By Ray McCahery, EMSCI #221
Philadelphia (PA) Fire Department
In the past few years more police departments and EMS agencies have been turning to bike teams as an alternative to traditional patrols in motorized vehicles. Many with existing bike programs have expanded the size and scope of their teams. These situations often lead to a logistical problem…how and where to store all these bikes. Fortunately, bike stores found the solution years ago: aerial bicycle storage.
Lift & Storage Systems, Inc., makes an excellent product that many departments can take advantage of. The Aerial Bicycle Storage is a bike lift that can handle anywhere from 12 to 60 bikes at once. Lifting your bikes into the air allows you more floor and storage space. No more stacking bikes on the floor or worse, standing on ladders to store bikes. You also enjoy the added knowledge that your bikes are more secure from theft by being suspended in the air, out of reach of crimes of opportunity. The lift comes with an optional keypad that you can program with a numerical code to prevent unauthorized users from operating the lift.
The lifts come in five sizes and hold a maximum of 12, 14, 24, 48 or 60 bikes. This variety allows you to mix and match based on the various ceiling spaces you have available.
The lifts are big and are shipped by a trucking company, so you must be prepared to unload the lift. A forklift will make your life much easier. The lift requires some assembly: installing the hooks that hold the bikes, the belt assembly unit that raises and lowers the bikes, and finally the motor to the belts and frame. It is easier to actually assemble the lift in the air as you attach everything to the ceiling. A forklift again will substantially make attaching the lift much easier. If you don’t have a forklift, you can either rent a scissor lift or
Lift & Storage can recommend a local installer you can hire. Lastly, if possible, have an electrician run a dedicated outlet to the ceiling next to the motor to avoid using extension cords to power the lift.
Some tips to remember:
- If not placing the maximum number bikes on the lift, don’t place all of them on one side; balance out your bikes throughout the lift.
- Just as you would alternate loading bikes on a car bike rack, do the same on the lift to prevent rear derailleurs from being damaged.
- When getting ready to raise the lift, make sure no bikes are in danger of getting stuck on something while being raised; it is a strong motor; if a bike gets snagged, the motor will keep raising the bikes until something gives…usually either the hook or the part of the bike that is caught, resulting in the bike falling off the rack.
The Aerial Bicycle Storage unit can be purchased directly from Lift & Storage (www.liftnstore.com), which participates in the IPMBA Product Purchase Program. The cost ranges from $4,750 for a 12-bike lift to $8,650 for a 60-bike lift, before the IPMBA discount. Shipping is not included. All Lift & Storage products are made in the U.S.
The Lift & Storage Aerial Bike Storage will cost you a few bucks and time setting it up, but the rewards of storing all your bikes in the air is well worth it and highly recommended.
Ray McCahery has been with the Philadelphia Fire Department EMS for 23 years and is currently the Special Event Response Team Captain. He was certified as an IPMBA EMS Cyclist in 2006 and as IPMBA EMSCI #221 in 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2013 IPMBA. This review appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of IPMBA News.