This is cross-posted with the Northeast forum. It was suggested that I try posting in this forum instead. Apologies for those who are reading this again...
I've been looking into buying a bike, but one big problem exists: I don't have anywhere to store it. I live in a townhouse close to downtown DC and it is pretty cramped as is. I was wondering if there are any places I can use to store my bike if I buy one. I've been looking around at bikes but I can't really pull the trigger until I can figure out the storage situation. Initially, I was thinking about a bike locker at one of the Metro stations but my home station (Shaw) doesn't have any.
There's also the Bike Station at Union Station. Originally, that was my plan, but after I re-read the website, it seemed like a place for people to store their bikes while they commuted to work. This leads me to believe that most people will be storing their beater bikes there. I'm not sure how the bikes are stored - whether they're locked up or not, but it seemed like there's a chance my shiny, new bike may get stolen.
Lastly, Bicycle Stations on 14th St. offers bike storage, but I'm balking at the $55/month price.
I was wondering if there are any other options for bike storage. Or am I limited to doing the SmartBike rental thing? Look forward to hearing your responses. Thanks.
November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
Keep it at home. You'd be surprised how little space a bike takes up if you can hang it on a wall or from the ceiling. If space is really that cramped, look into folders. There are several good shops in the DC area that know folding bikes well, and an entire forum here on the subject. A colleague rides a folder for his commuter (Xootr, I think) and has a Bike Friday on order. Added advantage is folders can be taken (folded, in a carry bag) onto metro rail at all times.
I sort of remember reading something about a bike storage facility that was to open somewhere around Florida Ave near Howard University. Anyone know anything?
Yeah, looks like the bike lockers from Metro are still the same price. I'm thinking that those lockers are probably pretty popular, so I wonder how many are actually available for rental now.
As for the Bikestation, it's not too expensive. It's $96 a year plus $20 administration fee. I don't mind paying that at all, I'm just not sure how safe the bike will be if it's stored in there. I think the place is open to the public during a certain time, since they also do bike rentals. I've passed by it several times but haven't really gotten the chance to step inside to take a look.
rockhopper, delta V, cannondale H300, Marin Mill Valley
I think your bike would be safe at BikeStation. They must have good security to protect the thousands of dollars of rental bikes. They have some high end rentals that are probably nicer than the bike you will be storing there.
I have seen broken bike lockers (the old style like the one I rented back in the twentieth century, not the newer plastic ones). The metal ones looked sturdier, but I assume the plastic ones are reinforced and more secure than the ones they replaced. Mine never was compromised. I only left my bike there once a week, overnight. I kept some tools and rain gear in the locker also. The one I rented was at Dupont Circle. If you are flexible about the location of the locker, you can probably get one from Metro. I was surprised that they had one available at the station that was my first choice for location.
There is much greater risk of theft if your bike is left overnight at the same place every night. A well locked bike is probably OK even out on the street overnight, but if left there every night, people will get ideas and it will go missing or at least get stripped. I think using a Metro bike locker on a regular daily basis might attract attention from thieves. You should get info about the number of bike lockers that have been broken into before deciding on that option. If Metro couldn't provide that info, I would not leave a bike in one of those lockers on a regular basis.
I would not worry about a bike stored at Bikestation at Union Station, but find out exactly how they are stored before renting the space. I have not looked into it, but I really think they must have good security. I do know Union Station is patrolled by security officers 24/7.