Outdoor Bike Rack




Introduction: Outdoor Bike Rack

Living by the beach, you depend on your bicycle as more or less your main mode of transportation. Whether it be shopping for groceries, traveling to bars, or visiting friends, its nice to be able to keep your bike in an accessible location. Usually that means somewhere in the garage, behind cars or in some other spot that ends up making actually getting to the bike too much of a hassle. No more! Outside the front of the house, there's a small plot of dirt that wasn't being used for anything. I thought that this would be perfect to build a permanent, hefty outdoor bike rack. There were a few bike racks here on Instructables, but they were meant to be more light, temporary and portable structures. The bike rack detailed here could withstand Katrina!

Step 1: Parts

On to the parts list.
For my purposes, it sufficed to have 1/2" steel pipes as the main structure. Make sure that you get galvanized pipes so that they don't rust from being outside!

Purchased Items:

Five 36" long 1/2" steel pipes with threaded ends
Four 9" long 1/2" steel pipes with threaded ends
Five 1/2" 90 degree threaded elbow joints
Three 1/2" threaded tee joints
7 bags of Quick-crete Cement

total ~ $50

Other items:

duct tape
garden hose
gravel smoothing paddle (i'm sure it has a real name..)
a few spare bricks

In addition, I had played around with cement before, and it was a PAIN to mix by hand. For this project, I went ahead and rented an electric cement mixer. It came to about $40 for the whole day, and that was well worth the saved time and energy.

Step 2: Assembling the Rack

The first step is to put the rack together. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the assembly process, so I'll try to describe it the best I can.
To make the top, connect the pipes in this following order: elbow, 9"pipe, tee, 9" pipe, tee, 9" pipe, tee, 9" pipe, elbow. So there are Two elbows, three tees, and 4 pieces of pipe. From there connect the five long pieces of pipe to the openings and that's it!
The great thing about this design is that it is expandable. For myself, I only wanted to make a rack that holds four bikes. You can quite easily make it bigger or smaller to suit your needs.

To tighten the threads, It helps to get a few people to lend a hand. One person holds the contraption, while two people rotate each leg until they are all tightened. It's kind of a pain, but you only have to do it 5 times!

In the drawing, you will also notice that I put 3 elbows on the bottom of the pipes. This is to add extra support and anchoring in the cement.

Step 3: Setup

Once you have the rack together, stick it in the ground! You should get a nice place that's easily accessible from both sides (so you can get behind the rack to lock your bikes).

I added a pole on the side to stabilize the rack, and then used a level with a magnet on it (neat!) to ensure the rack was straight.

Then I created a border around the area to be cemented with some spare bricks I had lying around. This will ensure smooth, straight sides when you're done.

Step 4: Mix the Cement!

Now, start mixing the cement! The directions on the bags said to use very little water, and hence were not to be trusted. You basically have to follow your gut here. If the mix is to dry and crunchy, add more water. If it starts to look like watered down oatmeal, add more cement. Only do about one bag at a time, or it will be too much for the mixer.

A shovel here REALLY helps out. It allows you to have more control over what you're doing. Once you've got a good consistency going, let it mix for about 5 to 10 minutes. When you're ready, turn off the motor, and while one person tilts the mixer over, scoop out the cement and distribute it evenly throughout the setting area.

Since you're putting this straight onto dirt, the first layer doesn't really matter. Our area is about 4' by 2', and the depth was about 3 inches.

After the first layer is poured, subsequent layers should be smoothed using the paddle. You can do this while you're mixing the cement. It will give you a better idea of how much more cement you need. In our case, the pouring area was more or less flat, so we didn't have to worry about angling. But if you're doing this on a slope, this is the time to get the cement the right shape/angle for your particular application.

Step 5: Stop Splatter!

One thing to note, when you pour out the cement, it tends to splatter. Use a wet rag to wipe down the legs of the rack. If you don't do this almost immediately, the splatter will dry and be almost impossible to remove. This goes of any other desirable places as well. This will ensure that your rack is pretty, and we definitely want that!

Step 6: Smooth Me Out Baby

Once the final layer is poured, spend some extra time smoothing it with the paddle. You want it nice and flat.

Step 7: Sign Er'

Once that's done, you're pretty much finished! But wait, you say, I spent lots of time on this project, and I want to SIGN it! Well of course you do. However, you need to let the cement dry for a couple of hours first. I waited about 4 hours, and it was bordering on too late, so 2 or 3 hours should be enough. You can use pretty much any object such as a screwdriver or a stick. Try to avoid sharp angles such as Zs and Ms, because they don't tend to turn out too well. I live in a house with 4 other roommates, so they all came out and signed it! Fun Fun!

Step 8: She's All Done!

The cement will cure after about 6 hours, but don't be fooled! It's not dry yet! It can take up to 48 hours for the cement to be completely dry. You'll know because it will have turned from a dark gray to an almost white color. This thing is pretty strong, so you'll be able to stand on it and kick it and pretty much whatever. Nobody will mess with your bikes now!

In addition, I planted some palm trees on either side of the bike rack to make it even more pretty. It was really easy. The instructions for this are as follows: buy a tree, dig hole, put the tree in the hole, fill in the hole, and then water it. Repeat.

Enjoy the summer!!!

Step 9: Optional Paint Job

I've decided to paint the bike rack.

First i used some sandpaper to smooth out all the poles, cracks & corners.
Then i used a can of Glossy White Rust-Oleum spray paint.

I ended up using the entire can. Now she'll never rust! Ani't she pretty in white?!

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    12 years ago on Step 9

    It looks nice, though I'm partial to painting things black...my bike was a grey/black two tone when I bought it, then once the store's return warranty (30 days, since it was what I call a "Walmart Bike", one of those $100 jobs, though it's fared quite well, though the fork I put in it not long after I got it was a bit wore out from the previous owner, and the alloy rims that came with it were garbage...the first flat I got with it, involved me changing the back rim too, and that was pushing it only about a kilometre (a little more than half a mile) to where I was staying the night...and under the bike's own weight it totalled the rim, there was no way I could get a tire bead to stay in the grooves it was so mangled...and I think the tube caught onto the freewheel while I was pushing it and stopped the whole thing dead, grinding a big flat spot in the rim...after that, I went to my trusty steel rims, the fact that they're heavier gave it more vertical stability at high speeds (centrifugal forces at work:P) But now that I'm rebuilding it, I've decided to put half decent aluminum alloy rims on it, see if I can boost my over all speed by shaving a few pounds off it, changing my pedal arms to aluminum as well, and my stem, and the fork I'm using now is threadless, so I can't use my one-piece bar/stem combo that has a triangular space on it that I had my air horn's pressure gauge mounted into...)


    12 years ago on Step 8

    Working for Wilcraft, when patching the small holes where the jackhammers punched through the bridges/overpasses, we used a really quick dry cement, called Rapidcrete, and we'd mix it into kind of like a putty/clay and push it into the small holes...it would be dry enough to walk on/park a bike on in a few hours...although, it's probably got some disadvantages where it's so quick setting, and during curing, it gives off little or no heat (unlike fibreglass body fill...which gives of enough heat you could almost burn yourself, depending on the amount that's curing...) so there must be something (I'm assuming though) that's a trade-off...probably not as much strength as regular cement, though it didn't need to be super strong, since it was going to have several inches of road concrete on top of it...that stuff was so hard, that when we went to the second lane, and sawcut the edges of the patches from the first lane, the chunks we hammered out were small and sharp (although, one feller managed to get a few larger chunks out with one of our older jackhammers) I don't know all the specs on the stuff, since I was a mere rubble man, and only really there for that project, as I didn't have any transportation to any different sites...it was a pretty good job though, $12 an hour, for unskilled, untrained labour, and only having a high school diploma (to do the work, for the most part that wasn't required, but to be hired, you needed it...) Alas, having a car would've helped me keep that job...I was hoping they'd redo the bridge that's like a 10 minute bike ride from my home (5 min by car, at about 80Km/h, about 50Mph...) then I could drive my bike to work, leaving at 6:30am to be to work before 7:00am...it may be a little chilly when November comes around, being out at that hour biking...though it don't take me long to get my temperature up, as long as I can keep the cold air from blowing under my clothing...


    12 years ago on Step 1

    When I was working with Wilcraft Concrete Services Ltd. the foreman would always refer to it as a trowel, and that even covered the piece of two-by-four that had a couple handles very shakily nailed onto it...don't know if that helps ya out any, but it might help you figure out the name of it...unless you figured it out already...Lol...


    13 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome, I bought the parts for this (four bars instead of 5, though) and I'm gonna put it in some time next week.


    14 years ago on Introduction

    Clean and direct, perfect for application. I used some galvi pipe for an outdoor table and I'll give everyone a heads up. If left uncovered, the threads will begin rusting. When the threads are cut at the factory, the protective layer is compromised. To combat this, on my next project I used some grease on the threads, however spraypaint or clearcoat for metal would work well too.

    captain Jack
    captain Jack

    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    good call. I decided to spray paint the rack with some Rust-Oleum to protect it and add a little touch of class. picture added.


    14 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! A roof to keep your bikes out of the rain would be awesome, too.