My garage is too small.
To be fair, most garages are too small, but I have a lot of tools and toys that take up a lot of space that I use regularly, and so I am particularly keen to figure out ways to keep big things out of the way, and yet within reach.
Things like my bicycle, wheelbarrow, and lawn mower.
My first priority is the bicycle. The wheelbarrow and lawn mower can be pushed against the wall and blocked by a parked car without too much inconvenience, since I only use them every couple weeks or so (although I should use the mower more frequently). But I frequently ride my bike to work, and it is a real hassle if my wife’s car has it pinned into a corner when I’m trying to leave for work.
I’ve seen hooks for hanging bikes from the wall, and these are good if you have a lot of unused wall space, but I want to put shelving and other storage options on my walls, so I decided this wouldn’t work
In my hunt for a solution, I also came across bicycle lifts, that would pull a bike up to the ceiling.
These are neat, but my ceilings are only 8 feet, and my bike is nearly 4 feet tall, so I wouldn’t even be able to walk under a bike hung from one of these.
After a little more thinking, I came up with an idea: I could use hooks to hold the bike near the ceiling, and then use the bike lift, or something like it, to pull the bike parallel to the ceiling, effectively laying the bike on the ceiling instead of letting it hang down.
I sketched out my idea.
I came up with this idea on a Wedesday, and I wouldn’t have time to do anything about it until Saturday, but I had to do something with all the plans running around in my head, so I made a mockup in Sketchup…
Saturday morning finally came and I went to buy my supplies and came home ready to build my new hybrid bike lift (catchy name, no?).
I basically followed my shopping list, but instead of buy long hooks and eye bolts, I just decided to lag-screw some 2x4s onto the ceiling and use normal hooks and eye bolts to screw into that. My total cost was about $30, because I bought a nicer rope than I had on hand (would have been about $20 if I had practiced restraint).
I started by picking a spot on my ceiling where it would be accessible even with a car in the garage.
Next I measured the distance between the center of my front and back wheels, this was the distance I would space the hooks from eachother. It was about 42 inches which was nice because I had a scrap 2×4 that was about 48 inches long.
I measured out the location of a couple ceiling joists, and then transferred those measurements onto my 2×4 to drill holes for the lag screws to go through.
I attached this to the ceiling with 5″ lag screws (to get through the layers of fire-rated sheet rock and into the joist), and test-fitted the bike.
You can see in the top right, that I also lag-screwed a board that will serve as the anchor for the pulley, which I attached to an eye bolt by prying the bolt loop open and pinching it shut around the pulley.
I screwed this into the board on the wall and strung my rope through it and down to a cleat that I screwed into a wall stud at a convenient height for hooking and unhooking the rope.
On the bicycle end of the rope I tied a loop and then attached the carabiner to make a quick way to hook onto the bike frame to hoist it onto the ceiling.
The final product:
I’m more than satisfied with this system. It only took a couple hours to complete and keeps my bike completely out of the way. I can freely walk under it (assuming I keep the floor clear) and can quickly take it down when I want to use it.