Bike storage seems easy, just keep it out of the sun and rain. Bike storage isn’t complex, you just need to make sure that you’ve taken care of all of your bases. There’s a bit more to it than just getting it indoors.
Will a bike rust in a shed or garage?
The answers are right ahead, let’s go ahead and pedal into your situation!
Will a Bike Rust in a Shed?
A shed will protect your bike from the elements and slow down rust, but whether it will stop it entirely depends on the shed’s construction. With proper storage, it’s a non-issue, but many cyclists have opened their shed to be dismayed at the rust on their bicycle.
Sheds are built with varying quality. An internally lit, airtight shed with a subfloor is going to protect your bike much more than a corrugated steel building that is loosely tied to the frame.
Sheds produce one big issue no matter what: heat. The interior of most sheds gets quite hot during the summer, which speeds up the chemical reaction which causes rust. Sheds also allow ambient humidity to penetrate them often, another prime factor for rust.
The last major concern is condensation in the morning. Often sheds with an open-air system will collect dew just like the outdoors, creating rust spots quickly and easily.
You’ll still need to perform some basic maintenance and you can take some precautions. See below for some tips.
Will a Bike Rust in a Garage?
A temperature-controlled, airtight garage is a great place to keep your bicycle rust-free. The majority of garages won’t cause any extra rust, so long as you take the standard precautions for bicycle storage.
Unlike sheds, garages are usually built to the same standard as a home. Temperatures can get high but many garages have climate control built-in. Since they’re usually quite airtight, they can also keep out damaging humidity.
The garage is one of the most common places for bike storage, and it’s a great choice if you have one.
How to Prevent Your Bike from Rusting
Rust prevention starts with you. While the area you store your bike in plays a large role, you’ll still need to perform some periodic maintenance to keep rust from forming on the vulnerable components of your bike.
Even if you have a bike with a carbon, titanium, or aluminum frame you’ve still got places vulnerable to rusting. The main place you’ll see problems crop up is the chain and sprockets, where rust can cause a rough ride and the eventual failure of components.
One of the best ways to keep those components from rusting is regular lubrication. For long-term storage, a thick and greasy lubricant can be applied for protection. In an ideal climate that grease can protect those components for years with no further intervention. If you want to learn more, read our article on preventing bike chain from rusting.
Moisture is the main enemy of your bike. Condensation, humidity, and rain can all do damage to your bike when it’s exposed.
For that reason drying your bike after use will help prevent rust over time. If you’re in a shed you may want to check in the early morning to see if water condenses inside. If so, you may have a problem. If other tools seem to rust rapidly in your shed… your bike will too.
You should also wash your bike regularly, which can seem counterintuitive. Salt, such as that in our sweat, can act as a catalyst for rust. On serious rides, it tends to get everywhere, and regular washing should be part of your bike maintenance. Just remember to dry thoroughly when you’re done.
Of course, proper lubrication of the drive chain of your bike is another big pillar of rust prevention for bicycles. Lube coats the surfaces of metal, creating a barrier to moisture that will help prevent rust.
Lastly, regular tune-ups and inspections are essential. Whether it’s you or the bike mechanic taking things apart, it can help identify problem areas before they become unfixable. Small amounts of rust can be fixed quickly at home, but large amounts do permanent damage as they weaken the metal.
Lastly, be mindful of where you keep your bicycle. A shed or garage is fine, but you need to know which factors to account for. If a shed lets in rain, for instance, you should tarp off your bike.
Tips for Storing Your Bike in a Shed / Garage
Storing your bike in a shed or garage is a much better idea than doing it outdoors, but it can be a lot easier if you think it through. The following tips should help you ensure rust-free storage.
1. Use an Indoor Bike Cover
Bike covers aren’t just for the outdoors.
They can help keep a bike even safer when it’s stored inside, and there are even indoor bike covers made that just cover the wheels and pedals of the bike. You can also use a tarp to protect the bike.
In any case, the cover that you use should not be airtight. If it is, you’ll exacerbate any moisture problems.
It also can’t be too open, since that will just allow the elements to penetrate the bike.
It’s a fine balance to walk, but when you’ve got it your bike will be protected better than ever before.
2. Oil Before Storage
Putting your bike up for the winter?
If so, you should clean and lubricate the chain and sprockets before you put it up. The fresh layer of oil will protect the bike for the long term.
If you’re planning on putting a bike up indefinitely, use a thicker lube than you’d normally use. Grease coatings are used to transport chains for a reason: they keep down rust. You can use that to your advantage and have a bike that just needs reinflated tires in a couple of years.
In any case, always clean and lubricate your chain before you store your bike long-term.
3. Use Overhead Storage to Make Space
If you can’t find a spot for your bike in the garage, it’s not doomed to sit outdoors. Try finding or making an overhead rack to hold the bike off the floor, or even above everything else if you have a high enough garage ceiling.
There are a lot of racks to choose from.
If you ride a heavier bike design like a cruiser, you may want to set up a pulley as well. This will allow you to get the bike up to the rafters for storage more easily, and make you more likely to put the bike where it goes when you’re done riding.
4. Consider a Tent Shed
If you have room in your yard, you may want to consider using a bicycling tent shed. These are small, airtight tents that are made specifically for bike storage.
They’re one of the best ways to do things, apart from just bring your bike into the house.
These tent sheds can be readily found online. Just make sure that you check the reviews and double-check the size before you make an order to avoid any unpleasant surprises
They can be a bit pricey, but some even have locks to make them more secure overall.
5. Oil Your Locks Before Long Term Storage
Some things you have to learn from experience, and this is one of them. Most people lock their bike up in some fashion, but lock maintenance isn’t the sexiest topic. Often we’ll just discard “standard” locks when they begin to rust.
Unless you really like to cut dangerously close to an expensive bike with an angle grinder, it’s best to oil the locks before you put a bike away for long-term storage. The internal components can rust together and ruin the lock… which means cutting it off.
By all means, keep your bike safe. Just make sure to add a couple of drops of 3-in-1 to the lock if you’ll be putting the cycle up for a season or more.