Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

The Ultimate Bike Accessory – A Garage

Posted by Nicola | March 23, 2011 | 9 comments so far

With finally a bit of free time I’ve dedicated myself to house (flat) hunting. I’d like somewhere in Putney, convenient for work blah blah. I’d much prefer a top floor flat – light, secure, no-one clopping about on wooden floors above, needs to be near the tube.

Then of course there’s the bikes. Having bikes is hugely high maintenance as it turns out.

You need somewhere secure to store them, possibly wet or muddy, you need space to maintain them and an outside tap to wash them off. I cannot lug one up a steep, u-turn staircase to a garret. You need to be able to park not a million miles away if you plan to take your bike places, as I do.

I’m thinking mainly of mountain bikes here – my impression is that road bikes are cleaner (fair-weather riders, cough?!)

Putting aside the obvious solution of moving out of London and buying a house or at the very least buying a ground floor flat, which doesn’t fulfill my other criteria, I really need a flat with a garage, shed or balcony and an outside tap, which rules out quite a lot.

I’m trying to be creative – I found a garage with a jet-wash and I would consider ply boarding over a spare room and getting one of those old-fashioned rectangular children’s paddling pools to stand wet bikes up in, but it’s not ideal.

Which made me think that cycling (or mountain biking anyway) is really an activity for people with garages and a handy outside tap.

So… a survey: Does everyone have an on-site shed or garage for their bikes or does anyone have to accommodate their bikes on a balcony, hall or spare bedroom and wash them off with a watering can?


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  1. Dave Fisher says:

    Shed & patio with outside tap installed “because we need it for stuff in the garden” … aforementioned “stuff” was never actually detailed specifically.

    Only trouble now is, I need a bigger shed so I’m starting to expand on the driveway… which is adjacent to the shed.

    I recently bought a couple of these, in case I had to store a bike in the house. They work really well for stuffing bikes into cars and appear to be watertight…

  2. JohnR says:

    I am lucky enough to have the outside tap and his & hers sheds. When the female members of the family got bikes I had to install a second shed to maintenance domestic harmony in the face of opposing views on bike storage policies.

    I think the outside tap is the real essential. Whilst I could imagine storing a shiney clean bike somewhere in a flat, Mrs R is reluctant to let ME indoors when muddy, let alone the bike in the state we sometimes finish a ride.

    But, Nicola, if you are driving your bike back to Putney after a ride, perhaps you would benefit from the portable washer unit that Dandy uses to clean his bike before putting it in the car?

    • StevenD says:

      I have a mobi washer as well and not only use it when carrying the bike by car, but also at home due to the distance from the garden hose point to my bike service point. Highly recommended. btw I like the his and her sheds – that gives me an idea.

  3. Matt says:

    Nic I’ve seen those Mobi washers in use and they’re pretty good as they usually are good for a couple of bikes if you’re judicious. Haven’t used one myself though but that and one of those bike covers for the car (brilliant idea!) could work quite well.

    My set up is enough to make people green, white washed double garage – that’s white washed on the inside – with bikes hanging at the back and a big clear space for the bike stand, close to a stout workbench. In short, everything you’d need, the cars are banished to the drive!

    I have a retractable hose which gets used after riding, often late at night after a night ride (!). Fortunately the neighbours seem very relaxed over any noise I might make, I think they understand it’s for the benefit of my bikes…

    So that’s garage, tap, hose, front lawn. But nowhere near a tube station I’m afraid…

  4. PIJ says:

    I think I’d be a bit wary describing on a public forum where I keep my expensive bike collection – wouldn’t be too hard to find where some of you people live! “Stalker” Muddy Ground disapproves of some of the postings on this thread!

    When I lived in a flat in London I found an understairs cupboard to be ideal for storing two mountain bikes. OK a certain amount of dismantling was involved, but they went in fine and kept my other half happy as they were out of the way. Some of the commuter based cycling magazines may help with storage solutions?

    As for cleaning them, a small patio worked well enough.

    So, to answer: A Victorian basement flat with an understairs cupboard and small patio / shared garden would be spot on.

  5. PIJ says:

    For “Basement” read ground floor…..

  6. DaveW says:

    I wouldn’t advise keeping any bike in a garage in Putney, for security reasons. Same story shed. Keep it/them inside.

    The mobi washer is ideal, because –
    – the bike can be clean before you put it in the car, keeping your car clean and stopping the dirt from drying on
    – the clean bike will normally be dry by the time you get to your house (unless you’ve just been doing circuits of Richmond Park).
    – you wash the muck onto a rural carpark and not your own patio
    – thieving scrotes don’t get the opportunity to ‘case’ your bike whilst you are washing it in view of the street.
    – water pressure is lower than a garage pressure washer, so you don’t blast the grease off parts of the bike that need grease left on/in
    – a clean bike makes an attractive addition to any hallway or spare room (Although I’ve yet to convince my wife of this final point ;o)

  7. Nicola says:

    Matt’s dug up a photo of me in a helmet, lending credence to the rumour that I do actually do some cycling on the odd occasion!

    Thanks for the great suggestions. A mobile washer seems like the way to go, DaveW pointed out the multiple advantages, reducing the need for such a “bike-friendly” flat. A bike cover will be excellent for preventing scuffs to walls and catching water from dropping onto the floor, thanks DaveF.

    Several estate agents have had trouble getting to grips with the fact that you might own more than one bike and that chaining them up outside the flat isn’t an OK solution. Many think I have just lost the plot as I insist bikes need to be stored inside the flat or check out how secure a balcony is. Give the guy from Foxton’s credit though, he’s found a few flats with bike sized cupboards. Yes, a garden flat would be the answer, PIJ, but unfortunately, it’s not what I’m after.

    Personally I agree that a clean bike can be an attractive feature. I saw one place with a large kitchen which could easily double as bike workshop with a couple of wall-mounted racks, but I think Matt summed up the conundrum best – live near the tube OR go mountain biking…!

    • StevenD says:

      ‘Personally I agree that a clean bike can be an attractive feature. I saw one place with a large kitchen which could easily double as bike workshop with a couple of wall-mounted racks’,
      It is a shame that so few ladies have such an impressive vision at to the uses of a kitchen.

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