Friday, November 23, 2012

How I built my own hanging bike rack

Our family has a lot of bikes.  [Wait; I'm actually going to go count . . . okay, we have thirteen bikes for the five people here at our home; we also store another bike for our next-door neighbor.]  Fourteen bikes take up a bunch of space, as you might imagine.   A bunch of space, a bunch of clutter.  We keep four of those bikes in the garage, but the other ten are in a kind of a mud room that serves mostly as a giant bicycle parking lot. A parking lot with constant traffic jams.

Before I got the Sudden Painful Death Machine, the traffic jam that occurs in our bike parking lot didn't bother me, because it was all my husband's space.  But once I had to navigate that space myself, I cared a LOT about what a tangle it was.  Isn't that always the way it goes?

And so on Wednesday, using some of my time away from my students, I constructed a bike rack. It took a while to figure out what design to use, but once I had the layout in my head, the actual construction time was only about an hour.
(Side note: In the middle of the construction, I had to take a break to go to the hardware store to get new jigsaw blades, since it turns out that C-son had broken them all this past summer.  Sigh.  And -- since K-daughter had the car -- how do you think I traveled to that hardware store, 4 miles away?  Yes!  On the SPDM!  My first bicycle-based shopping trip!  Yes, yes, again yes!).
Here's the new bike rack: essentially three 2-by-4's bolted together with a bunch of bike hooks hanging from the cross-bar.

 I used the jigsaw to make a notch in each of the upright 2-by-4s; the cross-bar sits in that notch.  I screwed on some scrap wood squares for a bit of side-to-side stability.

I also screwed on these space-ship-looking scraps of wood (leftover from a trash-picked computer desk that the boys eventually demolished).   These are what keep the contraption upright.
The whole thing is fairly stable, even though we could pick it up and move it around if we wanted.  (That's the way I was hoping it would be, but I'll admit I'm just a little surprised that it actually worked so well.)  Total supplies: three new 2-by-4's, four pieces of scrap wood, two bolts with nuts and washers, and 12 screws.  Plus, six bike hooks.

I'm going to add another upright and another cross bar to extend it a few feet; now that I know this works, I'd like to add some space for a few more bikes.  (Right now, it holds 6 bikes; I'm figuring I can get up to 10 of them hung up here).  And I'll add some hooks on the cross beam to hang helmets.



  1. Congratulations!! I like it.
    How much did it cost in dollars? Not counting the things you have saved taking them from scrap.

    1. Good question; I bought a lot of these things a while ago, so it's hard to estimate. I think it's safe to say I spent less than $40 for materials.

      The jigsaw blades cost $12 for 10, but they ought to last me a while, so I won't count those. The six hooks I used were the most expensive purchase -- they cost a total of $21. I don't remember how much the 2-by-4 boards cost, because I've had them lying around for a long time. And I have large bins of assorted screws and bolts, but I suppose you could estimate maybe $2 for the hardware. -MM

    2. I find the wood is much cheaper there than in my country.