As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
PLEASE NOTE: This project was updated and expanded in 2016. There are more details in that article and an assembly video as well! 2016: Basic Bike Rack)
Even a large garage can start feeling cramped once you try to fit in a few bikes. Kickstands can help, of course, but unless you are very disciplined with where you place your bikes, things can get cluttered and disorganized very quickly. This is the sort of mayhem that we faced in our garage. It is a roomy double garage, but try fitting in six bikes alongside the minivan, and ....
I have come up with a quick and simple bike rack design that has helped to bring order to our garage, and I hope it can help you as well. Anyone can easily build this in a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. All you need is a few pieces of 2x6 and 2x3 stock and maybe some scrap bits of plywood.
This rack has both a horizontal section and a vertical section, which I find securely holds the wheel of your bike, since it grips in several spots. You don't even need to use your kickstand with this design. The 1-1/2" gap between the boards is key and should be adjusted depending on your bike. My bike is a hybrid-style bike, with fairly skinny wheels. In contrast my son has a Mountain Bike, with thicker knobby tires, which requires a 2" gap.
Be aware that the piece of 2x3 fitted in the notch at the front does more than just hold the 2x6 boards apart. It also provides a "stop" that holds the bike wheel in the rack, which is critical. Otherwise the bike might roll out of the rack. As well, the 2x3 stop sticks out a few inches on either side, which helps prevent the rack from tipping when it is under load.
Two pieces of scrap plywood, size unimportant, are fastened to the back of the rack, and in turn used to fasten the entire assembly to the wall. In my garage the lower section of the wall is poured concrete, so I could only fasten the rack to the wall at the top. However, the top attachment, along with the 2x3 brace to prevent tipping, seems to be enough support.
The design drawings provide all the other key dimensions. Note that this was built for an adult bike with 700c wheels. It also works on 26" wheels, but you might need to adjust it smaller for kids bikes.
Here is my own rack (next two photos), securely attached to the wall and in use. You can park your bike either front-in or back-in. I checked with my bike that either way will work.
Now if your garage is particularly crowded, say with several kid bikes, you might want to position your bikes so that they are on the angle, rather than 90-degrees to the wall. This design is easily modified to do that. Simply build the bike rack, as above, but leave the rear plywood pieces off. Then cut some wedges out of 2x6 scraps and cut them at a 45-degree angle (or whatever angle suits your garage.) Then the plywood back is attached.
The following drawings show my design modified for "angled parking". I found that a spacing of about 23" worked for our older kids' bikes.
Note that 23" measurement is from left side to left side; it is NOT the gap measurement! Also the last drawing illustrates how I attached the wedges to the bike rack.
And here is the angled-parking rack in use, holding two bikes. Note that as with the other rack, the concrete wall in my garage prevents me from fastening the rack at the bottom. A simple "hack" to get around that was to slip a scrap piece of 3/8" plywood under the two racks and screw it to the bottom of the two racks. I think it is important for this plywood to be attached to BOTH of the racks, to hold them in position.
As you can see from the photo, my rack does not quite match the plans above. The simple reason is that these racks were designed as they were built, using 2x lumber that I had at hand. The plans came later. Still, this shows how you can tweak things to suit what you have on hand, and still have a functional rack.
And that is really about all. It took just a few hours in the garage to put together these bike racks that are securely and safely and neatly(!) holding our bikes.