Introduction: Best Way to Suspend Your Bicycle From an Unfinished Ceiling (maximum Head Clearance)

I’ve seen how people use hooks and frame devises to hang their
bicycles on walls and ceilings by the rims or the frame. But with these approaches, it seems
to me that the bicycle that was taking up a bunch of room on the floor, is now
taking up a bunch of room on the wall or ceiling. This method will captivate
your bicycle to your unfinished ceiling and take up about 12 inches worth of
headroom in the process. This Instructable is designed for construction that
utilizes ceiling beams located at 16 inches on center.

Required Tools

1 – screw gun

1 – milk crate – or some other kind of table type support

1 – piece of 2 x 1 (or similar size) wood approx. 16” long

1 – tape measure

1 – pencil

1 – worksheet (included in this Instructable)

1 – helper

1 – piece of paper

1 – drill bit

2 – step ladders

Required Materials

1 – bicycle

1 – roll of tape

1 – hook & loop (Velcro style) strap – the wider the

3 – wood screws 1 ¼” - 1 ½” long

1 – flat washer 1” – 1 ¼” outside diameter, 3/8” – ¼” inside

1 – eye screw and hook assembly (you can also use an eye
screw and ‘S’ hook)

1 – 6” length of copper wire or string

Step 1: Take Measurements

Step A

Take the measurements of the bicycle as required in the image
and fill in the dimensions identified in the boxes on the drawing – except for
measurements “A” through “D”.

Step B

Identify the area on the unfinished ceiling that can
accommodate the envelope dimensions of your bicycle…with a few inches of room
for adjustments.

Step 2: Finding an Axis of Balance

Lay your 16” length piece of wood on top of the milk crate.
Then rest your bicycle on the piece of wood. Adjust the location of the bicycle
on the wood until the bicycle is balanced and the wood is parallel to the
centers of the wheels. Note that even though the front wheel is turned 90
degrees to the frame, the wheel is not touching the floor.

Step 3: Marking the Center

Apply tape to the frame members on the bicycle frame that is
identified on the drawing with an X inside of a circle. These points will be
where the bicycle will hang from a beam on the ceiling.

Step 4: More Measurements

Step A

Take measurements ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ that are relative to
the pieces of tape you applied to the bicycle frame. If the ceiling area that
you have to accommodate your bicycle is expansive and you are locating the
bicycle nowhere near a wall or A/C ducting, then you can omit measurement ‘C’. Measurement
‘B’ needs to be more than 16 inches. In this way, the bottom of the wheels will
be touching the adjacent beam. This lends some stability to the bicycle hanging
from the ceiling. Measurement ‘A’ needs to be less than 16 inches. Notice that
I indicate that the measurement should come from under the neck of the handle
bars. The reasoning is that if the seat is in the way of a beam, you can easily
move the seat up or down to accommodate the beam. Certainly you can loosen the
handle bars and adjust them too, but who wants to do that. However, if the
location of the handle bars is really giving you grief, or if you have a 1960’s
style vintage polo bike with butterfly handle bars, you can loosen the neck
bolt and turn the handle bars 90 degrees. Keep in mind that if you can move the
location of the tape a few inches in either direction on the bicycle frame to
make this all work out. The objective here is to ensure where the beams will
interface with the bicycle for best placement against the ceiling. If you are
unsure, draw in the beams on the drawing using the tape locations as the starting points to
see where they will lay against the bicycle. Don’t be too concerned about the
changes in measurements ‘C’ and ‘D’ as you move the locations of the tape…they
aren’t going to change the balance of the bicycle all that much.

Step B

Having a good idea on where you are going to suspend your
bicycle, locate the beam that your bicycle will be suspended from. Get on a
step ladder and ensure that you have a few inches more than
measurement ‘C’ in relation to a wall, air duct or any other ceiling obstacles
so the rear tire won’t hit anything. Draw a line on the beam for this envelope location.
Take the eye screw and hook assembly and determine how far up the beam the eye
screw needs to be. Look at the photo. Notice that the hook needs to be below
the beam. On the line that you drew on the beam, mark where you will drill the
hole for the eye screw.

Step 5: Select the Correct Drill Bit & Drill

Step A

You need to select the correct drill bit to drill a hole for
your eye screw. Look at the screw. Notice the threads on the screw. The threads
are what bites into the wood to keep it anchored and prevent it from coming out
of the hole. By touching your fingers to the top and bottom of these threads
you are actually touching what is the “outside diameter” of the screw. A hole
that is larger than the outside diameter of the screw will not have any wood to
hold it in place. You don’t want that. You want a drill bit that will cut a hold smaller
than that…but how much smaller? Look at the screw again. Notice that the
threads go up and down. If you took a file and filed off all of the threads,
but no more, you would be left with a straight pin that could slip right into a
hole. This would be the “root diameter” of the screw. Certainly, the pin could
not possibly go into a hole that was smaller than the root diameter. So the
hole needs to be larger than the root diameter AND smaller than the outside
diameter. So pickup your drill bits one at a time and find one that is slightly
larger than the root diameter, but smaller than the outside diameter. Put the
bit in the drill gun and drill the hole through the beam at the point
identified in step 6.

Step B

Screw the eye screw into the hole you just drilled.

Step 6: Securing the Strap

What is dimension ‘D’? Move your step ladder half that
distance down the beam. Measure from the point where the eye screw is located
in the beam the length of measurement ‘D’ down the beam. Using one of the
screws and the washer, screw the hook and loop strap to the beam.

You are essentially done. Now, you just have to hang
your bike from the ceiling. Read a bit further for some tips and an important safety message.

Step 7: Lifting the Bicycle Into Place

Step A

Set up your step ladders under the hook and strap. With your
helper, lift the bicycle up to the strap and hook. Suspend the rear wheel area
first by bringing the axle of the rear wheel close to the hook. Attach the hook
to the member of the frame that has the tape, near the axle. Slide the bicycle
(suspended by the hook) down to the tape location.

Step B

Bring the frame with the second piece of tape up to the
strap and secure the bicycle in place.

Step 8: Attach Safety Wire

I’m a strong believer in “safety first”. The hooks and loops
strap that I used held my bicycle for 2 days straight. But that doesn’t mean
that the strap would hold my bicycle for 3 months straight. So, the straps I
bought also had a loop at the end that I used to secure the strap in place. To
do so, I used a 12 or 14 gauge copper grounding wire I pulled from a length of
wiring I had in a scrap pail. Look at the photos to see how I tied the copper
wire through the strap loop and then tied it off onto the last screw that I
screwed into the beam.