So it's time to put your bikes in a shed? Good idea! It will stop them cluttering up your home. And if you choose wisely it will keep them dry, secure and easy to access.
But what size shed will you need to fit your your bikes in?
It's a tricky one to answer as bikes come in loads of different shapes and sizes. But if we look at the average adult bike we can get a rough idea of how much space we need.
And with the average bike in mind, the shed sizes for different numbers of bikes are:
- 1 bike needs a 6' x 2' shed (or 5' x 3')
- 2 bikes needs a 6' x 3' shed (or sometimes 6' x 2')
- 3 bikes needs a 6' x 4' shed (or sometimes 6' x 3')
- 4 bikes needs a 6' x 5' shed (or sometimes 6' x 4')
- 5 bikes needs a 6' x 5' shed (or sometimes 6' x 4')
Please bear in mind these are estimates only! The best way to work out what shed size you need is to put your bikes together, measure them up and then check the internal dimensions of various sheds.
You can see how I've calculated these estimates at the bottom of the page.
But here are some examples of people squeezing different numbers of bicycles into different size bike sheds! I'll add more as I find them...
Suncast 5' x 3' Shed
Keter 5' x 3' Shed
It would be great if those who already store their bikes in sheds could add comments describing how many bikes and of what type they are keeping in what size shed!
So the average adult bike is 69" (175 cm) long. Handlebars can vary from between 15 - 18" (38 - 46 cm) for road bikes to 20 - 24" (51 - 61 cm) for hybrids and mountain bikes. And let's say the average height is 42" (105 cm).
You'll need some extra room around the bike, so let's say the minimum space to store one average size adult bicycle is 71" (180 cm) long, 25" (64 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high.
Now of course you can twist the handlebars to make the bike shorter (and possibly slightly narrower). And this is perfectly valid way to store your bike!
But let's presume we'd like to store our bikes without twisting the handlebars and proceed with these measurements at the moment.
However, I would guess that most people looking for a shed actually want to store two or more bikes in there. So how does that affect the space we need?
If we store the bikes side by side and facing the same way, with a couple of centimeters in between them, we simply increase the width measurement proportionally. So two bikes will require 50" (128 cm). And three bikes will require 75" (192 cm).
The advantage of this method is that it gives you lots of space in between the frames of the bikes so it's easy to walk between them to pull your bike out. However it's also quite an inefficient use of space.
The alternative is to stagger the handlebars. Either by elevating each alternate bike on a ramp so it's handlebars are above it's neighbors. Or simply by having each alternate bike facing a different way.
If we store multiple bikes like this then we can fit the bikes much closer together, with the space between them determined by the width of the pedals...
The average pedal sticks out from the frame about 8" (20 cm). So if we stagger the pedals and the handlebars, we can probably position them with just 8.5" (22 cm) between the frames of two adjacent bikes.
However if there are two bikes with wider handlebars (> 16" / 40 cm) , even with another bike in between them, if the bikes are facing the same way and the handlebars are aligned, it is still the handlebar width that determines the distance between the bikes.
In this case you may be able to further stagger the bikes lengthwise and slightly turn some of the handlebars to get everything fitting in.
This storage method is very cramped though. And with more than two bikes it becomes difficult to access the ones at the back.
A more generous layout would be to keep overlapping the handlebars but stop overlapping the pedals...
This gives the bikes a bit more room, making it less likely they will get all tangled up. But it's still an efficient use of space.
With all this in mind I worked out the average amount of space for different numbers of average adult bikes...
How much storage space do I need for 1 bike?
A space about 71" (180 cm) long, 25" (64 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high will store one average adult bike comfortably.
This gives us a little bit of space at either end of the bike (2.5 cm). And some space at either end of even the widest average handlebars (1.5 cm).
Many people will have a bike with narrower handlebars than this (for example: every road bike!) and will therefore be able to get away with significantly less shed width.
And some people with very wide mountain bike handles will need a little bit more width, but they might be able to simply twist the handlebars slightly to fit into this space
How much storage space do I need for 2 bikes?
Two average adult bikes facing opposite directions would need a space 71" (180 cm) long, 33" (84 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high.
This is presuming that by facing the two bikes in opposite directions, we can overlap both the handlebars and the pedals. So the only thing keeping the two bikes apart are their own pedals.
It may be that the handlebars of one bike clash with the seat of the other one. But there should be enough space to offset the bikes length ways and turn the handlebars slightly so everything fits.
How much storage space do I need for 3 bikes?
For three average adult bikes we'll need a space 71" (180 cm) long, 42" (106 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high.
Again, this presumes that we alternate the direction of the bikes. So two bikes will face the same direction, with another bike in between them facing the opposite way.
But things start to get more tricky with three bikes!
For starters if both of the bikes facing in the same direction have wider handlebars (> 16" / 40 cm) then there's a chance that the ends of the handlebars will clash, preventing the bikes from being so close.
In most cases staggering the bikes a bit length ways and twisting the handlebars slightly should fix this.
But if you've got three bikes that are used regularly, you've got to start thinking about how you're going to get them in and out of the shed too. It's got to be practical!
If the bikes are positioned perpendicular to the door (across the far wall), then you may have to remove the first two bikes to access the third. And that will get quite annoying quite quickly!
Choosing the right shed can avoid this, but that's a bit beyond the scope of this article. But extra space would help.
Whereas the above measurements should fit three bikes it would be a lot more civilized if they had a bit more room.
If we didn't over lap the pedals for instance, getting the bikes in and out will be much easier. This would need a space 71" (180 cm) long, 57.5" (146 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high.
How much storage space do I need for 4 bikes?
Using the original calculation method (where we overlap the pedals), four average adult bikes will require a space 71" (180 cm) long, 50.5" (128 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high.
If we don't want to overlap the pedals it's more like 71" (180 cm) long, 74" (188 cm) wide and 43" (110 cm) high.
But the thing is: when you've got four bikes side on, you won't be able to lean over and pick the one from the back, whether they're spaced out or not!
How much storage space do I need for 5 bikes?
Five average adult bikes will require a space 71" (180 cm) long and 43" (110 cm) high. And then either 59" (150 cm) wide if we don't overlap the pedals.
Or 90.5" (230 cm) if we do...
I think I'm going to stop now. You've got the idea.
Space Required = Shed Size?
You might think it's a simple case of looking for sheds that match the measurements in these calculations.
But sheds are categorized by their exterior dimensions and the interior measurements can be significantly smaller, especially with plastic sheds where the walls can be quite thick.
So while the shed size in the title can give you a basic idea of how much space it contains, it's wise to check the exact internal dimensions.
Don't worry, I've already done this and compiled them into a nice table so you can compare the internal space available in a whole load of different sheds!
To be honest the best way to find out what size shed you need is to actually measure your bikes with a tape measure!
Then check out the internal dimensions of loads of sheds until you find one that meets your exact requirements.
However I hope this page gives you a rough idea of how much space you might need and some tips for the most efficient ways to store your bicycles in a bike shed.
Don't forget, my calculations don't take account of anything else in the shed. If you've got other stuff to store in there, and/or you need space to work on bike while it's on a bike stand, then of course you'll need more space!
What do you think of my general calculations? Are they way off the mark? It would be great if people could post in the comments how many bikes and what size / type they are storing in what size sheds...
More Good Stuff:
How to choose a bike shed
Win a Free Bike!
Shed Alarms: 3 of the best