Tenement stairwell-friendly bike storage

  • I've lived in a tenement stairwell for a couple of years now and I found there's always very limited space to securely lock up my bike. Many people are forced to rely on cable locks which can be easily cut by thieves, or carry their bikes up flights of stairs into their flats. To address this problem, I designed and 3D printed "Stair Hook" which clasps onto the banister poles (balusters) of a stair and suspends your bike by the saddle. Using Stair Hook lets you suspend your bike right next to the banister where you can lock it using a D-lock which is much more secure than a cable lock. It's worked a charm for me for nearly 2 years on both my fixie and mountain bike.

    stairhook photo

    Maybe someone else could get good use from one of these? I'm selling these for £15 + postage and have more info here stairhook.com. Hope this can help someone as much as its helped me!

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    I wonder if Glasgow has as many stair wells as like this as Edinburgh. What sort of age is the buildings you get like in Marchmont and City Centre, pre 1st World War?

  • @i I think those in Marchmont where I stay are pre-WW1, late 19th century with the cast iron cylindrical balusters. Had not considered that many Glasgow tenements may be newer and therefor have different types of stairs! Any cylindrical baluster between 20mm and 30mm will work with Stair Hook.

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    Certainly my old Mount Florida tenement was around 1890. Although the posts were an awkward cast iron swirl shape that I'm not sure this would be able to grip on... Have you done any testing with non-cyclindrical posts? I'm wondering if it would be able to get a tight enough grip using, say, a thick rubber shim.

  • @DarkerSide Thanks for the info! Ah yeah I think I can see the shape you mean. I do provide a 2mm and 4mm thick strip of rubber with the product so perhaps that would provide enough surface contact and hence grip to stop slippage. In reality, the hook can take quite a bit more then 20kg from my tests, so even if the grip isn't as perfect as it would be on a cylindrical shape it could very possibly still support a bike. On that note, if anyone does live somewhere which has some shape other than basic cylindrical posts, I'd be happy to provide a discount for you to try it out and of course if it does not work, a refund 🙂
    in the box

  • Do you mean bannister rail at top of tenement stairwell? My close has wall down middle of stairs except top floor. Didn't know you got tenements post-WW1 - thought architects went all 'garden city' in 1920s.

  • @dashedlines My experience has just been with Edinburgh tenements where the stair is the same on all 4 floors, like this. This is the ground floor and you can see the shape of the stair (sort of rounded rectangle) from the skylight's light on the ground.
    So I guess your close would just have had a handrail bolted on to the wall for all but the top floor? And so no balusters (the vertical poles/posts) to clasp something on to?

  • My stairwell looks like this. Ornate balusters at top then wall all the way down.

    My sister's old flat had a kind of triangular stair that had those kind of bannisters. I think you get your kind of open stair in posh 'super wahly' closes (wall tiles on all floors). Mine's just a regular 'wahly close' (tiled on ground floor) and you obviously get ones without too. (Tiled closes used to be a big thing in Glasgow!)

    Not sure how many have the closed kind of stairwell. I've seen quite a few around - probably cheaper so more common?

  • @dashedlines Thanks very much for the photograph, that's what I thought you meant by your previous post but I had not anticipated such fancy balusters! Looks like they're significantly wider than they are deep at most points. In it's current form, I don't think Stair Hook would work with a stair like that as the maximum diameter is 30mm whereas the baluster looks wider than that at most points.

    Yep well those types of stairwell certainly look more space efficient than the ones I'm used to seeing in Edinburgh, so probably cheaper both in building costs and space utilisation.

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    I do like the Edinburgh stairwells, more airy and spacious. I imagine a lot of them were destroyed in Glasgow when the M8 came charging through there.

  • Tenement stairs in Glasgow come in all different layouts, some square, circular or oval with a void down the middle, but most with a narrow void and bannisters, although many without.
    But this type of banister design in my close is very common throughout the city, I've seen it everywhere. It is 20x17mm at its narrowest point.
    You could come here and test it out and take pictures. I'm sure it's possible to use the product here.

  • @shimano Thanks a lot for the photos and measurements! Basically it confirms that in its current form, the Stair Hook designed to support cylindrical poles would not fit nicely onto that type of stair (which looks like its the same as @dashedlines' one). Also found this photo which looks to be again the same design of cast iron baluster glasgow stair
    I've got a couple of ideas to adapt Stair Hook to support this type of baluster (and similar ones). In theory, you could argue that this type of baluster is easier to fix something to than a cylindrical pole as you can get mechanical grip where the baluster widens, whereas the cylindrical one only gets grip from friction on the rubber. I'm away for a week but once I'm back I'd like to make a few prototypes at which time I'll get back in touch @shimano. If you do happen to find the time, any chance you could give me a rough estimate on the dimensions annotated in yellow on your photograph? Many Thanks!

  • Roughly @ point A (that notch on the narrow bit) it is 20x25mm and @ point B (the widest point on the shoulder bit) it's 22x57mm and these two points would be roughly 33mm apart vertically.

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