Vertical Bike Rack

January 18, 2014

The work of our hands!

A little backstory: We bought two bikes as soon as we could after moving here, so we could both bike to work. After a few uneventful months of chaining up our bikes next to our car in the carport of our apartment building, Justin’s bike was stolen. (Mine was mysteriously left behind, together with Justin’s pannier, which the thieves helpfully folded up and placed on top of my bike. My only guess is that the chain holding my bike was harder to cut than the chain on Justin’s.) Since then, we’ve kept our bikes inside, hauling them up and down two flights of stairs to our third-floor apartment every time we take them out, which is usually a few times a week. Ugh. Better than buying a new bike every few months, though.

We needed a rack that would keep the bikes off the floor, off the walls, and in as small a footprint as possible, without requiring us to drill into or otherwise damage the walls (or floor or ceiling). This proved a challenge to find. I figured we could build our own rack, which would be made of minimal components & would suit our requirements exactly, for the same price as one online that wouldn’t work as well - and convinced Justin to help. A few inspirations were this cool rack and the more typical vertical rack. (Of course, there are also tons of DIY versions out there, most of them pretty ugly and involving lots of pieces of wood.) The result is as you see:


1 4’x8' sheet of plywood

1 4x4 square post

2 angle brackets

2 bike hooks

a bunch of screws

We cut the post and plywood down to size at Home Depot, and then at home, screwed it all together with a power drill. The bike hooks required us to pre-drill holes into the post and then screw them in by hand. The end result is a surprisingly stable and sturdy rack, that sits against the wall for extra stability but is actually free-standing. The trick was to design it so the weight of the bikes goes straight down through the bikes to the floor, rather than pulling on the rack itself. The hooks keep the bikes from rolling away. You could try installing the hooks higher so the bikes hang by the front wheels, rather than rest on their rear wheels, but this seemed safer. All the screws are on the back of the rack, going through the plywood into the post, so the final result is pretty clean. If you’re interested in making your own and need some tips, let me know! It’s pretty simple to build!