There’s a Bike On the Ceiling

Mark Twain once said, “Get a bicycle, you will not regret it if you live.” I cannot agree with him more.

Living deep within the traffic gridlock of Chicago, we find that bicycling is the easiest and most efficient mode of transportation. Meeting some friends for dinner in Bucktown? Hop on your bike, and you’re there in mere minutes. For free. No waiting for the bus or train, no cash cabs, and no paying to park. It’s fast, free, efficient travel at it’s finest – with a catch. There’s always a catch. Bikes are big; urban living quarters are not. Our solution? Hang those bad boys on the ceiling!

Our original inspiration for this project was our good friend Michael, who at one point shared a cozy studio apartment with five bicycles (yes, all of them belonged to him) while managing to avoid feeling cramped. His execution was a bit more elaborate than ours, as he had access to a professional-grade wood shop at the time, but you get the idea. If you’re up for the challenge, this is actually a pretty simple project. Maybe around an hour or two, start to finish, if you fancy yourself a handyman (or woman.)

Start by taking some simple measurements (remember: measure twice, drill once!). I’ve found that 44 inches is a near perfect width between hooks, as it seems to accommodate nearly any size or type of bicycle. You’ll also need to keep in mind that the handlebars are the widest point of any bike, so make sure you’re far enough from nearby walls to keep your bikes hanging nice and vertical. I placed my inner-most hook about 14 inches off of the dark blue wall, but your measurements may vary. Also be sure to allow space for the area between the (upright) lowest point of the wheel and the wall that the (inverted) bike will face; 16 inches in our case. This all may seem a bit confusing, but the photo below illustrates how the bikes line up with one another (while hanging from their respective hooks) and their relationship with the 3 surrounding walls. (Not to mention, probably the most bizarre photo I’ve asked my lovely wife to snap for the sake of YBH).

The measurements are the most time consuming aspect of this project, so once you’ve checked (and re-checked) all of your numbers, you’re ready to move on to power tools. I simply cut four squares from standard two x fours, which I painted with simple, acrylic white paint. From here, drill your center hole, and an equally spaced hole at each corner (again with the measuring).

Now that your squares are cut and holes are drilled, let’s put some holes in that perfect sea of flat-white drywall, shall we? I simply lined my blocks up straight with the walls using some simple measurements (more numbers!) and marked all of my points through the holes using a pencil. Using a studfinder, I was able to make sure that my hole locations were safe, then poked 8 holes right through the drywall with my handy power drill.

I’ve found Hilti Toggler Bolts to be among the greatest products known to man, and this application is no exception. Simply place the brass end of the toggle through each corner of your blocks, then through the drywall, tighten and bam! You’ve got four chunks of two x four stuck to your ceiling. Touch up those glaring screw heads with your paint, and you’re good to go. You could also caulk around them for a more finished look, but my plan is to cover them with decorative fence post caps.

Once you’re happy with the look of your new wood blocks, simply screw in a set of bicycle storage hooks and you’re done!

In total, this project will set you back about twenty bones, and save you a whole lot of priceless floor space. It could easily be accomplished without the hassle of wood blocks and anchors if you have a bit more space, and you can screw your hooks right through the drywall and into a wood stud. But if that were the case, you probably wouldn’t be worrying about hanging your bikes on the ceiling, now would you?

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  • Susan @ Jubilee Furniture1.25.10 - 8:24 AM

    Scott – Love the solution you and Kim found for storing your bikes! Not only a perfect answer to a tough storage question – but the bikes add interest to the room. Kim – nice photos too!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian1.25.10 - 9:55 AM

    just a tiny bit freaky when you’re sleeping below them! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Nathan1.25.10 - 10:20 AM

    I saw something similar on a design show, except, they built a wooden frame, and actually framed their bikes on the wall, like a work of art. In their modern chic apartment, it went quite well, adding functional storage, as well as artistic value.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.25.10 - 12:50 PM

      Nathan, this sounds wonderful! Hmm, something to consider.ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Twenty-Six 2 Life1.25.10 - 11:06 AM

    This is just too cool!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle1.25.10 - 12:00 PM

    It almost looks like art on the ceiling! Cool idea for city living :-)ReplyCancel

  • Kelly1.25.10 - 1:14 PM

    I agree with Jillian – hehe! After the initial shock, you get over it pretty quick though :)ReplyCancel

  • Kalli1.25.10 - 2:44 PM

    yeah, for someone who wasn’t around to see the sturdy installation of said hanging bikes, it is a little nervewracking to walk or sleep underneath them. I guess I’ve also been living in an earthquake-prone place long enough that I worry a little extra about stuff like that. But I think it is a smart solution for saving space.ReplyCancel

  • Scott1.25.10 - 3:30 PM

    Don’t worry, everybody… the bikes only weigh 25 or 30 pounds each. It wouldn’t hurt too bad if they fell while you slept :)ReplyCancel

  • micah1.25.10 - 7:11 PM

    Way to make the most of your space!ReplyCancel

  • Peter1.28.10 - 9:38 AM

    I’m finally posting!! Whoo! Scott, I really like this idea. I think I may use it… er, wait. Oh, and for the guys out there, I think that I should also say that bikes off the floor = happy wife. And happy wife = happy life. Therefore, lots of happiness.ReplyCancel

  • Kim1.28.10 - 2:24 PM

    Peter, you are so right.ReplyCancel

  • Ursula Graham1.29.10 - 7:52 PM

    This is WAY cool! If we ever run into storage problems I’m going to use it as an excuse to attach bikes to our ceiling. :) I’m kind of sad that will probably never happen. Great job though!ReplyCancel

  • michael2.16.10 - 4:32 PM

    i made it onto the blog! nice blocks! nice bikes!ReplyCancel

  • Dee3.11.10 - 2:15 PM

    Curious – how high are your ceilings? How far do your bikes drop down into your head room? Do you ever find it to be in the way?ReplyCancel

    • Scott3.11.10 - 7:27 PM

      Hi Dee! Our ceilings are 9 1/2 feet tall and the bikes hang down about 44″ at their lowest point. Since I’m around 5’10”, I can walk below them with a couple inches of clearance. A couple of our friends who utilize the guest room are a bit taller than me, but it never really becomes an issue since the bikes hang over the sideboard. Hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Paul3.23.10 - 8:08 AM

    Love the wall colors Kim, I bet your parents would love to have you and Scott come out to their house while they are on vacation and paint it for them.ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.23.10 - 7:47 PM

      Yes, I bet a lot of parents would like that done for them, especially while on vacation – dad!ReplyCancel

  • Kim4.10.10 - 12:37 PM

    I absolutely love this idea. My bf rides a bmx bike because he had way too much fun on it as a kid to give up and I have a mountain bike that I ride back and fourth to work everyday. We are always tripping over our bikes and having to move them around in our tiny apt. I am making this #1 on my to-do list. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Scott10.4.10 - 8:48 PM

    Kim, we’d love to see how it turns out! Shoot some photos our way when you finish!ReplyCancel

  • […] love it! Of course, ours isn’t the only method. I think the solution the fine folks at Yellow Brick Home came up with is just as elegant and even more visually […]ReplyCancel

  • Amber9.12.11 - 4:32 PM

    I am totally going to get Dom to hook us up (har har) with this in our house!! We have, oh, about 8 bikes! Yikes!ReplyCancel

  • […] you have zero space, strong arms, and multiple bikes, the ceiling hook solution is a cost-effective way to go. For about $50 and an afternoon’s work, tops, you can do this […]ReplyCancel


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