Storing an Xtracycle
Okay, you got yourself a cargo bike. First of all, congratulations! Your life is about to be filled with fresh air, exercise, and fun. Now to tackle that one crucial question: where are you gonna put this thing? Every bike owner is worried about theft, and it’s a totally legit concern. You just spent a few bucks on this thing - you’d like it to remain yours - and we've all got a friend with a mysterious vanishing bicycle story. Here’s a few options to consider for keeping your new ride safe.
Do you have a garage?
Keeping your bike in your garage is the ideal solution for cargo bike owners. First of all, it makes it super easy to get on your way. When you can simply load up and roll out of the driveway without fiddling with locks or navigating stairs, you’re never deterred from choosing the bike over the car. The bike is out of sight, so nobody can cruise through and swipe it when you turn your back. Just make sure you close the garage door at night!
Keeping the bike in the garage also protects it from the elements (riding in mixed weather won’t hurt your bike, but leaving it out in the wet all the time can cause premature rusting and wear), and when you do go for a rain ride you don’t have to wheel your wet bike over the carpet.
For a little extra security, you can freelock the bike inside the garage with a U-lock (lock the wheel and the frame together). Cargo bikes are not small or particularly light, and it’s much harder to swipe one if it can’t be rolled or ridden away.
No garage? Treat your bike like a member of the family!
If you don’t have a garage or you’re not comfortable keeping your bike in there, storing it inside your house is a great option. This is ideal for people who live on the ground floor - it’s no big deal to wheel the bike up a couple of stairs and through the front door. We recommend unloading all passengers and cargo first and bringing the bike in last.
Create a designated place in your house for the bike - behind the couch is a popular option - and invest in a rubber-bottomed utility rug to protect the floors if you’re going to be riding in wet weather.
If you don’t live on the ground floor, you may still be able to store it inside. If there’s an elevator in your building, the bike will likely fit if you stand it on end. But keep in mind that cargo bikes are heavy and cumbersome. While you might be perfectly capable of carrying it up a flight of stairs, the prospect of doing so might discourage you from taking it out for a ride. Narrow stairs and tight corners are pretty much out of the question (unless you’re the proud owner of a Cargo Node). Don’t discount your outdoor storage options!
Is it safe to keep it outside?
Storing the bike outside, while not the most ideal, is definitely still an option. With a bit of care, you can keep your new ride pretty safe out there. Here’s what works for us:
Buy a super heavy-duty U-lock (like, ABUS Granit levels of heavy-duty), an extra-long cable or chain lock, and a tarp or motorcycle cover. Use the U-lock to secure the bike to something totally immobile, such as a bike rack, porch railing, etc. Use the cable to lock up both wheels (the front wheel is easier to remove, but the back wheel is more expensive). With this setup, a thief would need a noisy electric tool, a giant pair of bolt cutters, and a heck of a lot of courage to even try it. Cover the bike with the tarp to keep it out of sight and protect it from the elements. Alternatively, this is the motorcycle cover we recommend (as of Jan 2022, the L size has been discontinued but the XL should work well too): https://dowcopowersports.com/shop/guardian-hi-viz-motorcycle-cover/. If you prefer a black one, you could try this one.
The closer it is to your house, the less likely someone will come and investigate.
Keep in mind that these bikes are big, heavy, and distinctive - they’re not ideal targets for bike thieves, especially if you don’t make it an easy task (there’s lower hanging fruit out there).
Bike sheds are another option, and they’re available for as little as $100 or as much as $1500. These are small portable storage sheds that can be easily erected in your backyard. They are lockable, they keep your bike out of sight and they protect it from the elements. If you opt for a bike shed, make sure it can accommodate a cargo bike - our longest bikes are about 83.5” long. This soft shelled Bike Barn is roughly $325 USD.
This is what’s worked well for us so far, but if you’ve come up with your own solution, we’d love to hear about it! You can email all questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.