How Can I Cover My Bike Outside?

Your bike suffers a lot when uncovered outside. Of course, the biggest threat is rain which can cause it to rust, but you cannot overlook the damaging effects of the sun and dust. That’s why you have to ask, ‘how can I cover my bike outside?’

You can cover your bike outside using a bike cover, a bike shed, or a tarp. But still, you can use a camping tent, provided it can protect your bicycle from the rain, snow, dust, and sun.

So, your primary goal should be to shield your bike from the bad weather, which is achievable with a proper bike shelter. Lucky for you, I’ll discuss all the options to help you settle on the one that suits you the most.

Note that if you can cover your bike correctly, you’ll boost its life and the performance of its components.

Let’s start with the options.

How Can I Cover My Bike Outside

How Can I Cover My Bike Outside? Your Primary Options

Let’s talk about four ways you can cover your bike outside:

1. Cover Your Bike with a Bike Cover

Bike covers are the most popular means of sheltering bicycles from terrible weather. They are easier to use since you only need to pull them over the bike.

They are also portable, one reason to explain their popularity. Plus, they are cheaper, given that you can quickly get a good bike cover for under $50.

The good thing about bike covers is that they are both rainproof and sun-proof (UV-protected). As a result, they protect your bike against rain and sun.

A good number of them are also dustproof, which means you don’t have to worry about the dust when transporting the bike.

One perfect example of a dustproof, sun-proof, and waterproof bike cover is the Puroma Bike Cover.

Not only is this bicycle cover effective against rain, sun, and dust, but it’s also secure against strong wind.

Furthermore, you can lock the cover on your bike rack to secure your bicycle while on transit.

2. Keep Your Bike in a Bike Shed

While a bike cover for outside protects against bad weather, it’s not the most long-term choice. It’s only best for temporary bike storage and transportation.

If you want somewhere where you can keep your bike for long and protect it against bad weather, you should get a bicycle shed instead.

You can choose to buy a readymade bike shed or make your own, as I explain below.

  • Buy a Bike Shed

Most bike sheds allow you to keep your bicycle alongside toys, farm machines, and other stuff, and a perfect example is the YardStash III Outdoor Bike Storage (View on Amazon).

This fantastic bike shed comes with a two-bike storage capacity while still leaving you with some extra storage space for your toys, pool supplies, mower, and other gears.

The bike shed offers complete protection against rain, sun, dust, and even pest.

Its fabric is resistant against easy wear, and the shed generally takes less than 15 minutes to set up.

What’s more, this bike shed allows you to lock your bike and keep it safe, and it enjoys a space-saving design to promote portability.

should I cover my bike
  • Make a Bike Shed (DIY Bike Shed)

If you are usually handy, consider making a DIY bike shed.

Of course, you can make it as sizeable as you want to accommodate everything you would like to store outside. Doing so saves you money and guarantees a more secure and more customized bike shed.

And if you have no idea about designing a DIY bike shed, you can get a custom shed kit like the 2X4Basics 90190MI (View on Amazon) and use it.

This custom kit comes with everything you need to build a DIY bike shed, other than the lumber (which you’ll have to source locally). So, it’s everything you need to master how to cover bikes outside.

With such a custom design, you can lock your bike, tools, toys, and other things that you would like to store outdoors. Moreover, you get to cover them against bad weather.

3. Cover Your Bike with a Waterproof Tarp

If you want something to cover more bikes outdoors, get a waterproof tarp. It’s generally cheaper and allows you to protect your bike against the rain, snow, dust, and sunshine.

One fantastic choice is this Tarp Cover by Trademark Supplies.

The tarp comes in a heavy-duty and waterproof fabric to resist easy wear and water. The material is also dustproof, making it an excellent choice for protecting your bike against mud.

Overall, this tarp is excellent for camping exploits, especially during the rainy season and winter in general.

4. Get Your Bike in the Tent

Lastly, if you have a tent outside, you don’t need to worry about how to protect a bike outside. All you need is to get the bike inside the tent to protect it against bad weather.

Not, however, that not all tents are weather-protected. So, confirm that yours employs WeatherTec technology or any other weather-proof innovation.

Why is it Dangerous Not to Cover Your Bike Outside?

I touched on bad weather as a danger to your bike. Now, let me explain a little more about how your bike is likely to suffer outside.

Here are the parts that are more susceptible to bad weather, especially downpours and intense sun.

  • Bike frame – The biggest threats to the bike frame are rain and the sun. While rain causes it to rust, the sun fades it.
  • Bike chain – The primary threats to the bike chain are moisture/rain and dust. Moisture makes the chain rust, while dust makes it sticky.
  • Rubber parts (including the tires) – The chief threat to the rubber parts of the bike is the sun. Too much exposure to the sun makes the rubber parts brittle.
  • Cables – The bike cables oxidize following exposure to air, and as a result, shifting becomes hard.
  • Bolts – Bolts corrode as a result of exposure to moisture and air.

Other parts prone to corrosion include seals, rims, drivetrain, seat post, and handlebar.

How Do I Store My Bike Outside

Important Tip – Don’t Forget to Secure Your Bike Outside

While bad weather is a massive threat to the life of your bike outdoors, you cannot overlook its safety.

You also have to protect it against thieves, and you can do that with a Bike U-Lock with Cable.

A bike lock allows you to lock your bike while the cover is still on. So, while the bike cover protects against the bad weather, the bike u-lock secures it.


1. Can Bikes Be Kept Outside?

Generally, keeping your bike outside is not the smartest thing to do. That’s because it’s susceptible to bad weather, more so the rain, dust, sun, and snow. Plus, it’s vulnerable to thieves.

So, if you have to keep your bike outside, you have to protect it against bad weather and thieves. That means covering and locking it.

You can use a bike shed, bike cover, or bike tent to cover your bike, and a bike u-lock to secure it.

2. How Do I Store My Bike Outside?

Generally, you can store your bike outside using any of these approaches:

  • A bike cover, which you can also lock to secure your bike
  • A bike shed, which also allows you to lock your bike inside
  • DIY shed, which you use to store your farm machinery, toys, and gears

3. Should I Cover My Bike?

If you keep your bike outside, then you should cover it against bad weather.

Rain and even snow make the metallic parts rust while too much sun fades the bike’s frame and renders the tires and other rubber parts brittle.

I cannot forget to mention dust, which causes stickiness and grinds the drivetrain components.

4. What Can I Cover My Bike With?

The most affordable and most straightforward thing to use to cover your bike is a bicycle cover. It protects against the rain, dust, snow, and sunshine and is generally a good choice for covering your bike during transportation.

Other options for covering your bike include bike sheds, waterproof tarps, and tents.

5. Where Can I Keep My Bike Outside?

The best place to keep a bike outside is inside a bike shed or any other shed. A shed protects your bicycle against bad weather and dust and, more importantly, against potential thieves.

So, invest in a good bike shed or make one if you prefer to keep your bike outside.

6. Is It Okay For A Bike To Be Rained On?

Rain causes the bike’s metallic parts to rust, and rust weakens and wears them out. That includes the frame, handlebar, seat post, and chain.

Rust also causes stickiness of the drivetrain and chain. So, no, you shouldn’t allow your bike to be rained on. It’s best if you cover it instead to protect it against rusting.

How Can I Cover My Bike Outside? Closing Thought:

With a good bike cover, bike shed, or waterproof tarp, you can cover your bike against the rain, sun, snow, dust, and other weather agents which could spoil it.

So, instead of risking keeping your bike uncovered outdoors, consider investing in a good shelter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I employ to safeguard my bike when it’s parked outdoors?

One very effective and straightforward method is using a tarp to cover your bike. However, it’s important to not just place the tarp directly on your bike. This is because it can unintentionally trap in moisture, acting much like a tent, and potentially cause rust or other damage. Instead, try suspending the tarp above your bike, similar to how an awning would work. It might take a bit more effort, but it’s definitely worth it for the extra degree of protection against the elements. I’ve learned this from personal experience where I left my bike under a tarp laid directly on it, and unfortunately, it developed rust on the handlebars. So it’s definitely a good practice to mind where and how you place that protective cover.

Is it advisable to keep my bike outside, even with a cover on it?

While a tarp or cover can provide protection from elements such as rain or sun, it’s always best if you can store your bike indoors. Frequent exposure to moisture, which can happen outdoors, is one of the fastest ways for rust to develop. I remember having a friend who always kept his bike under his apartment’s awning, only to find that it wasn’t enough to prevent the rust from setting in after a particularly wet summer. In comparison, storing it inside significantly lessens exposure to inclement weather and thus better protects it. If you don’t have a suitable indoor area, consider using a shed or other covered enclosure.

Which material should I look for in a bike cover?

When it comes to bike covers, the material makes a big difference. If your bike is stored outdoors, choosing a cover made of strong materials like polyester or nylon is advised. These materials are durable and can stand up to a variety of weather conditions. On the other hand, if your bike is stored indoors, you’ll want to opt for something like cotton or flannel. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve used a sturdy nylon cover for outdoor storage and found it to be highly weather-resistant. Meanwhile, the soft flannel cover I use for my indoor-parked road bike has kept its finish scratch-free. Thus, the right material really depends on where you’re storing your bike.