There are some things in life that we like to hold on to. For many of us, one of those things is our bike. Considering how inconveniently shaped they are, these vehicles don’t always fit well into our living spaces or at-home closets. Sometimes, balconies seem like a good option, but that’s a recipe for rust. Outdoor storage options, like bike racks, have the same issue when the rain or cold hits, not to mention theft. If you’ve ever walked past a “securely” locked bike that has been reduced to only a rusty frame with missing wheels and handlebars, you’re probably justifiably wary of trusting the great outdoors with your bike. To keep your bicycle in good shape for years to come, your best bet is investing in long-term bicycle storage.
Why long-term bicycle storage?
Even if you have a shed or garage, bikes are big items that take up a lot of room. Also, sheds or garages may be damp and can drop to below freezing temperatures in the dead of winter—these conditions more or less put out a “Welcome” mat for rust to take root. Chances, also, are that your bicycle isn’t the only item you have around the house that someone keeps tripping over. If you have multiple items that are cramping your style at home, the rental of a storage unit can help you clear up a lot more space. Two birds, one stone. Finally, a good storage unit will be virtually theft-proof. Bikes are rarely cheap, and if you poured a significant amount of money into purchasing yours, you should be able to rest easy knowing it’s safely tucked away. Look for indoor storage units with high security levels.
The Best Storage Methods for Bicycles
If you don’t store your bike properly, there may be issues with it before it’s ready to ride. Take a look at our tips to keep your bicycle in tip-top shape during long-term storage.
1. Inspect chains and brakes. If you want to ensure new moisture doesn’t get to your bike and create havoc, you can’t go wrong with a climate-controlled storage unit. Humidity and temperature swings can create havoc, so a dry unit will go a long way in preventing damage to your bike. That being said, if a bike has been sitting unprotected prior to storage, you should inspect it for problems that can become worse over time. For instance, a bike chain can be a storehouse for years of grime, dust, and dirt. Give your chains a thorough cleaning with a lint-free cloth. To get all of the chain links, you can backpedal the bike while it’s upside down and keep dragging the cloth along the links until it comes up clear of new debris. Another method is to use baby wipes, but the idea is the same. Once you’re satisfied that the chain is clean, you can apply a lubricant to ensure you’re storing the chain in optimal condition. You should also check that your brakes aren’t stuck and use a toothbrush to target any dirt that’s causing problems.
2. Clean the main frame of your bike by wiping it down with a damp cloth, using soap if needed. You can also clean the handlebars and seat. This basic wipedown will remove any moisture from dirt or debris, so you can store your bike away with less of a risk. Just make sure you either let the bike sit out to dry or wipe it dry, so your cleaning doesn’t produce the very problem you’re trying to prevent!
3. Store with tires in mind. If you have a hanging bike rack, this is a good way to keep tires off of the floor in storage. Having tires off the ground will preserve the rubber better, and can also slow down any deflation that might occur over time. Better yet, a hanging bike rack is great when you have multiple bikes you need to put away—a storage room can become cluttered very quickly with just two or three bicycles taking up space. A good tip to keep in mind, however, is to hang your bike by its frame, rather than the wheel spokes. Given enough time, the weight of the bike can cause a wheel frame to warp. When planning where to place your hanging wall rack, keep in mind clearance space that will allow you to get around the bike (or bikes) as needed, and also keep it a good distance from the doorway so it can fully open. In cases where hanging up your bike isn’t an option, the next best method is to flip the bike upside down and store it with the wheels in the air and the weight on the seat and handlebars. Place the bike on a softer surface if you’re worried about scratching or wearing it down by storing upside down. Although you’ll probably have to reinflate the tires after long-term storage, it’s still a good idea to inflate them before they’re put away. If you end up needing to access the bike sooner than you thought, a hunt for the air pump may not be needed.
4. Consider coverage. When it comes to long-term storage, you can further protect your bike from dust by investing in a full bike cover. You’ll find that the majority of good cover models will fit to your bike and will be made of a durable material that can be secured with stretchy straps. An added bonus about full covers is that you can also get them in UV-ray and water-proof varieties. This means that during transportation, or if you go camping and absolutely have to store your bike outside, damage to your bike is far less likely.
If you’re interested in finding out more about indoor self-storage units and the services available to you, call Jiffy Self-Storage at 416-74-JIFFY (54339), or contact us here.