Riding a bike is arguably one of life’s most pleasurable activities. Storing a bike, on the other hand, can be a royal pain. Not only do you need to find and prepare an adequate storage space, you also need to ensure that your bike is kept in tip-top shape.
Chad Burma, an experienced sales associate at Freewheel Bike, a 40-year-old bike shop in Minneapolis, can offer plenty of sage advice on the topic. Given that Minneapolis is one of the world’s top-rated bike-friendly cities, Burma has seen it all. We’re sure his tips will revolutionize your bike-storage practices, leaving you with more energy to ride the bike path or road.
1. Protect Against Temperature Fluctuations
If you’re planning to store your bike for an extended period of time, Burma says to consider keeping it in a climate-controlled space. This is because extreme temperature fluctuations—such as those in the harsh climates of northern locales—can damage your bike. “When the temperature swings, it can age and ultimately degrade the rubber of your bike tires,” Burma explains. “And if you rode your bike in wet conditions before storing it and neglected to properly drain the frame of water, a deep freeze could cause it to crack.”
2. Choose an Ideal Storage Space
When thinking about where to store your bike indoors, Burma advises selecting a room or space that can handle a little dirt. That’s because your bike’s chain and gears are likely encased in grease, and its tires can track in road grime. For this reason, porches (enclosed and secure, of course) and basements may be your best bet. If you’re worried about getting bike grease on your furniture, Burma says to consider getting a cover for your bike’s drivetrain (aka, the oily bits).
3. Consider Hanging Your Bike
Getting your bike (or bikes) up off the floor is an especially good idea if you’re storing it in a high-traffic area of your home. Burma recommends using a simple bike hook—make sure it’s coated in rubber so it doesn’t damage your frame’s finish—or looking into a ceiling lift system, depending on the limitations of your space. If you’re hanging multiple bikes on a wall using hooks, Burma says to consider staggering each one to save space (hang one bike by its front wheel and the next by its rear wheel). And while you’re at it, why not stagger your bikes with some cool bicycle art?
4. Make Security Your Priority
Nothing makes storing your bike more painful than the threat of not finding it in its dedicated spot when you return. To prevent this stomach-churning sensation, Burma says to be certain your storage space is secure—and yes, this means locking up your bike if it’s in a garage. To lock your bike, Burma recommends using a high-security lock and making sure the frame and wheels are secure.
5. Perform Regular Maintenance
Just because your bike is sitting pretty in storage doesn’t mean you can neglect it. To preserve your bike’s ready-to-roll status, Burma says to keep your chain oiled and your tires inflated to the proper pressure (look on the side of the tire for the recommended pounds per square inch). “Because bicycle tire tubes are fairly small, even a tiny leak can cause the air pressure to drop quickly,” he explains. “For this reason, be sure to check your tire pressure at a minimum of every other week to avoid getting stuck with a flat.”
And, as any bike enthusiast knows, being stuck indoors is never fun. So be sure to keep up the regular maintenance while putting Burma’s other tips into practice. After all, a properly stored and maintained bike is your ticket to many more two-wheeled adventures.