To the everyday cyclist, there are good reasons to hang a bike on the wall: no more getting jabbed in the ribs by a handlebar or doing a shin-plant into a cleated pedal on your way out the door.
An elevated bike is a space-saver – gold in today’s cramped city dwellings. Yet drab utility hooks don’t offer much incentive for the breed of riders that cares about both their pedals and their pads (and their shins). What if the bike rack could be a conversation piece? Something to be admired for both its good looks and craftsmanship. As it happens, a growing number of designers are turning to witty and stylish ways to address indoor bike storage.
Jeff Mayer, a former BMX pro turned designer of bikes, benches and other small furnishings, came up with a chic bike holder out of necessity. The BKLYN Designs furniture show wouldn’t allow him to exhibit one of his bikes because “it didn’t count as furniture,” so he designed a bespoke rack, securing himself – and his wheels – a place. A curvy, carved wooden triangle, the rack wouldn’t feel out of place mounted above a teak Danish sideboard in a mid-century-modern living room.
“We custom-match the line in the bike rack to match the frame line, so that it mimics the frame perfectly,” Mayer says of the Baltic birch rack (it can be made of other types of woods) that starts at $700 and sells through his Brooklyn-based company Seven One Eight Design (seven-one-eight.com). “They’re not cheap, but we’re blown away by the interest in them.” Mayer gets about 50 inquiries a week from all over the world. And the wait time for each one is three to four weeks.
Tamasine Osher’s Pedal Pod is also a work of art: a clean-lined shelf of boxes that hold bicycle accessories (or other objects) as well as the bike itself. It’s crafted from solid oak or walnut and starts at £395 ($722). “I made it for the design-conscious cyclist,” says the Britain-based designer (tamasineosher.com). “It’s also a standalone piece of furniture.”
The same can be said for DIMINI. The cute, wall-mounted birdhouse made of mahogany and plywood by Toronto’s Lauren Thomas is a simple dwelling for bike and helmet that has a youthful vibe – and price. It costs $115, and could free up space in a foyer or a space-challenged dorm room (dimini.ca).
But not all stylish racks require a hammer. “Last year, I started to ride a fixed-gear bicycle and I realized I had no space to store it,” says Danilo Calvache, a designer in Buenos Aires, whose online search turned up “poorly, ugly, industrial racks.” His Tol Hanger, a minimalist powder-coated metal rack that sells for $55, is mobile and can be moved on a whim (danilocalvache.com). The beauty of the Tol Hanger and many of these new racks in general is that they are multifunctional – can double as a coat rack or umbrella stand – and look great on their own.
But as far as popularity contests go in home decor, nothing beats the mounted animal head. Ross Dolton’s Trophy Wild Bicycle Holder (starting at £66) bucks the trend, doing double-duty as a practical way to hang your bike (cutely cradled on the antlers) and a nice piece for your hipster condo (outlineworksltd.com). Available in fun colours including sky blue and neon green, the animal silhouettes in soft-touch plastic or short-fur finish – with fuzzy screws to match – won the best product award at last year’s Home London Show. “There are few good-looking solutions for indoor bike racks,” Dolton says. “[Mine] are functional wall art, a rack that you wouldn’t mind having on your wall, even without a bike.”