A bicycle hoist is a device used to lift a bicycle off the ground for storage in a garage, shed, or other space. The system uses a rope strung through two or more pulleys mounted to the ceiling; two more pulleys are strung at two points along the length of the rope or cable, and hooks are attached to the pulley frame. These hooks can be used to attach the bicycle to the bicycle hoist for lifting. Once the hooks are secured, the user can pull on the rope, effectively raising the bicycle off the ground.
Once the bicycle has reached the desired height, the rope of the bicycle hoist must be secured, usually to an anchor mounted to a solid beam or other immoveable object. Sometimes the rope can simply be tied around a beam or other object, while in most cases a specially designed anchor point is screwed into a wall to provide a stable tie-off for the rope. Once tied off, the bicycle will be suspended off the ground for more efficient storage; this is especially useful in tight garages or sheds in which storage space is a premium.
The pulleys of the bicycle hoist system are mounted to the ceiling with screws or bolts. The plates that hold the pulleys are drilled to accept screws or bolts, and the pulley wheels themselves are allowed to rotate freely on an axle mounted through the plates. Most bicycle hoist systems feature two pulleys mounted to the ceiling, and an additional two pulleys attached to the hooks that mount to the bicycle. This distributes the weight of the bicycle more effectively and makes lifting the bike far easier. It also allows for free movement among the independent hooks, making the process of securing the bicycle to the hooks much easier.
While many owners choose to use the bicycle hoist for lifting other objects besides a bicycle, this is not advisable. The product is usually specifically designed to lift a bike, and using it for other purposes may increase the risk of system failure. This means the pulleys may break, the rope may break, or the hooks may fail, leading the object being lifted to plummet to the ground, potentially causing injury or damage to goods. Other hoists are specially designed for other objects, such as canoe or kayak hoists and professional industrial hoists designed to lift exceptionally heavy items.