My wife and I have three young children, and as time goes on it seems that the stockpile of outdoor playthings continues to grow. Now, I’m truthfully not sad about the amount of joy that this collection of toys produces for my kids (or myself and my wife for that matter). I love being able to watch them whip around corners on their plasma cars, totter on the training wheels down the sidewalk, and push the giant dump truck around in the rocks. These are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything.
But, inevitably, and eventually I needed to figure out where to store all these things in our garage when the weather gets cooler and we won’t be traipsing through the front yard every afternoon. As a responsible parent and a self-respecting garage project enthusiast, I needed to find a way to store the fun toys without having them take over my space completely. I explored some bike storage options and this is what I found.
When storing the kids’ bikes in the garage, seasonally or just overnight, there are many functional options to help keep things organized. Overhead hooks and hoists will keep the bikes off the floor, while vertical bike racks, bike hanger poles, and wall hooks will utilize your wall storage space. Your garage layout and accessibility for your kids will determine what is the best fit for your space. We did some research and compiled some of the best options on the market. Here are some of the bike storage solutions we came up with.
Overhead Hooks for Bike Storage
In our old garage, I used overhead hooks with my bike. For a season I had other house projects going, and biking was just not a priority. The overhead hooks kept it out of the way of the cars, and I was able to use the wall space for other storage options in the garage. When it was being used, the bike wasn’t difficult for me to get off the hook. With the kids’ bikes, since they are young and these are way smaller, the hooks would have been difficult because of the reach and weight of the bikes for them. Some people think that these hooks can bend your rim when the bike is being stored. Rest assured, the pressures on the rim from that hook is way less than when someone is riding it. These hooks would work well when storing the bikes in the offseason, but out here in Arizona, the winters are wonderful, and you just need to schedule your day in the summer to keep out of the mid-day heat.
In our current garage, the ceiling is rather tall, so I initially did not see this as an option for us because of the height and the inconvenience of grabbing the ladder every time they want to ride. What I did find is that with some of the storage options we were looking at for the garage, there are bike hooks that attach to these ceiling racks. These storage racks will allow the bike to be at an accessible-height so that bigger kids can get them down with ease.
Rack and Pulley (Mount Hoist Bike Storage)
This style of storage uses a pulley system to raise and lower your bikes up off the floor. When being stored with this system, the bike remains upright, so there is no awkward tipping and flipping over once the bike is down. While it does eliminate the use of a ladder after its initially installed, there are some safety considerations to heed – especially if your kids will be attempting to access their bikes themselves. For one thing, if you plan to hang the bike over where you park your cars, you need to ensure that the pulley crank is secure. (Some of these do have locking mechanisms that add a level of protection against the bike falling). But, let’s be real, I definitely don’t want my daughter’s Queen Elsa bike to piledrive my car like an underpaid wrestler with something to prove if something goes wrong.
However, depending on the age of your kids and the height of your garage ceiling, this could be an amazing option for you. An older kid could manage the pulley, and with the upright placement of the lowered bike, be off adventuring in the neighborhood in just a few minutes. When they are finished, with just another few cranks, the bike could be back up and completely out of the way.
There are several options to choose from when you are looking at wall mounts for your kids’ bikes in the garage. You first will need to determine if having the bikes run parallel with the wall in your garage will be better, or if the bikes should hang perpendicular off the wall. One will give you more floor space, the other will give you more wall space.
Once you have decided to hang from the wall, now it is time to determine which wall mounted bike hanger is going to work best in your situation.
Parallel Hanging Wall Mounted Bike Rack
The parallel hanging wall-mounted bike racks are generally similar in how they are constructed and how they hold a bike suspended off the ground. Each will have a mount that is secured into the wall. When installing, it is important to secure this into the stud inside the wall and not just the drywall. The weight of the bike can pull the wall plugs out of the drywall and your bike will come crashing down like last year’s New Year’s resolutions.
Now with this type of mount, here are your choices. You have some that stick out in a fixed position. Other racks have a hinge so they can be dropped into place when you are parking your bike on the rack. Or they can also be raised so the rack is vertical with the wall and be out of the way, so you don’t bruise a hip, not paying attention.
Once you have made the decision to purchase a fixed or a hinged rack, you then need to decide if you plan to store one or multiple bikes. There are other, more unique wall mounted bike racks, but this covers basic styles. Personally, I like the parallel hanging wall mounted bike rack the most. It seemed a little more forgiving for the kids to get to their bikes, and I am hoping, since the mount extends from the wall, it will protect my wall from getting scuffed up.
Perpendicular Hanging Wall Mounted Bike Rack
If wall space is more important than floor space, this type of rack might be ideal for your situation. You will need to lift the bike on its back wheel if you are going to use a rack like this so be mindful of who is going to be doing this and if it is ideal for their situation. You will need to make sure to either buy a rack that has a second pad for the back tire since it is also going to be resting against the wall, or purchase something to go on the wall to protect it from scuffs and black marks from the bike tire.
When I researched this type of rack, I discovered, again that there are a variety of these out there. Some have the same function as a wall mounted rack, but others suspend vertically and are not attached to the walls. With the way they are made, and a light overhead, you have more than a place to put your bike when you are not using it, you have a display! For aesthetics alone, I have to say, I like these. Are they at all useful for the goals I am trying to achieve with my garage? Probably not. But if you have a few nice bikes, they can sure look cool.
For the kids’ bikes, in general, I would lean more towards different types of bike storage. However, you might be able to use a hanger rack is if you are trying to put the bike rack in front of something else, maybe like a shelving unit of boxes. Another option would be if you don’t want to put holes into the wall, you could use a hanger rack up against the wall so you can stack your bikes on top of each other. One place that I have considered is getting one of these (Amazon Link) and putting it in front of the water heater and water filter since they both only need to be serviced once a year. This would allow me to store the kids’ bikes, keep the floor clear, and use the wall space for more useful garage storage.
When you are looking at different options to store your kids’ bikes, their age is going to play a big role in the overall practicality of how they will be stored. If they are young, they will need to have easy access to be able to get their bike down from the rack, otherwise, you are going to get countless requests for help during the season to get the bike down so they can ride. I will mention this, as I have considered and implemented different bike storage options, I have been amazed to watch my (currently 6-year-old) daughter manhandle her bike and get it so she can ride.
If your kids are older, it will matter much more on the overall practicality and storage setup of your garage rather than their physical limits of being able to pick up their bikes. If you have the wall space but are trying to save floor space, get a wall mount that has the bike parallel with the garage wall. If the opposite is the case, get a wall mount hanger that lets the bike stick out into the garage. Limited on both, but have ceiling space? Install hooks overhead or invest in a rack and pulley.
Keep your project space clean and your kids’ fun toys safely stowed and ready for action!