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Some people wonder what we do with our bikes when it rains. The answer is simple but I like to talk about how we used to do things because it makes how we currently do things so much better.

It is extremely important to protect bicycles from the elements. Inclement weather increases the risk of rust and decreases the life of the bicycle overall. Just think about it: metal + water = bad idea.

We live in a townhouse style apartment. We have a 10’x10′ covered patio with a 7’x4′ storage closet we call the shed. The shed is filled to the brim with tools, a shelving unit, boxes of baby clothes, and a variety of other store-able what-have-yous. We do not/cannot/will not store our bikes in the shed. If you’ve been following this blog you know we have 4 bikes and a trailer. Not exactly a 7’x4′ friendly collection.

A few Christmases ago, Josh and his dad installed hooks in the roof of the patio.For quite awhile we simply hung our bikes on hooks. Josh’s Bianchi weighs a mere 22 lbs. My Cannondale is a whopping 20 lbs. more. It actually took practice for me to be able to hang my bike up. I wasn’t used to balancing 40+ lbs over my head whilst lining up spaces between spokes with a hook the width of my pinky.

So in this 10×10 space, under our 10×10 roof, we hung three bicycles and the trailer.

Not a great picture, but it gives you an idea of the hooks…

Then we got the Yuba. We upended our patio table and put it off to the side, storing the Yuba in its place. As you can imagine, things got increasingly cramped and complicated. We had to do something else.

We researched car port type structures to erect in our parking space. We talked to our landlord about drilling options, i.e. pavement, brick, grass.

Eventually we decided to buy a bike rack. We have had a tarp for years but I couldn’t tell you where it came from. But it happens to be the perfect size to fit over 4 bicycles locked to our rolling bike rack. We keep it in place with a handful of heavy duty bungee cords.If we aren’t prepared for rain, or happen to not get outside in time, or are not home and our bikes get soaked, it’s ok. A few days in the rain over the life of a bicycle won’t ail it much. Very heavy rain will create a puddle heavy enough to pull at the sides and corners of the tarp but we easily pour off excess water. On occasion, Judah’s peanut shell will caught out in the rain but he just sits on a towel when necessary. A plastic shopping bag over a bike saddle nicely keeps a grown up tush dry.

An incredible benefit to having our bikes out front is we no longer ride in muddy or snow covered grass before hitting pavement. It’s all just simpler.

The very best part of all of this is we have our patio back.

Yes, that is our dining room table on the patio. Our patio table is on the grass (the chairs are evident). Complete with high chair in which I sat, my older brother sat, Conor sat, and in which Judah now sits.

To celebrate the installation of the bike rack we threw a huge BBQ and moved the table outside. It opened up my kitchen so much that I haven’t been able to bring myself to bring the table back inside.We’ll eventually get rid of one table.

You may notice clothes line and trellis. I’ll spend another blog post talking about all of the things Josh has done to our patio to make our little townhouse as sustainable as possible. Here’s a little preview: clothesline, rain barrel, garden plot. He’s amazing.

If there is anything I have learned from living car-free, it is that solutions can be found. Possibilities exist. One must look for them. Truly, you find what you seek. We seek solutions to our every day obstacles. Thanks for letting me share with you some of our solutions.