Make your garage and home bicycle-friendly
By Steve Graham, Networx
The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation ever devised, and it delivers a whole-body workout. Cycling consumes far fewer calories per mile traveled than cars, buses, or even walking. It is sometimes the fastest way to get around a city. Cyclists can zip around traffic jams and don't have to fight for a parking spot because they can bring the vehicle home -- maybe. Many homes aren't bicycle-friendly, so bikes are either not used or not purchased. Instead, try altering your home to accommodate biking or altering your bike to accommodate your home.
Reshape Your Space for Your Bike
A bicycle doesn't ask for much. It just needs a safe, dry spot away from thieves and vandals. Even maintenance isn't an issue. Occasional in-home repairs and tune-ups just require an old towel for catching grease drips, a bottle of degreaser, and a toolset that fits under a bike saddle. Most homes or garages have enough space to attach heavy-duty hooks and hang a bike. You can get a pair of vinyl-coated steel hooks for about $2. The slick bike claw costs more, but makes hanging a bike even easier. Instead of awkwardly maneuvering over a J-hook, the tire pushes up on a button that lowers two hooks around the rim. Push up again and release the hooks to pull the bike down.
If lifting a bike is impractical, try the bike hoist. It uses pulleys to help you do the heavy lifting. Of course, make sure any bike hooks are screwed in to studs and rafters, not drywall. Also, if you walk past the bike regularly, turn it so the chain faces toward the wall. That will reduce greasy mishaps if you get too close to the gears.
Another option that won't put holes in the ceiling is a bike stand. This $100 model turns a set of four bikes into an art installation. Either way, keep the bike accessible. If you have to move the mower and a workbench to get your bike on its hooks, you won't be likely to take the bike off its hooks. If your bike is competing for space with a stair climber or other exercise equipment, turn the bike into an indoor exerciser with a resistance trainer stand .
Finally, if your neighborhood is safe but you just can't find room for a bike inside, get a nylon bike cover.
Reshape Your Bike for Your Space
If a bike just won't fit inside, try changing the bike. Folding bikes are designed to conveniently fit on trains and buses -- or in a small apartment. They range from a classic $250 commuter bike to a touring bike that packs into a suitcase. A folding bike may also solve the problem of carrying a heavy, awkward bike up several flights of stairs. But if weight is the only issue, check local classified ads for a light used bike that can be carried up the stairs.
With a perfect spot at home for the perfect bike, there is no excuse to not get on the bike, get some energy-efficient exercise and reduce your carbon footprint.
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