Storing Your Bicycle Outside, Do’s & Don’ts

Is It Ok To Store Your Bike Outside For 8 Hours/Day?

Technically it’s fine, there is nothing from stopping you from storing your bicycle outside all day, however there are issues you want to be aware of before doing so. Obviously leaving your bicycle outside will mean that your bicycle will be exposed to all of the weather elements

Rain, snow and extremely cold weather temperatures in the winter can cause decay to arise a lot faster on your bicycle frame and individual metal parts. Winter weather is likely to accelerate wear of all the normally wearable components than in the hot dry summer months as you’d expect   

Your bicycle being exposed to winter weather conditions on a regular basis is likely to accelerate wear of the bicycle frame, the chain and any other metal based and rust prone areas of your bicycle. If you are leaving your bicycle outside the majority of the time then you should be maintaining it on a regular basis to prevent rust buildup and overall decay/wear and tear

Any bolts or components that aren’t alloy or stainless will rust, make sure to regularly maintain your bicycle chain by using a lubricant regularly, make sure to spray a lubricant on the chain and gears as this will reduce rust buildup significantly. Try to do this every few weeks at cold and wet sessions of the year, while taking the opportunity on a dry day to do this

Another issue to leaving/storing your bicycle outside all day is the increased chance of it getting stolen or vandalised (especially in the city). Leaving your bicycle in a quiet secluded area will give thieves or hooligans greater opportunity of theft or vandalism, especially at night 

I would not recommend leaving your bicycle outside in the early hours of the morning because it will just be a matter of time before something happens (theft or vandalism), especially in the city. This is pretty obvious but is worth pointing out to you anyway

Make sure to have adequate anti theft measures in place (smart bike technology, wheel and bicycle frame lock, anti-tamper etc), avoid going cheap on this as it will more likely make it easier for thieves to break into or dismantle your anti theft measures/equipment 

Where Should I Store My Bicycle Outside? 

Storing your bicycle outside nowadays has never been better, cycling as a means to daily commute is actively promoted as it lowers a cities carbon footprint, which means there has been an extra incentives from councils to provide safe and credible ways of storing your bicycle outside, especially in the city

There are a variety of places where you can store your bicycle outside, some of the most common are street lamp posts, sign posts and pavement railings. Another place to store your bicycle is an official cycle rack, these provide a better alternative where you can store your bicycle as they tend to be safer being stored alongside other bicycles and in a more visible location 

Councils throughout the United Kingdom have launched several pilot schemes that provide safe and sheltered facilities to store your bicycle outside. Bikehangars have been introduced which provide a secure, covered and lockable units that take up just a single car parking space on the road  

Bikehangars are rental space to store your bicycle and can store up to six bicycles in one Bikehangar unit. They offer a safe and effective way of protecting bicycle from all of the weather conditions, provide storage space when it’s at a premium and reduces the chance of your bicycle getting stolen or vandalized 

Is It Safe To Store Bicycle Outside?

This will greatly depend on the anti theft measures that you have in place and the location you are storing/leaving your bicycle. Leaving/storing your bicycle outside always runs the risk of your bicycle getting stolen or vandalised (especially in the city), however if you follow these general guidelines then you can reduce the risk of anybody stealing or vandalizing your bicycle 

Anti – Theft Measures

To deter any thieves from attempting to steal your bicycle, always make sure you have adequate anti theft measures in place, if someone looks at your bicycle and know they will have a hard time stealing your bicycle then they are more likely to not even try in the first place

Adequate anti theft measures include having the following items and measures in place, smart bicycle technology. Make sure you have a GPS tracker installed on your bicycle, this will send SMS alerts to your mobile phone if your bicycle leaves a designated area (that is designated by you). This will allow you to easily pinpoint and locate your bicycle when alerting the police or local security

Another smart bicycle technology that you may want to consider is a bluetooth activated wheel lock, this allows for several riders to share access to a single bike wheel lock, this will mean pick locking a typical wheel and bicycle frame lock is out of the question for any opportunist thief

Anti – Vandalized Measures

There are a few general guidelines that you’ll want to follow when minimizing the chances of your bicycle getting vandalized. Always make sure your bicycle is stored in daylight hour range (7am to 8pm), leaving your bicycle outside in the dark hour range (8pm to 6am) is likely to attract drunken fools or night time hooligans in the early hours of the morning

Always store your bicycle in a well lit and clearly visible area, visible to many passersby or pavement wakers. Any opportunist thief will jump at the chance of stealing or vandalizing a bicycle in a quiet secluded and dimmed light area, it’s paydirt for them!

All of the guidelines discussed above is simple to control the elements that you have control over in reducing the risk of anybody stealing or vandalizing your bicycle. It’s designed to make the lives of an opportunist thief as difficult as possible which is likely going to deter them in the first place 


What Other Alternatives Is There To Storing My Bicycle Outside?

In recent years there have been an extra incentive from cities to provide adequate and secure bicycle storage in order to promote more cyclists in the city than petrol powered vehicles. One great addition is the new, secure and affordable bicycle racks at your local train station. Major train stations all over the UK have introduced a secure solution to city bicycle storage

The new secure and safe cycle parking located under the roof of the station means cyclists can purchase a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual access pass for themselves. This provides a step up in security compared to leaving your bicycle on a typical street bicycle rack

Costs for these facilities will include a one-off rental charge of about £15 (fob key cost) which gives 24-hour access to the facility, and parking costs start from the equivalent of 27p a day for long-term users

Bicycle parking at the train station is great for those cyclists that also have bicycles that costs several thousands pounds, they offers an enhanced level of security compared with the traditional open cycle racks which makes them very popular, particularly among owners of higher-value bikes

How To Protect & Cover A Bicycle Left Outside For Extended Periods?

If your leaving your bicycle outside for a considerable amount of time then you may want to consider additional protective precautions, the first one would be a rain poncho for your bicycle. You’ll want to be careful on the one you choose however, avoid going cheap on a rain poncho for your bicycle as this is likely to lead to an ineffective one

Make sure to choose a heavier nylon based poncho as this will provide superior protection (more durable and waterproof) compared to a lightweight cheaper alternative. Additionally rain ponchos can also be worn while cycling to and from your destination    

Another protective precaution to consider is a one/two, clean and dry cloths, taking along clean and dry cloths will allow you to dry down a damp bicycle frame which prevents rust build up. It’s best to this before throwing the rain poncho over your bicycle, making sure all of the water is dry and wiped away

I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have anything to add, then leave a comment down below. All of the information has been thoroughly researched and I have plenty of real world experience on this issue to add as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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