Problem:  We have three kids.  And six kids’ bikes.  Don’t ask how that happens.  It just does.  In our continued quest to tame the horrible, no good, ugly garage, I decided that we needed a bike rack.  I have this strange nostalgia about bike racks that dates back to my elementary school years.  I think it may stem from those few times I was allowed to ride my bike to school.  Our school had a fenced in area full of bike racks, and I was able to lock my bike up there.  I felt so independent, and responsible.  And everything was so organized.  Rows and rows of bikes.

Twenty-five years later, I am greeted to a tangled heap of bikes and scooters in our garage.  A bike rack was much needed, but it was important for it to be accessible to the kids.  I was absolutely NOT interested in hanging bike racks.  Although those save some floor space, that leaves Mr. Motz and I to do all the dirty work (pulling them down and putting them back up).  No thank you.  We prefer our kids to have some independence and some responsibility…which is shorthand for saying that Mom and Dad are lazy.

I got curious recently and Googled ”DIY bike racks”, thinking that there was surely no way to build a bike rack.  I was envisioning something Old School, like the metal vintage bike racks that those American Pickers guys come across every now and then.

I found a ton of PVC bike rack tutorials.  I never thought of PVC.  I raised an eyebrow, thinking that PVC might be a bit funky looking.  Most of the tutorials were geared towards mountain bikers and people who needed a bike rack for their truck.  The more I mulled it over though, the more it sounded better.  If one were to build something from scratch, would you rather work with PVC or iron?  Hmm.  Weigh in the price difference and I was sold.

I was torn between two versions.  This was the first one I considered.It has an awesome, easy to follow tutorial. It tells you how to make a rack for three bikes, and even adjusts all the measurements if you wanted to make a rack for four bikes.  I needed a rack for five.  Hmm.  After doing the math to adjust it to a rack for five, I opted for a different version altogether.  This one is the one I went with:

Photo Courtesy "thepalsrus" via Google Sketchup

It was designed by thepalsrus.    It was already designed for five bikes.  Costwise, and partwise, it was going to cost less.  And I liked the design of it a little more than the first.  My only beef with it was that I couldn’t open the diagram through Google Sketchup.  All three of the versions were programs I didn’t have on my computer.  It was really hard to zoom into the measurements with the small image, but I had a pretty rough idea of what I needed.

Materials Needed (Home Depot prices):

  • 50′ - 1″ Schedule 4o PVC pipe (I bought 50′ and had about 7′ leftover) $3.22 ea x 5= $16.10 + tax
  • 20 T-connectors.  $.69 x 20 = $13.80 + tax
  • 14 – 90-degree elbow connectors (elbows).  $.53 x 14 = $7.42 + tax
  • PVC pipe cement
  • Something to cut your PVC pipe with.  I used a small-toothed handsaw.
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

Cuts List for PVC pipe:

  • (8) – 12″ pieces
  • (2) – 23 1/8″ pieces
  • (20) – 16″ pieces
  • (14 )- 2″ pieces

Cut all the big pieces that you can first, and use the leftover pieces of PVC for your smaller cuts.  Once you have everything cut, it should look something like this:

It is basically a big Tinker Toy at his point and takes about five minutes to assemble.

We expected this rack to fit five bikes, but to our sweet surprise…it fits more!  Because our kids are pretty young (ages 4-9), their bikes are fairly small too.  The biggest bike shown is a 20″.  We were able to fit more bikes and Razor scooters on the other side of the rack.  Completely unexpected, yet welcome.

I still haven’t cemented it together yet.  We are giving it a trial run to see if that is necessary.  We are keeping it only in the garage, so I think we might be ok skipping that step.  I also really wanted to paint it, but it sounds like the paint chips off pretty easily.  And I felt that I didn’t want to bother painting it unless it were glued together.  So I skipped both steps and saved myself some time.

Calculating the PVC and connectors used, I spent $37.32 + tax.  The PVC cement will run you about $12 more.  But for something that contains all of your bikes, this is much better than paying $150+ for something that is probably cheaply built anyway.

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19 Comments on Project #4 – DIY Bike Rack Made from PVC Pipe

  1. Great idea! We need one of these at our house. I am featuring this at today. Grab my “featured” button.

    • Kristen says:

      Ahhhhh…thank you so much! I appreaciate you featuring this project, and am glad that you liked it.

  2. Erin Spantastik says:

    This is really awesome. TFS.
    I have found that PVC is good for a lot of hand dandy projects.
    FYI, Krylon (I believe) sells a spray paint specifically designed to be used on plastics if you are so inclined to paint your bike rack.


  3. [...] via™ on [...]

  4. [...] time. A Facebook page is in the works too.  I have been completely shocked by the attention the DIY Bike Rack project has been getting this weekend.  My little Pinterest ticker has it at “1k+” [...]

  5. [...] Bike Rack Made from PVC Pipe Hostess with the Motzes [...]

  6. [...] used these sites to help with my plans: Project #4 – DIY Bike Rack Made from PVC Pipe, Make your own Bike Rack, and PVC Bike [...]

  7. Melissa says:

    I’m so glad I ran across this from I Am Momma Hear Me Roar! We have the exact same problem–3 kids and too many bikes and scooters in the garage and scattered on the porch. Recently I said, “We need a bike rack like the one at school!” I can’t wait to make this! Thanks for sharing!

  8. caralyn says:

    I came here via I Am Momma Hear Me Roar today as well – and I feel your pain. Three kids and WAY more than three bikes/scooters/etc. This would be perfect for our house. Thanks so much for the great breakdown and links to the plans, etc. :)

  9. [...] via Hostess With the Motzes [...]

  10. Tamara says:

    I LOVE projects and building stuff! This was a quick, inexpensive, practical project – just my thing. I, too, skipped the cement; it seems sturdy enough on its own and I like the idea I can disassemble, if necessary, for storage in our snowy season. Thanks a bunch for a great project.

  11. [...] Make a pvc bike rack to keep all the bikes organized this summer. 2. Make a pvc bin organizer. I love this as a way to [...]

  12. Laura Madere says:

    Hi there, I am so excited to see this! I run it’s a daily deal, freebie and just things I think moms and families will find helpful blog/website please come by and check it out. I am posting a link to your site with a picture of this, because I know my readers will just love it! I am so glad I found you from 24/7 Moms facebook post today.
    I too am kind of into the old school bike racks, kind of weird, huh. ;) lol I have been riding my bike more lately and I keep loving those old racks at Walmart and in front of the school’s as I pass. We dont have the need for such a big rack, but now that you were so kind to share this idea I think we can work out how to make it smaller for our 3 bikes.
    Thank you for sharing and I am so excited to find your site. ;)
    Have a great day!

  13. [...] in. I was reading the great craft blog I Am Momma Hear Me Roar, and Cheri posted a link to a bike rack project! Thanks to Kristen from Hostess with the Motzes, I could stop thinking and just follow the [...]

  14. Amber says:

    This was a great family project–everybody was involved measuring, marking, holding, sawing, and piecing together. THanks!!!

  15. Kathy Dobbs says:

    Thanks for this! We are making it tomorrow. I have made pvc bike racks before and they WILL fall apart eventually with the kids getting their bikes on and off – so use the cement when you are sure you love it. And – invest in a $10 pvc cutter. They are next to the pvc pipe in Home Depot or Lowe’s. It is a ratchet cutter and it takes all of 5-10 seconds to cut each piece of pipe. Much easier and safer than the saw. Similar to this one on amazon:

  16. Christy says:

    Brilliant!! Thank you SO much for sharing! I clicked over from Pinterest. We also have three littles and tons of bikes and scooters. I have looked at the metal racks as well but hate to spend so much money. we will give this a definite try. :)

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