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Short on storage space? Portlander builds her own bike hooks

Posted by on January 24th, 2014 at 8:49 am

(Photo courtesy Halley Weaver)

Here’s a quick bike how-to that can save some space in a garage while minimizing drilling into the walls.

It’s from Halley Weaver, who many Portlanders might know from her performances as a “zero-emissions harpist.” With space at a premium in her garage, she threw together a simple plan to consolidate: hang the 12 bikes from the walls.

Weaver shares the specs on her blog:

We are renting the townhouse we’re in and can’t be drilling a ton of holes in our garage. What did we decide on doing? Due to our transportation confines, we got a 6″ x 2″ x 12′ board and had it cut in half at the hardware store. So now we have two 6′ boards. We picked up eight 4″ lag bolts (2 for each end of each board) and 12 bike hooks.

In addition to preventing holes in the wall, the boards also allow more densely spaced hooks because they attach directly to the studs.

Not a complicated trick, but in a state where 20 percent of households own three or more bicycles, it’s one that might be useful in a lot of garages.

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  • Justin January 24, 2014 at 9:09 am

    And to capitalize on the storage savings, keep your u-lock locked in the bikes’ rear triangles, and even if somebody breaks into your garage, they’ll have a pain trying to do anything with your bike.

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    • Spiffy January 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      I always put my ulock through the rear triangle with the wheel while my bike is in my locked garage… I’m paranoid like that…

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  • RH January 24, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Is there an advantage to hanging the bikes by the rear wheels like shown in the pic?

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    • davemess January 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

      They’re actually alternated (rear/front/rear/front). I do the same in my garage. It just saves space and allows you to pack them tighter together. No real advantage other than that. It’s easier to get the front wheel on weightwise, but that is about the only difference I have seen.

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      • BIKELEPTIC January 24, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        I really want to make a joke about how you should never go from rear to front, but I know that this is a family website.

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        • davemess January 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm

          But that’s the only way it fits!

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    • BIKELEPTIC January 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

      They alternate. Rear wheel, front wheel. That way we can mash them in tight and for bike with rear suspension you have to hang by front anyway.

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    • El Biciclero January 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Some people say that hanging from the front wheel puts undue lateral forces on your fork/headset, while hanging from the rear wheel doesn’t put any unnatural stress on the frame.

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      • davemess January 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

        I can’t imagine that 20-30 lbs would really make that much of a difference. I’d like to have more faith in bike engineers and fabricators than that.

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        • John Lascurettes January 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          Indeed. Torsion forces riding over a bump in the road (driveway transition, speed bump, floating esplanade) with your weight on the bike at speed would have to be far worse than the bike hanging by its own weight.

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      • BIKELEPTIC January 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

        Some people say you shouldnt put 100 lbs in your panniers or 40 lbs on your porter rack either. If a wheel wasn’t meant to handle downward stresses bikeshops would display wheels differently. Longtail bikes wouldn’t exist.

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  • Pete January 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I did this same setup in my garage, except alternating spacing to hang the bikes up/down (with specific hooks spaced for my MTB and TT). Since it’s right next to the washer/dryer the hanging bikes make great racks for drying clothes (being careful of the greasy parts of course).

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  • Granpa January 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I built one like that on a long 2×12 alternating the height of hooks so I could squeeze bikes together. It is VERY easy to get bikes on the hooks if you roll the bike back onto the rear wheel while holding the handlebars, then rest the seat against your thigh, then lift the bike with your leg. This way you can hold the front brake so the wheel is not spinning and you are using a very strong muscle.

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    • John Lascurettes January 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Careful of not scraping or squishing your full-coverage metal fenders if you got ‘em.

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  • Dave January 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

    As a lifer working bike mechanic, I’ll answer one question before it even comes up–it does ABSOLUTELY NO HARM to the rims, tires, or spoke tension of a bike to hang it by the wheels. A bicycle’s frame and wheels are meant to support many times their own weight.

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    • Alan 1.0 January 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      How about the suspension? Front and rear? Does it matter how those are hung?

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      • davemess January 24, 2014 at 12:42 pm

        Not in my experience. I have heard (and noticed a bit myself) that hydraulic brakes can be a little weird after the bike has been hanging for a while. Usually they’re okay again after a few minutes of riding though.

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        • John Lascurettes January 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

          And if that’s the case, wouldn’t that mean there’s air in the line somewhere and it needs to be bled? I haven’t noticed any change in my brakes after mine has hung for a while – like after a vacation.

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          • davemess January 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

            Probably. They work well enough and I’m just lazy (I think having too many bikes does that to you, you really only want to fix things that are absolutely necessary).

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        • BIKELEPTIC January 24, 2014 at 1:05 pm

          I like to hang my full suspension front first but thats just a preference thing. They’re awkward to get that rear up! I’ve heard various things about full suspension – either hang it by the front and NOT by the rear because of the suspension or not by the front due to liquid in the front fork. Blah. Damned if you do situation.

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        • JV January 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

          I have noticed minor brake issues as well, but always attributed it to my old, rarely bled hydraulics. It usually does go away after a little bit of careful riding/

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  • BIKELEPTIC January 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    I realized now that it was getting more viewing and questions that I was a little vague on my bragging on “getting shiz done” article on my blog – so I posted a bottom of the page edit where I elaborated more in detail about what I did.

    Keep in mind that this is only 6′ of the 12′ board. (Meh, we’re storing a huge sectional couch in our garage we have to move out and then move that shelving unit over to the other side of the garage before we can hang the additional section)

    I am actually happier this way, because I was thinking of staggering the boards because of having to set it under where the stud is, but I may leave a gap due to stud placement and set the big rolly tool chest in between. Or, we have one of those leaning bike racks, which albeit we don’t need anymore for bikes, but would be great for hanging helmets, jackets, gloves, etc.

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  • El Biciclero January 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    For any mechanic-types out there, does non-horizontal or non-upright storage cause any issues with hydraulic brakes? I would assume not if everything is bled and sealed properly, but…?

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    • davemess January 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      I only have one set and am an n =1, but I haven’t seen many problems. Sometimes the brakes are a little weird at the beginning of a ride after not touching the bike for a while, but they usually settle back to normal pretty quickly. I have heard plenty of rumors about people having issues with this, but haven’t really seen/heard any concrete problems.

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    • John Lascurettes January 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      None here with my hydraulics. I don’t usually hang my bike (I’m the one rolling it in and out every day for commuting), but it has hung during a vacation and I didn’t notice any oddities upon returning to my commute schedule.

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    • Pete January 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      My BMC Speedfox with hydraulics hangs for very long periods of time (front down) because I’m mostly a roadie, but when I succumb to peer pressure and take it out for the occasional trail rides it doesn’t seem like any difference (especially during descents). The bike is about three years old now. Don’t know; maybe I’m doing something wrong (like not riding it enough ;).

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    • gutterbunnybikes January 24, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      depends how cold your garage gets I would assume….(hinting at the recent recall).

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  • Ryan Good January 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    After I build myself a garage I will build one of these…

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    • Pete January 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      Many people make the mistake of thinking garages are for cars… ;-)

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  • gutterbunnybikes January 24, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I pretty much have the same set up in my garage, but I did two runs running parallel one about a foot lower the the second. This way you can space the bikes hooks about a foot apart and the handle bars wont interfer with each other.

    And you don’t have to alternate rear wheel front wheel on the hook, much easier lifting the front wheel to hooks than rear wheels.

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    • BIKELEPTIC January 24, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      The hooks are a foot apart. The problem is we have many different types of bikes (handles and such some more than 12″ long) and and awkward height difference between my partner and I. So having the alteration helps for a bunch of factors.

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  • Pete January 27, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    I’ve started to add a similar setup to the other side of my garage now, specifically for my racing bike. Because the Garmin and Di2 junction on the handlebars need charging, I’ve decided to place the hook lower on the wall so I can hang the bike [bottom-outward, front-down] from its seat (with the weight on the hoods against the wall). On the wall about parallel with the stem (and to one side) I’ve cut in an electrical outlet and a switch using a dual-gang “new work box” and installed a Leviton outlet with two USB chargers built in. This should allow me to charge the bike’s electronics quite easily without having to remove anything but the dust covers. Oh, the other thing I’ve noticed with this arrangement is that I can lube the chain and clean the underside pretty easily too!

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