Early on in the designing process Drew and I ran into a problem. We both like to use bicycles for transportation, so we certainly want to keep them with us in our house, but we couldn’t figure out where to store them. We looked up creative bike storage solutions, and while many of them would work for ‘normal’ houses, none would fit in our house. We considered creating a pulley-storage system where we’d attach the bikes to cables and hoist them up to hang from the roof in the great room. But besides the possibility of hitting our heads on them every time we ascend or descend from the loft, we didn’t like the idea of tracking road grit into the house or onto the ceiling. So that left exterior storage. We have no idea where we’ll be parking and we don’t know if we’ll have access to a water-resistant garage, so our system needed to be independent of where we are located. We definitely want to keep our bikes out of the elements since we plan to use them often. So what should we do?
We came up with the idea of building a bicycle storage box on the tongue of the trailer. We have around three feet horizontally and four feet vertically to work with. We built a floor frame with 2x2s and put it on the trailer. Then we brought our bikes to the work-site and tried it out based on our dimensions. They fit! BUT of course there’s a caveat. Our bikes can stand up in that space, but this would create a very shallow roof pitch for the box. Since our box is right under the kitchen window, we don’t have very much height to work with – especially since we still need to add trim to the bottom of the window.
So how could we get both bikes to fit easily? We already decided the box would be accessible from either side – basically the doors will fold down into a ramp that we can use to roll the bikes into the box. Smart, right? Theoretically yes, if we could figure out how to get our bikes to fit…
So we brainstormed and came up with a solution. Since Drew’s bike is larger than mine, Drew agreed to take off his front tire whenever he stores his bike. We tried the process and he could complete the whole thing in under a minute. We then put the bikes on the floor frame and were able to create a much steeper roof pitch! (It’s even deeper than our dormers, which are a shallow 12 degrees.) We had a solution!
Next we set to making the box. We used 2x2s because they’re thinner than 2x4s, which allowed for more interior space.
We added six vertical studs to each long side of the box and cut roofing rafters at a 14 degree angle so that they lined up with the studs. We used rafter ties for support since we’ll be facing hurricane-force winds on the road.
Then we cut plywood sections for the front wall and roof, glued and drilled them in place, then set to covering the whole thing with tar paper. We started at the base and worked our way up under the kitchen window. We tucked the top ends under the existing tar paper around the window, sealed the whole thing with flashing tape, and nailed it in with the same kind of cap nails we used for the roof.
Next, it was onto the doors. This was tricky because we needed to account for the hinge at the base of the doors, which could interfere with whatever trim we used on the door. We decided to use reclaimed cedar boards from a local beekeeper friend of Drew’s dad (the same as the kind we used for behind the water and electrical outputs) for the door. We also routed a groove around the edges of the door so that the door would fit snugly into the frame when closed and keep water out. We tucked the edges of the tar paper in around the frame and attached cedar trim on the exterior opening.
This is as far as we’ve gotten at this point. Now it’s time to build the actual doors! Keep an eye out for part two!