Run out of space in your garage, shed, spare room, hallway or bedroom for storing your bikes? Us too, so we're always on the lookout for new storage solutions. Stowaway is the latest crowdfunded project to catch our eye, allowing you to store your bikes at home up near the ceiling. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its creators claim it's the ultimate bike storage solution.
The Stowaway storage device was developed by Sinead Geraghty, who – fed up of tripping over her various bikes and without enough walkthrough space to mount them on the wall – decided that hanging them above head height was an ideal way to use otherwise wasted space.
Stowaway is a wall-mounted system that uses pulleys to hoist your bike up above head height so it lies parallel to the ceiling. It's wall mounted, so the weight of your bike isn't hanging from your ceiling, and can be adapted to take different sized bikes up to a maximum weight of 20kg. Such hoist systems do already exist, although nothing we're aware of that lays the bike flat in such a way.
The hoist arm is adjustable to 1.3m, so it can be extended or compressed to suit the height of your bike. One of the main selling points for a lot of cyclists is the fact that, because the bike is hanging off a frame, you won't end up with those annoying and messy black tyre marks on your walls that happen with so many other wall-mounted storage systems.
In practice, the Stowaway system looks quite easy to use, but with a learning curve. The first straps go around the bars and saddle to raise the bike off the ground, then a second strap attaches to the wheels and is used to pull the bike parallel to the ground. The various straps are colour-coded to ensure you use them in the correct order.
Of course, initial installation will be the hardest aspect of using this design and will depend on the availability of a weight-supporting wall.
Inspiration for various elements of the design came from some unusual sources. "The hoist arm comes from when I used to do Tae Kwon Do and we had a 4ft extendable boxing bag frame that we used for practice," said Geraghty.
"The braking system came from trips to Spain where they use that exact system to hoist the heavy external window blind shutters. The counterweight pulley comes from my sailing days. Every element incorporated was to make the design easy for the user and, more importantly, safe."
The rack has a number of features including:
- Adjustable neck length, so you can adapt the frame to suit different sized bikes.
- Counterweight pulley system.
- Integrated brakes, to prevent the bike slipping and falling.
- Adjustable straps that can adapt to many different bikes.
Dublin-based founder Geraghty launched Stowaway on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, and the campaign is aiming to raise a total of €100,000 to bring the Stowaway to production.
Although this is her first Kickstarter campaign, she's got an extensive team working with her to design and refine the Stowaway. "I've teamed up with a fantastic product development team who have produced many items for Wal-Mart, Halfords and Home Depot." she told BikeRadar. "We have a manufacturing facility lined up in China that they have used many times before and that are certified and accredited to the highest standards for safety, working conditions and quality."
Currently, a €99 pledge will get you your very own Stowaway at an early bird price. After that, the pledge price goes up to €109 for 1 Stowaway. The final RRP, should the Stowaway go into production, will be €149. Shipping is due to commence by September 2016 at the latest.