Over the past few years, there have been huge pushes to get people out of our cars and on to a bike. I happen to live in Maryland, and Montgomery County has an initiative to get a county-wide plan in place to make cycling safer throughout the area. This plan is nothing short of ambitious, and I hope to see it come to fruition (see Bicycle Master Plan).
In the DC region, space is a commodity (and an expensive one at that). Many people live in apartments or group houses and storing a bicycle may seem like it isn’t in the cards. But with innovative storage options and developers assisting with storage options, adding a bike to one’s lifestyle may be easier than you think.
Having been a cyclist for 10 years, I have tried out a few options. My favorite is the Topeak Dual Touch Bike Stand. This system is a space saver. In a nutshell, it is a tension pole with mounts on it allowing you to stack two bikes on top of each other minimizing square footage allocated to your trusty steeds. Having drunk the Kool-Aid as they say, I have three bicycles with a great bike light, so this was a great fit to get them into my apartment and not on a public storage rack (subject to potential damage).
For the new apartment developments in the area, they are providing bicycle storage rooms where there are bike racks installed allowing for a safe place to house your ride. The options within these rooms vary but it at least allows for a more secure location to house your investment with there being a controlled access door and your bike lock to minimize damage and theft.
Within these rooms, there tend to be just floor mounted racks, but as popularity has continued to grow, when you tour a building, you may see some innovative layouts to get more bicycles into a small place. This may include vertically mounted racks, offset stacking racks, as well as stacking options.
Now that I have covered options for in-apartment (or storage room) options, here are some best practices when you are out and about with your ride:
- Always lock your bike. You may think you are in a nice neighborhood, but you never know who is around. More often than not, you’ll be okay, but do you really want to take that chance? There are plenty of locks out there that will be great for short time deterrents, so invest in a lock and make sure your bike is around when you come back to it.
- Don’t leave easily removable items on the bicycle. This will include lights, GPS systems, and any accessories not physically attached to the bike.
- Register your bike with local authorities. This is a precaution in the event your bicycle is stolen and recovered.
I hope this encourages you to get out there and ride. There are options for storage, so don’t let a lack of space keep you from enjoying the great outdoors.
Lyle Ganz is an Associate with SR/A Interior Design. He is an accomplished triathlete and avid cyclist. You may catch him out riding with The Bike Rack on Sunday mornings through Rock Creek Park.