It won't be long now before children all across the country drag their bicycle out from its winter resting spot and - after a bit of maintenance - head off on a cycling adventure with friends.
While seeing kids on bicycles along streets, sidewalks and trails is a typical connotation with summer, so to is seeing driveways and lawns littered with bikes laying down where they have been left by their owner. If you are regularly asking your son or daughter (and their friends) to pick up their bikes, or just doing it yourself out of frustration, consider setting up a user-friendly bike storage system that your kids will have no difficulty using - and no excuse for not using either.
If budget is an issue, or if you are just looking for a do-it-yourself project to tackle as a family, consider making your own bike rack. There are several ideas available on the Internet and with a few simple pieces of material, such as some sheets of plywood or PVC pipe, you can have a custom-made bike storage system that will help keep things neat and is incredibly easy for kids to use. Keep it in the backyard, garage or carport and make the rack large enough to also house the bikes of your children's friends when they stop by. Entice your kids to use this storage idea by allowing them to decorate your DIY bike rack with colourful paints and stickers to really make it "theirs."
Should your bike storage system also need to help mitigate the amount of space that bikes take up in your shed or garage then you might be better off with a ceiling mounted bicycle lift. These devices come outfitted with pulleys to raise and lower bikes, which keeps them conveniently out of the way when not in use. Available at a reasonable cost through a wide range of retailers across Canada (including Canadian Tire and Lowes), the easy-to-use pulley mechanism of these lifts makes this a terrific solution for kids' bikes. They'll be able to grab their bicycle quickly, put it away when they return and have fun while doing so! What's really ideal about these lifts is that they also make the most of the un-used roof section of your shed or garage.
Another option to consider, particularly if everyone in your family has their own bicycle, is to install a shed specifically to store bicycles. Obviously, this is not a viable solution for everyone since it does require a substantial amount of available space on your property and is certainly not the most economic option, but it will help keep all of the family's bicycles together in one spot. You could even use this as a test to see how your kids would do with the responsibility of having a house key; if you're going to keep this bicycle shed locked (and we highly recommend that as a good idea), give your son or daughter a copy of the shed key so they can take out their bike and put it away without having to ask for your assistance.
Bicycles are an investment and with a little bit of thought put into a storage option that best fits your family's needs, you'll be able to ensure that your children's bicycles hold up against weather and wear - that is, until they outgrow them.
By Erin Kelly