September 2023

Bike Storage at Home: #SpokesComp results

Storing your bike, or family bikes, is impossibly hard for some people and a doddle for others (until a thief calls!) Our Summer Competition showed just how important it is, but also how complex and difficult it can be, and how it depends so much on personal circumstances such as where you live and whether you rent or own your home. People lucky enough to have a garage, or secure outside space, can own multiple bikes, whereas others may find storing even one bike is a real challenge.

[Later: factsheet based on the competition entries]

A great deal of ingenuity was shown in the competition entries, but for many people the options were limited. As our top prizewinner said, “One thing for sure – retrofitting bike storage isn’t an easy problem to solve!

The lessons for a Council aiming for high bike use, in a city with many flats and tenements, and deprived areas, are profound, and emphasise the necessity for low cost, widely available, secure residential storage.

The Cyclehoop bike hangars now increasingly provided on Edinburgh residential streets are a great boon for many – but waiting lists are long and costs are high, particularly for families. A restored city bike hire scheme would also help many residents for whom storage is problematic or impossible.


1st prize – Karen Esslemont

Getting bike shed permission in a Conservation Area

In the days before the Spokes bike sheds campaign succeeded (see below), Karen applied (costing ~£100) for planning permission to install a bike shed – permission was refused. By promising to restore historic iron railings at the same time (obviously very expensive!) she eventually persuaded the planners to give the ok.

It was a hard won and costly process which for a young family, wanting to do the right thing, should have been much easier

2nd prize – Rosanna Rabaeijs

A bespoke & upcycled bike shelter

Using cast-off materials to create a cheap, cheerful and effective shelter in a space too narrow for a shed.

3rd prize – Paul Ince

Simple homemade wooden shed

Another simple, practical and innovative outdoor solution, with a door which doubles as an undercover area for work on the bike

“I was very pleased with the outcome, and it was substantially cheaper than buying a ready-made unit”

Our judges loved innovative pro-active solutions, but whilst our top 3 prizewinners all had outdoor space available, many other entries were indoors, and a few in garages. We hope to cover such themes in a forthcoming factsheet based on the competition entries, but here are a few pictures. Click on the thumbnail image to see the caption, then click the picture under the caption for full size.

Several entries brought a smile to our face – some of those above, but especially this, taken from the Asgard bike sheds website.

There were also messages for the politicians, including..

A poem for councillors, on bike storage provision

So much of our public room belongs to cars

But safe space for bikes is very sparse.

I really wish it would be more extensive

And also rather inexpensive!

Affordable bikes are only half of the equation

For active travel facilitation.

We also need safe cycle infrastructure and secure bike storage

And sadly for both of those Edinburgh still has a big shortage.

And for MSPs, on tenants’ rights

“I have been warned to keep my bike outdoors, but I can’t afford the risk of losing it or the damage that would entail, so I have attached a covering against the wall that might otherwise be scratched by my pedals, and around an internal door. At the end of my tenancy, if it comes to it, I’ll have to argue the toss as to whether these mitigations that improve my well-being by enabling my cycling are in fact, damage for which I should be liable.”


See the full set of prize-winner and runner-up entries in this 10mb pdf.


Some of the main themes to emerge in the entries are listed here. We hope to produce a Bike Storage factsheet which goes into the themes in more detail.

  • Overall – the difficulties, complexities, and some ingenious solutions.
  • Bike storage inside a flat
  • Bike storage within the building – e.g. tenement stairwell
  • Bike storage outdoors – e.g. sheds – including the successful 10-year Spokes campaign to ease the rules on planning permission in Edinburgh and Scotland-wide
  • Bike storage in garages
  • Owning lots of bikes
  • Living in rented property
  • Theft from home (& recovery)
  • Bike storage for families/ children
  • Comparisons with car storage


The top prizewinner gets to choose their prize from the list, second chooses second, and so on.

* This voucher may only be used for the purpose stated above. It may only be used by the winner and is not transferable. It must be used at an Edinburgh or Lothians independent bike shop which is not one of the major national chains. We will pay the shop direct.

** Your buff will show a section of either our Edinburgh or our Midlothian map (your choice)


Many thanks to you if you entered, even if you didn’t win this time.

Thanks also to the organisers from Spokes Resources Group

Thank you, the judges – Dave, Kate and Rosie from Spokes Resources Group, David from Spokes Planning Group, and our external judge, Spokes member and Councillor, Chas Booth.


  • Look through our full set of entries carefully – do any inspire you to try the same?  Are there any you could recommend to friends, colleagues or family?
  • See the results of our many previous exciting, amusing and/or interesting competitions here.
  • If you’ve a great idea for a future competition, let us know!  A topic that is useful to other people and which most people are able to enter is what we need (so, for example, school travel would not be suitable)
  • Please retweet our tweet about this article.

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