By Kyle Stanek, Storage.com

Rather than having a car, you opted for a bike. But you can’t fit it in your downtown apartment’s storage space. What should you do then? You don’t want to leave it outside where it could get stolen, nor do you want it crowding your living room or kitchen.

How about renting a storage unit downtown?

Why Use Downtown Bike Storage

Even though it’s easier to store your bike outside or in your downtown apartment, this might not be the best option.

Megan Scott, Marketing Manager for Critical Cycles, offers these benefits for putting your bike in self storage:

  • Your bike won’t take up precious (and limited) room in your apartment/on your balcony/in your garage.
  • Your bike is significantly safer and less likely to be stolen in a storage unit.
  • It could be more convenient to store your bike away from your apartment so you don’t have to awkwardly drag it up and down five flights of stairs in your elevator-less apartment building.
  • You could store your bike with a few of your other possessions that don’t need to be taking up room in your apartment—say, for example, that “masterpiece” you worked on during your individual expressionist period.
  • You could store your bike with other people’s bikes and build up a community of cyclists in your neighborhood. Your bike would probably be less lonely, too.

Preparing Your Bike for Storage

When it comes to preparing your bike for self storage, whether that’s during the winter or any other extended periods of time, Alan Gagne, General Manager for Heritage Bicycles, recommends “giving the bike a good wash and putting it away clean.” Gagne also suggests bike owners put lube on the bike chain to prevent rust buildup and add some air to the tires so they keep their shape while in storage.

Scott agrees, pointing out that it’s a good idea to put a cover over your bike when you’re storing it for an extended period of time. This helps keep moisture off of the bike and prevents the chain or other parts of the bike from rusting.

What to Look for in Downtown Bike Storage

Adam Sank, Communications Manager for Manhattan Mini Storage, believes there are some major things to consider when choosing a storage facility for your bike. “You have to choose a space that’s easily accessible, conveniently located, and has extended hours.”

Basically, you don’t want a unit that you’ll have to walk for miles to get to (as that negates the purpose of storing your bike), nor do you want a facility that won’t let you get your bike whenever you need it (because you definitely don’t want to be late to work).

Sank believes that bike theft is a serious problem in larger cities and stresses the importance of finding a secure facility where you know your bike will be safe. When looking for a storage unit downtown, check out facilities with indoor units and additional security features, such as video surveillance, gated access, or on-site management.

Don’t forget to think about how much space you’ll need as well. Most bikes are longer than five feet, which means you won’t be able to get your bike into a 5×5 storage unit. In this case, a 5×10 is the recommended storage unit size. And, as Scott said, you can always move other items from your apartment into the unit with your bike to utilize all of the space.