Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes

DSCN3866As we’ve come to find out in La Casita, it’s not always easy to find a balance between small space living and adequate storage. As avid cyclists and tiny house dwellers it has been a challenge to find solutions to keeping our bikes protected from the elements. Charleston is a humid city, winter or summer, and between the ocean and sand, it’s hard enough to keep bikes in decent shape. The best option would be indoor storage. As much as we’d like to have our bikes inside, it’s not possible for our space so we’ve come up with a solution that, so far, is proving helpful.

For purported material reducers, we have a lot of bikes. Cedric has a road bike and an extra-cycle. I have a commuter Bicyclebike, a visitors bike and we bought a tandem this past spring. I’ve also got a new road bike arriving in March. It’s rather ridiculous to have 5 bikes between us and a 6th on the way but cycling is our passion and we can’t seem to help ourselves.  We’d been keeping the bikes locked to our trailer but the wear and tear of the elements has proved harsh and we’ve finally had to come up with a better way to protect them than just throwing a tarp over them. Between the rain and the wind a tarp wasn’t doing the job. We were also keeping bikes stored in our car but now that we have a dog we need more space in order to store Asher’s kennel.  Our neighbor offered us space to store a bike or two but we use all our bikes on a regular basis and the convenience of walking out our door and hopping on our bikes is invaluable to us.

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One solution Cedric and I had considered were awnings.  We had every intention of making awnings this past summer but, instead, we decided to go on a 3 month bicycle tour. So upon our return we still did not have a decent outdoor storage space for our trusty steel steeds. This holiday season we finally made it happen. A friend of ours found amazing vinyl material on the side of the road that looked to have been a huge pool cover. Cedric cut it up, pounded grommets in to it and we strung it with para cord to hooks on the side of our house and connected it to the apartment beside us. We had a cold front move in a few days ago with lots of driving rain and wind. The awning worked like a charm. It not only kept everything dry but also well protected from flying debris.

Besides being a bike cover, the awning is a vast improvement to our outdoor space. DSCN3870If we need to work outside or want to relax out of doors we have a space now, rain or shine. It will serve as a protective cover from the sun in the summer and it creates a much more enjoyable space to entertain outside the house. There are other options out there for folks who wish to store their bikes indoors. There are great bike hangers that can work well which can be bought or made. I really like the idea of a bike mount attached to an outside wall of the house, which a friend of ours is doing on his tiny house. It’s really about planning a space for items as bulky as bikes although a folding bike is another option and there are some excellent models out on the market these days. The best solution is one that best fits your daily needs. I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with!

Your Turn!

  • How do you store cumbersome belongings in a tiny house?
  • Any suggestions on better bike storage in tiny spaces?

 

7 Comments
  1. Hi Andrea,

    I also am a cyclist, I currently own 3 bikes, and only finances are preventing me from owning more. I designed a prototype tiny house with the rear of the trailer (your front door) was a covered porch with a hook system for hanging bikes. I used a 2×4 wall to split the porch in half and hung the bikes on that, so from the rear view you see the profile of the bikes. Rough estimate you could fit 6 bikes on a small 3′ porch. You could probably do something similar under your awning. You’re on your own with that tandem though, those things are monstrous. :-)

    Dan

    • Hi Dan,

      That hook system sounds compact and easily accessible! I’m definitely trying to figure something out for my new cannondale that will be arriving in March. I’m thinking of mounting some old bull horn handlebars I have as a holder for it inside but it will limit accesss to one of our windows so I’m still debating that. The tandem is a beast and will likely always have to live out of doors but it’s a dutch bike so it knows rain. Thanks for sharing your solutions!

      Cheers,
      Andrea

  2. I’m so excited you blogged about this! My husband and I own 5 bikes plus a tandem in a 400 sq ft apartment. We’ve looked at tiny houses but Hubby says he’d need a second tiny house just for bikes.

    I’m glad the tarp is working for you. In our neighborhood the salty ocean air corrodes everything whether covered or not it seems. I look forward to a long term evaluation of the system.

    bikes bikes bikes!

    p.s. – which tandem did you get? santana? comotion?

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Meghan! We have a Batavus touring tandem from the 90’s. We bought it second hand in Holland and it’s been the best bike we’ve ever owned. The dutch know how to make an excellent bike!

  3. I’ve been thinking about that same issue. I wonder if a mini shed would serve the purpose. My wife and I currently have 3 bikes, but I expect to get down to two when we finish the tiny house.

    • Cedric and I definitely considered having a mini shed and may still build one in the future but for now we don’t have space on the property we sit on so the awning will have to do. Cedric also has a lot of tools that we are storing in a container on a friend’s land but it’s not very accessible and a shed would be so great for those as well. Let me know what you come up with when you complete your tiny house!

  4. Well, if/when I get down to a smaller living space, giving up my bike won’t be an option either. I way look into a folder (Brompton, Downtube, Moulton) or possibly use a system to hang it from the ceiling. I live in humidity as well, and leaving my Surly in the rain is not an option!

    As of now, I have 4 kids, so we’ve got 8+ bikes, naturally… :)

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