Stylish Storage: Build a Bike Rack as Cool as Your Ride

Unorganized? Make an industrial-style storage rack that will show off your bike and keep your commuting gear together.

By: Paul Cox
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I wake up with the best intentions to leave my house on time. But something always gets in the way -- me.

I'm pretty unorganized about prepping for a morning bike ride, whether meeting friends to knock out a local loop or when I commute by bike to the office. I've lost countless blinking tail lights, it's not uncommon for me to take off on a ride without a water bottle, and my desperate morning searches for misplaced keys could wake the dead -- or at least my 8-year-old daughter.

I suspect I'm not the only cyclist who is a morning mess, so I gave Atlanta wood and metal artist Jon Briggs Foster a call about building a bike rack for small spaces that also would help me keep track of some must-have bike commuter items. 

Bike Storage Rack

Bike Storage Rack

Keep your bike and commuter gear together with a stylish and sturdy bike rack made from pipe fittings.

©Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Keep your bike and commuter gear together with a stylish and sturdy bike rack made from pipe fittings.

The result: a clever, industrial-style design that's a snap to build with some iron gas pipe fittings and only a small amount of woodworking skill. To prove it, he hosted the entire HGTV/DIY Network team for a morning workshop where we each had a chance to assemble our own bike rack.

HGTV/DIY Network Team Builds Bike Storage Rack

HGTV/DIY Network Team Builds Bike Storage Rack

Atlanta wood and metal artist Jon Briggs Foster shows the HGTV/DIY Network team how to build a simple bike rack using pipe fittings and wood.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Atlanta wood and metal artist Jon Briggs Foster shows the HGTV/DIY Network team how to build a simple bike rack using pipe fittings and wood.

The materials will vary a bit depending on your design but the list is pretty short no matter how you decide to style your rack. Here’s what you’ll need to build your own bike rack like the example below: 

  • assortment of iron gas pipe fittings, ½ inch in diameter: 7 x 3” pipe fittings, 6 x 1.5” pipe fittings, 5 x Tee-fittings, 2 x 5” pipe fittings, 4 x 90-degree elbow , 2 x 45-degree elbows, and 2 x cap fittings.
  • 1” x 10” x 18” wood board for the shelf.
  • recycled bike tubes to wrap around the cradles holding the bike frame 
  • thread lock
  • floor flange for mounting rack to the wall
  • screws for mounting rack into wall studs

I opted to fit a wooden shelf above the hanging bike so I can keep my bike lights, water bottle and keys together. You can pattern your rack after our examples or experiment with your own design. 

Industrial-Style Bike Storage Rack With Shelf

Industrial-Style Bike Storage Rack With Shelf

It's easy to create a custom-looking bike storage rack with pipe fittings -- just screw them together in a design that works for you.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

It's easy to create a custom-looking bike storage rack with pipe fittings -- just screw them together in a design that works for you.

The pipe fittings just screw together, so it’s simple to craft a rack that looks and works the way you want.  Keep these basic measurements in mind: The bike rack will need to extend about 11 inches from the wall to make room for the handlebars, and the cradles that hold the bike frame should be roughly 12 inches apart.

Industrial-Style Bike Racks Made From Pipe Fittings

Industrial-Style Bike Racks Made From Pipe Fittings

It's simple to attach a shelf for your water bottle and other commuter gear above or below the bike cradle of your DIY bike rack. The screw-on end caps hold the shelf in place.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

It's simple to attach a shelf for your water bottle and other commuter gear above or below the bike cradle of your DIY bike rack. The screw-on end caps hold the shelf in place.

While most woods will work just fine, Jon suggests using a hard wood such as red oak. Hard woods absorb stain more slowly than soft woods such as pine, so it’s easier to produce an even finish. And hard woods won’t dent as easily as soft woods. Red oak is one of the more available and less expensive hard woods. 

Pipe Fittings Used to Make Bike Storage Rack

Pipe Fittings Used to Make Bike Storage Rack

Pipe fittings come in many lengths and screw together easily, making them great for DIY crafts.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Pipe fittings come in many lengths and screw together easily, making them great for DIY crafts.

We chose to complete the industrial look of our design by wrapping the pipes that cradle the bike frame – made using 90-degree elbow pipe -- with recycled rubber bike tubes. Other soft material would work as a cushion to protect your bike’s frame. Be creative – leather or even handlebar tape in a color that matches your bike are other ideas.  

Reclaimed Wood Makes Great Furniture

Reclaimed Wood Makes Great Furniture

Atlanta wood and metal artist Jon Briggs Foster uses reclaimed wood to add a rustic character to his furniture projects.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Atlanta wood and metal artist Jon Briggs Foster uses reclaimed wood to add a rustic character to his furniture projects.

Building Tips From Jon

Final Step: Wrap With a Recycled Bike Tube

Final Step: Wrap With a Recycled Bike Tube

To protect the bike frame, we wrapped the cradles that hold the bike in rubber bike tubes. Any soft material will work. An idea: Wrap the cradles in handlebar tape that matches the color of your bike.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

To protect the bike frame, we wrapped the cradles that hold the bike in rubber bike tubes. Any soft material will work. An idea: Wrap the cradles in handlebar tape that matches the color of your bike.

  • Wear gloves during this project. The pipe fittings come out of the box covered in fine grease.  
  • Piece your rack together beginning with the arm and bike cradle, working your way back toward the pipe fitting that screws into the mounting flange. 
  • Squeeze a drip of thread lock on the pipe fitting threads, but use a grade of thread lock that still allows the pipe fittings to be loosened by hand tools.
  • Mount the flange to the wall separate from the bike rack. 
  • Before mounting the flange: Tighten the flange onto the bike rack, hold the entire assembly against the wall so the rack is oriented correctly, then mark the top hole in the flange with tape so you’ll know how to position the flange against the wall when you’re ready to mount the rack permanently. 
  • Soft woods such as pine absorb stains more quickly than hard woods such as oak, which could result in a blotchy finish. Use a pre-stain conditioner if using soft wood. 
  • Invest in a quality stud finder that locates the edges of wall studs. 
  • Use a water-based polyurethane rather than oil-based polyurethane to make clean-up easier.
  • If you opt to use reclaimed wood, be sure to treat it for potential wood-boring insects.
  • Quality tools are worth the extra cost as they tend to last longer.
  • And, most importantly … Always have a shop dog. 
Shop Dog

Shop Dog

Every workshop needs a shop dog, especially one as cute as Riley.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Every workshop needs a shop dog, especially one as cute as Riley.

Ta-Da!

Finished Bike Storage Rack

Finished Bike Storage Rack

Community Manager Mallory Ziglar can't wait to hang her brand new DIY bike storage rack.

Photo by: Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Chris Tsambis/Abstract Pictures

Community Manager Mallory Ziglar can't wait to hang her brand new DIY bike storage rack.

Bonus Footage: Watch us mount the bike rack we made!

Stay tuned for more adventures in Atlanta indie crafting, design and other good times as the DIY/HGTV team continues to explore the city's creative class! See how one Atlanta bartender taught the team to create some classic and new-fangled cocktails here.

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