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Storing a bike on a balcony is a practical solution for people who do not have access to a garage or a dedicated storage space.
Do you need to take any special measures when doing this?
This article explores all aspects of balcony bike storage, including the pros and cons.
9 Bike Storage Ideas For Your Balcony
There are various things to think about when storing a bike on a balcony, and several items of equipment might be used.
1. Bike Cover
A bike cover will protect your bike against adverse weather such as sweeping rain. On many balconies, a bike could easily get wet if exposed, which in turn leads to rust on steel bikes, nuts and bolts, fenders and racks, and parts of the drivetrain.
If your balcony is regularly exposed to the sun, a cover will also help prevent UV damage to components like the tires and saddle.
Another valid use for a bike cover, if you have a valuable bike, is that it conceals the type of bike you have. Bike thieves usually have to see the prize before they’re attracted by it, and bikes do get stolen off of balconies.
Read more: Bike covers for racks and transportation
2. Bike Tent
Outdoor Bike Storage and Mobility Scooter Shelter | Bicycle Cover and #Garden Bike Storage Shed | Tidy Tent Large Bike Cover | Portable…#Accessories #BikeCovers #QualityProducts #SaverDeal #Sports— Warehouse Offers (@warehouseoffers) August 18, 2022
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An alternative to a bike cover is a bike tent, which you can set up on a balcony to protect your bike(s) from any windswept rain. One benefit of a tent is that you may achieve better airflow than with a cover, thus reducing condensation.
A downside to a tent is that it’s likely to take up more of your balcony space than a cover. And if you’re leaving it open, you need to orient it in a way that doesn’t leave your bike visible, especially if it has any value.
3. Bike Locks
While almost every lock we tested can be demolished in under a minute, the @kryptonitelock New-U Evolution Mini-7 has a 13-millimeter hardened shackle that can withstand bolt cutters, eliminating a large percentage of potential thieves. https://t.co/DNZ8GWWs4M pic.twitter.com/r708ELokvO— Wirecutter (@wirecutter) March 22, 2019
You might think you don’t need to lock a bike on a balcony, but you do if it’s within reach of a ladder. As well, it’s conceivable that burglars will break into an apartment and gain access to the balcony.
It’s often advised that you should spend 10% of the bike’s value on a lock. U-locks with thick shackles or heavy-duty chain locks are usually best.
If you use multiple high-quality locks, all different, you create more of an obstacle for burglars or thieves. Time is a natural enemy of the bike thief, especially if he/she is within view of the neighbors in your block.
4. Balcony Security
Another way to protect your bike from theft is to make the balcony as uninviting as possible to thieves. If it’s a murky platform that not many people can see, it’s more of a natural target.
Consider taking measures such as installing security PIR lights, CCTV cameras, or even fake security system signs.
Security measures don’t always have to be the real deal as long as they’re convincing enough to put thieves off.
On the subject of space, you may have too much stuff on your balcony to accommodate a bike as well. Or maybe you just want to keep the space you have for yourself. One way to solve this is to hook the bike(s) up to the balcony above or a wall.
Naturally, the hooks must be secure enough to protect your bikes and anyone below.
Hanging bikes upside down by their wheels does not harm them, though if you have a prize bike with expensive “hoops” you may prefer to keep the bike standing and covered.
6. Bike Rack
Another space-saving idea is to buy a bike rack to hold your bike upright. Bikes are often awkward things to lean against a wall or railings, as their handlebars get in the way. (Bikes do exist with folding handlebars, by the way, to address this).
If you lean your bike against anything uneven, the front wheel often turns and the bike starts to fall over. Then you lean it at more of an angle to get gravity on your side, but you take up more space in the process. A bike rack solves these issues.
Video: Storing A Bike With A Folding Handlebar
7. Bungee Cords
Bungee cords are handy things to have if you want to make sure your bike stays upright or if you want to secure it to something else (e.g., another bike). They’re also practical to use with balcony railings.
You can also use bungee cords to make sure a bike cover doesn’t flap in the wind and expose part of the bike to the elements. Wrapping some cords around the outside ensures that.
8. Indoor Covers
For added security or protection against the weather, maybe there are times when you could keep the bike indoors. This could be in a living room overnight or during the daytime if there’s no one at home.
You can buy indoor-suitable bike covers to protect interior décor from grime and grease. Velosock is a reputable brand, but there are others.
One way to store your bike on a balcony is by disassembling it. In other words, you take it apart, but only usually to a degree. It might only involve taking the front wheel off and storing the divided bike in a bag.
A reason for doing this is so the bike can be stored in a more compact space. It may also be a more discreet method of bike storage, perhaps making it palatable (or invisible) to the company that runs your apartment block.
What Are The Cons Of Storing Bikes On Balconies?
There are drawbacks to balcony bike storage, as convenient as it may seem.
You might think a bike can be left unlocked on your balcony. And that is probably true on a 20th floor, but plenty of people have had bikes stolen from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th floors of an apartment block.
At lower heights, thieves can use a ladder to access your balcony or even climb up. It’s a bit brazen, but it has been known, and it’s more likely if the balcony is not visible to many others. Sometimes, thieves bet on no one intervening.
You may need to be wary of your neighbors as well as outside thieves, depending on where you live. If they can scale one or two balconies or hook your bike to a piece of rope, you could lose it.
If you keep an extremely valuable bike on a balcony, you might even tempt someone to break into your apartment to get at it.
Video: News Report – Bike Theft From A Low Balcony
A balcony offers a degree of protection to a bike against the elements, but ultimately the bike is still outside. And this can create problems unless you cover the bike or drag it indoors occasionally.
How much you care about exposing your bike to the weather probably depends on how valuable the bike is. But even a low-value bike needs to be rideable.
Read more: How to store a bike outside
Dust & Debris
Unlike most garages, a balcony regularly gathers dust and debris. If you live near an industrial or farming area, you’re likely to experience more dust than most.
A dusty environment is not ideal for the drivetrain of a bike, especially, so this makes an argument in favor of a bike cover.
Rules & Regulations
As apartment blocks tend to be governed by management companies or homeowner associations, you may be breaking their rules by keeping a bike on a balcony.
In many residences worldwide, the exterior appearance of apartments must be uniform and tidy. You might be limited in how you can use a balcony or what you can store on it. Thus, the whole idea of balcony bike storage could be a non-starter.
Can I Leave My Bike On The Balcony During Summer Or Winter?
You can leave a bike on a balcony during any season, but there are things you should be aware of before doing so.
Summer is less harmful to a bike than winter. However, long periods of sun exposure can cause UV degradation to various bike parts. Tires are particularly susceptible.
The color of a bike’s finish can also fade after prolonged exposure to the sun. Most paints have UV inhibitors in them, however, and it would take a constant beating by the sun to fade your bike frame.
Winter is more likely to harm your bike, mostly through the increased chance of moisture or rain. In the cold, a covered bike can easily end up coated in condensation, which isn’t any better for it than rain.
Unless you dry a bike off regularly, it’s likely to rust after getting wet. Steel bike parts are the ones that rust, including a steel bike frame if there are any scratches in the finish.
Extreme cold may also freeze vital bike parts like derailleurs or cables. You’d need to warm the bike up and dry it off to make it rideable again.
Carbon in cold conditions is not prone to any meaningful damage. Nor, obviously, does it rust. Neither do other metal frames rust, like titanium or aluminum, at least not in the same way as steel. Aluminum oxidizes and forms a protective patina.
As long as you pay attention to the weather and are aware of its likely effects, you can still store your bike on the balcony.