Table of Contents

A guide to efficiently storing multiple bikes. 

Bike Storage vs. Bike Parking

How Long Will the Bikes Need to be Secured?

When planning a dynamic space designed to secure bicycles, you'll either be creating a bike storage or bike parking solution. Though the two terms are used interchangeably, bike storage (also referred to as Class I Bicycle Parking) is considered long-term bike parking and typically provides shelter from weather, thieves/vandals and other elements.

Bike Storage Header Image 1

A bike room is an application of bike storage and a growing trend in many residential and business facilities. 

Bike parking (also referred to as Class II Bicycle Parking) is commonly designated for scenarios where parking is only needed for the short term - typically less than 2 hours. Bike parking is usually outside, with more exposure to elements that make the solution less secure.

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Common examples of bike parking can be found on sidewalks, in parks and in front of commercial businesses.  

  • Bike storage: Long-term bike parking with increased security.
  • Bike parking: Short-term bike parking with basic security.

For this guide, we will be focusing on recommendations and tips to create efficient and usable bike storage spaces. 

Bike Storage Site Planning

Know Your Municipal Codes

As with any new building or revision to an existing structure, make sure you are aware of your local ordinances. Many cities have standards in place that regulate how many bike parking spots are required, what types of racks can be used, as well as spacing for and between spots.  

Know the Installation Surface

The surface that the bike racks will be installed on will also play a role in determining the best options for your bike storage area.

Concrete is ideal for installing bicycle parking racks. The best case would be to install the rack when the concrete is poured. 

If installing into existing concrete, there may be limits as to how deep the concrete can be drilled and many racks require it be fastened to the wall with an anchor bolt.

Concrete block, brick and the type of studs behind drywall - steel or wood - all require certain mounting hardware that may or may not be offered for certain bike racks. 

In addition to the materials that make up the surface where your bike storage will be, it will be important to identify any obstacles and clearance requirements. If the bike storage area will have mechanicals affixed to the wall, it may limit certain types of racks that would be installed.

Select vertical bike racks, for example, require a length of smooth wall space for proper installation.

Determine Bike Density

The specific number of bike parking spaces needed for your bike storage area may be directed by local ordinances. The APBP Bicycle Parking Guidelines  also offers a comprehensive guide for determining bike parking requirements.

BikeDensity

The following are a few of the applications from the APBP to guide the volume of bike storage needed.

Multifamily Housing w/o Private Garage for Each Unit:

  • 0.5 spaces for each bedroom

  • Minimum of 2 spaces

Senior Multifamily Housing:

  • 0.5 spaces for each bedroom

  • Minimum of 2 spaces

Colleges and Universities: 

  • 1 space for each 10 employees, plus 1 space for each 10 students
    of planned capacity;

  • OR 1 space for each 20,000 s.f. of floor area,
    Whichever is greater

Rail/Bus Terminals and Stations:

  • Spaces for 5% of projected a.m. peak period ridership

Office:

  • 1 space for each 10,000 s.f. of floor area

  • Minimum of 2 spaces

In communities that are densely developed, more urbanized or which have higher bicycle use, a .5 space/measurement should be added for educational, civic and commercial facilities.

Bike Storage Layout Recommendations

Let Users Guide Bike Storage Layouts

After factoring the attributes of the bike storage area, weighted against code capacity requirements, you can start evaluating different bike storage systems or combinations of systems that will guide you to the most successful layout.

BikeFriendlyStorage-263086-edited

To be successful with your layout, it is critical to design an area that will satisfy the people who will be using the bike storage. Use these common objectives for bike storage to help build out your design. 

Biker-friendly

A biker-friendly bike storage design would typically include the following elements:

  • Floor-mounted bike rack systems
  • 24" of clearance around the rack
    • Allows users to easily lock bike from the side
    • Avoids handlebar/rack/basket conflicts 
  • Adequate clearance on the end and side for the user to easily maneuver their bike into and around parking areas
  • Adequate clearance from walls and other fixed objects that would obstruct the rack from being used
  • Aisle(s) allowing for:
    • Simultaneous users
    • Bikes to be lifted where two-tiered racks are used

Bike-Friendly-Layout-Madrax

This type of design works well for commuters who rely on their bike to be a primary mode of transportation. They will appreciate the ease in accessing and returning their bike to storage. As well as the the reduced chance their bike is damaged by another bike being put into or taken out of storage.  

The main drawback to this design is the lower density of bike storage available per square foot

Max Density

A max-density bike storage design would set out to provide the maximum amount of spaces to store bikes in the allotted area. This can be accomplished with:

  • High-density bike rack systems:
    • Ground mounted
    • Vertical
    • Two-tiered
  • Reduced spacing between bike parking spots

This would offer the highest density of bike storage per square foot and provide the highest value, of any layout, to the facility owner. Providing sufficient bike parking for those would want to use it would also satisfy a greater number of people.

Madrax-High-Density-Bike-Room-Layout

The main drawback is that this design might not be functional if users would have certain physical limitations that would not allow them to lift their bike off the ground in order to park it. 

Balanced

A balanced design will incorporate a combination of bike storage solutions that serve heavy bike users - who want the extra area around their bikes - and those more concerned with having a space to store their bike. 

Madrax-Bike-Storage-Mixed-Layout

Most Secure

As the purpose of a bike storage area is to park a bike for long periods of time, where the bike is unlikely to be monitored, security of the bike is also of concern. Bike storage layouts that offer the most security should include:

  • Bike lockers that fully encloses the bicycle to protect from weather, tampering and vandals
  • Bike racks that allow locking of the frame and one or both wheels with a U-lock

Madrax-Bike-Locker-Layout

Rooms, cages or other barriers that restrict access to the bikes are also additional elements that will make bike storage areas more secure.

Other Bike Storage Amenities

In addition to bike racks, it's worth considering adding other amenities and including them in your layout. Items like benches, repair stations and pumps would increase the overall value and utilization of a bike storage area. 

Bike Storage Spacing Recommendations

Typical Bicycle Dimensions

Bike-Spacing

These measurements make up the space a typical bicycle will occupy when in a bike rack. The typical dimensions of more modern bikes like recumbent and folding bicycles should also be considered when spacing bike racks.

Recommended Spacing of Bike Racks

Each bike storage area will be unique in the available space, number of bikes needed to be parked and other requirements. If possible, we recommend following the APBP guidelines for bike storage spacing. 

Ground Bike Parking

  • Space for bicycle: 72" for standard bicycle
  • Distance between racks: 48" recommended | 36" minimum
  • Distance from walls/obstructions: 
    • Perpendicular:
      • 36" minimum to nearest leg of rack
      • 48" minimum to center of rack
    • Parallel: 36" recommended | 24" minimum
  • Aisles: 60" recommended | 48" minimum
    • Between tires of parked bikes
    • Between tire of parked bike and wall/obstruction
    • Area extended from tire of parked bike designated for loading/unloading bike if room will continue without a wall or other obstruction

Madrax-Ground-Bike-Parking-Spacing-Recommendations

Vertical or Wall-mounted Bike Parking

Vertical bike racks are primarily designed and used to maximize bike storage density. This is achieved by vertically staggering the racks where there will be some overlap in space on the common 24-in handlebars. 

  • Space for bicycle
    • 96" total floor space, recommended
      • 48" bike storage space | 48" aisle space
    • 72" total floor space, minimum
      • 48" bike storage space, recommended | 24" aisle space
      • 42" bike storage space, minimum | 30" aisle space
Madrax-Vertical-Bike-Storage-Vertical-View
  • Horizontal Spacing Between Staggered Racks
    • 16" recommended
    • 14" minimum
  • Vertical Spacing Between Staggered Racks
    • Specific to rack being used
    • Typically between 8" and 12"
Vertical-Bike-Storage-Horizontal-View
  • Vertical Clearance
    Varies depending on rack used. Can be determined by finding the sum of three dimensions. 
    • Ground clearance (Typically 8" minimum)
    • Bicycle length (72" minimum)
    • Lifting clearance (Depth of hook that supports bicycle)

Bike Storage System/Rack Selection

Identifying Bike Racks to Fit Your Design

There are many styles of bike racks. When selecting the specific product to fit the vision and design of  your bike storage area, there are a few features any rack used in a bike storage design should have:

  • Support the bike by its frame in two places
  • Prevent wheel from tipping or flopping over
  • Ability to lock the frame and at least one wheel to rack using a U-lock
  • Accommodate different types of bikes and attachments
  • Provides long-term and secure storage
  • Intuitive use

 With these in mind, it then comes down to selecting the type of commercial bike rack that will achieve your bike storage goals.

Ground Mounted, Standard Density Bike Racks

With ground mounted, standard density bike racks, there are lots of different styles to select from that provide adequate space around the bike. These would be ideal for bike-friendly layouts.

Here are some of the more common styles. 

Wheel Well Secured

Madrax-Wheel-Well-Sentry

  • Features an element that holds at least one wheel - providing better stability for the parked bike 
  • Supports bicycle with two points of contact
  • Can lock frame and wheel to rack
  • Adequate spacing around the bike
    • Individual racks can be mounted at desired spacing
    • Multiple racks spaced at set intervals and mounted with rails
  • One bike per wheel well
Inverted U | Staples

UX200-SF-B

  • Available in many designs and shapes
  • Supports bicycle with two points of contact
  • Can lock frame and wheel to rack
  • Adequate spacing around the bike
    • Individual racks can be mounted at desired spacing
    • Multiple racks spaced at set intervals and mounted with rail
  • Two bikes per inverted U
Post & Ring

BikeParking

  • Available in many designs and shapes
  • Supports bicycle with two points of contact
  • Can lock frame and wheel to rack
  • Individual racks can be mounted at desired spacing
  • Two bikes per Post & Ring

Ground Mounted, High Density Bike Racks

Many of the same styles of bike racks are available in a high-density configuration, where the spacing between parked bikes is reduced. This is typically achieved by making the rack two-sided and/or staggering the height of the bike when parked. 

Two-sided, Wheel Well Secured

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  • Features an element that holds at least one wheel - providing better stability for the parked bike 
  • Supports bicycle with two points of contact
  • Can lock frame and wheel to rack
  • One bike per wheel well
  • Requires a wider footprint as bikes would be parked on each side of rack
Staggered Height

Madrax_Shark_Up_SHU-SNG-5-G-(with-bikes)

  • Features an element that holds at least one wheel - providing better stability for the parked bike 
  • Staggered height of parked bike reduces handlebar conflict in tighter spacing
  • Supports bicycle with two points of contact
  • Can lock frame and wheel to rack
  • One bike per wheel well
U Racks on Rails

Madrax-U-rack-Rails-U190-4-G-(with-bike)

  • Available in many designs and shapes
  • Supports bicycle with two points of contact
  • Can lock frame and wheel to rack
  • Racks spaced at set intervals and mounted with rail
  • Two bikes per inverted U

Vertical Storage

Vertical bike storage solutions offer the primary benefit of reducing the total floor area needed to store bikes. Depending on the type of vertical bike rack, spacing options can be flexible to make them more biker-friendly. They can also be staggered vertically to accommodate high-density needs. 

Because lifting of the bike would be required to use these racks, they may not be suitable for all users. 

Direct Wall Mount Bike Racks

Madrax_Vertical_Bike_Rack_Install

  • Most cost effective type of vertical bike storage
  • Locking loop or other mechanism allows for tire and frame to be locked to rack
  • Requires unobstructed wall
  • Requires putting holes in walls
Vertical Storage, Strut Wall Mount Bike Racks

Madrax_Wall_Rack_Bike-Room-Install

  • Requires fewer holes in the walls compared to direct wall mount
  • Locking loop or other mechanism allows for tire and frame to be locked to rack
  • Allows for spacing and staggering to be adjusted after install
  • Requires unobstructed wall
 
Vertical Storage, Free standing Bike Racks

Madrax-Free-Standing-Bike-Rack

  • Self contained and does  not require wall space
  • More expensive than other vertical bike storage options

Double-tier Horizontal Bike Storage

Double-tier horizontal bike storage systems are ideal for high-density solutions and taking advantage of available vertical space. 

Manual Lift Bike Racks

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  • Multiple mounting options
    • Direct wall
    • Strut
    • Free standing 
  • Not suitable for users with lifting restrictions
  • Ceiling height requirements
Lift-assisting Bike Racks

Madrax_Bike_Boost_Lift_Assist

  • Provides assisted operation to lift bicycle to second tier
  • Has moving parts that will need to be maintained/replaced

Bike Lockers

Bike lockers provide an added level of security and privacy when storing a bike and come in various configurations and locking options. 

Some lockers can can be stacked to handle increased density and others are configured to accommodate storing the bike vertically.

Madrax-Bike-Lockers

Download the Bike Storage Guide

Easily reference the Madrax bike storage guide for your next bike storage project. Fill out the form and you'll be sent a link to download the file. The contact information you provide will be used to send you the guide and keep you informed on other resources we think you'll find valuable. You will be able to unsubscribe any time.