Help us design a simple outdoor bike shed
May 28, 2009 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Help us design a simple outdoor bike shed combo.

As a sort-of follow up to this question, we're having a wood fence put around our backyard, and we'd like to have a bike shed built and attached to it.

We're going to have to give the carpenters some directions, so we're trying to figure out the simplest ($), most efficient design to store two full-sized mountain bikes and a kid's bike. Some shelves would be nice too.

It will be up against the fence (back of shed against the fence), at the read end of the yard, facing the house, probably in a corner.

I envision the big bikes hanging vertically by their front tires, to minimize the footprint vs, say, a horizontal hanging rack. Shelves on the side for helmets, etc. Where should the kid's bike/pull-behind go? Can we fit a jogging stroller in there too?

Are there any good examples out there? How deep/wide/high? Any potential pitfalls or design quirks we should keep in mind?
posted by El Curioso to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
(Oops, ignore the "combo" - bike shed only)
posted by gottabefunky at 10:09 AM on May 28, 2009

You want easy in, easy out with a bike garage.

Unless you really need to save space, I'd design it so that the bikes can roll right in rather than hang upright. With guideways for the wheels and light partitions between bikes so that they don't lean on each other. Leave room for an additional bike or two. Use a door lock and have it keyed the same as your front door. Put hooks for helmets, bike pumps, etc, on the back of the door, and allow enough clearance between the closed door and the bikes for this.

What kind of floor will this have? Will it be on grade or elevated?

Can we fit a jogging stroller in there too?

Since you haven't built it yet, you could fit an Airstream trailer in there if you want to.
posted by adamrice at 10:23 AM on May 28, 2009

Our backyard is pretty small, so we do want to save as much space as possible - so I think vertical hanging will have to be it.

The floor will be on grade, I think (i.e. on the ground?)
posted by gottabefunky at 10:30 AM on May 28, 2009

Check with your local permitting agency (eg city planning office, county building permits office, etc) about setbacks. In many places, you would not (legally) be able to build what you are proposing, because structures are required to be setback a distance (often 3 or 5 feet, in places I am familiar with) from property lines. (Of course, what's legal and what you can get away with can be very different; you are the one who has to live with the consequences.)

Unless you are extraordinarily constrained on space, I'd design it a little big -- what happens if you buy a road bike? A second kid's bike? And even better would be to have it just tall enough that there is space under the hanging bikes to park something low and wide (eg jogging stroller, recumbent, bike trailer).

And, if you do any of your own bicycle maintenance, bolt a repair stand onto one of the beams. Having it right there (plus a cabinet or box for tools and materials) will make minor adjustments and chain lubrication a breeze.
posted by Forktine at 10:43 AM on May 28, 2009

Do you envision this to be something big enough to walk into? I was imagining something just big enough to accommodate the bikes.

A hanging bike requires a footprint of roughly 20" x 40"; a standing bike requires a footprint of 20" x 60", so it's not a big difference. If you built an 8'-tall (or whatever) shed that was just big enough for standing bikes, you could put a shelf above them for random storage and possibly come out ahead on space.

Oh, and make sure that it's built tight so critters can't get in.
posted by adamrice at 10:56 AM on May 28, 2009

This may not matter to you now, but think resale when you're building. If you sell, the next owner may not want to use it for bikes, but might prefer a potting shed or a play house. If you can see it from the house, it should look like something you want to see, not necessarily 'cute' but at least not ugly. OK, I'm a gardener, and one pet peeve is ugly garden sheds that you can see from the house. I prefer them close to the house so I see the garden, not the shed. Something as simple as a trellis up the side with space for a small climber makes a difference. And, I like keeping the service area (garage, garbage, compost, etc.) together to maximize the space available to garden. Cuts down on the visual clutter.

Nthing the no critters, eps if you live where there are raccoons.
posted by x46 at 11:30 AM on May 28, 2009

I designed bike storage that sounds like what you're thinking. It was a compromise between roll-in and pick-it-up-and-hang. I put the hooks on the wall at the right height to "wheelie" the bike into place. So it was walk toward the wall, tip the bike on its back wheel and walk forward another few inches, and you're done.

Depending on the age of the kid, you could try the same thing for their bike, since there's not really any lifting involved, just leverage. This approach stored 4 adult bikes side by side with no dividers necessary.

While storing bikes that way reduces the footprint of the building, it also takes up a lot of vertical space. I had no room for shelves in the bike-parking area. You could just hang the helmets on their respective bikes.
posted by PatoPata at 2:23 PM on May 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

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