount the rack on it using it as a registration for the other holes, then re-mark the holes on either end, then rely on the slop factor of the plastic anchors along with any extra room provided by the mounting holes to permit all six screws to go in somewhat effectively. It worked. It wasn't too ugly. No stripped screws or re-dos. That rack's not going anywhere.

Just in case, I did position the steel security cable such that it could catch and hold the bikes if the rack pulled out. I don't think it will, but I like having a backup.

The Rubbermaid vertical bike hooks are nice because they are easily and infinitely moveable along the track to let me make the most out of the available space. They also seem stout. I realize that a 2x4 and those screw-in hooks could accomplish something similar, although I like the way this looks, and I appreciate the versatility and easy adjustment of position.

I probably should have come up with the vertical hanging solution a long time ago. I think part of the delay was a reluctance which arose from some kind of concern about the hooks hurting the wheels. Then I read the thing that explained that the force of a bike hanging from the wheel alone is significantly less than the force I put on the wheel when I ride it. Can't believe I didn't realize that sooner. Worry has a way of concealing the obvious truth which would undo it, I guess.

The Rubbermaid Fast Track is a handy system, with lots of different options for mounting a variety of stuff. If/when I execute the garage or shed project, I could see using it on the walls for organization. It's flexible and handy. I didn't really set out to write a review, but in case this reads like one, be advised that I purchased this myself, and received no incentives to write it.



  1. If some of the bikes are not used frequently, a ceiling-mounted pulley restores that wall space to the Park bike stand.

    1. In this odd little nook the ceiling is about 6'6" so no room for hoisting. But when that garage gets built, boy howdy there's gonna be some major hoisting going on.

  2. Well done! I need to get organized... Hopefully this post will inspire me... Thanks.

  3. Thanks, I'm in the same situation and thought about this solution, so I'll explore it for my garage. BTW, if you don't have a hammer drill, it is well worth the money for drilling into masonry. Makes it a snap. I hung some trellises on my old place and burned out several bits and almost destroyed my other drill before getting the hammer drill - man, it was so night and day easier that I was kicking myself for not getting it at the start.


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