Tandem Cycling - Locking the tandem
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We've been going "lockless" since we got our tandem, but now we're considering doing some touring where we might leave the bike unattended. I can't imagine that locking a tandem is any different from a single, but I figured I'd ask before we go lock shopping.
07-06-09, 06:46 AM
I lock ours just like a single using a non-coiling cable lock from masterlock. I've thought about purchasing a second so I could capture the front and rear wheel. It's probably overkill. If someone decides to steal a tandem there's not much that's going to stop them. Locks are more about keeping honest people honest or making the thieves move to an easier target.
Depends where you are touring. The only time I had any problems was in the countryside where youths with nothing to do attempted to steal my sister's bike which I'd parked outside a shop in full sight leaning against the window. (Learning #2 - don't borrow your sister's bike when you have a puncture).
- when we eat lunch we leave the bike in sight with the brakes adjusted so that you can't ride it off immediately. No problems so far. Alternatively the chain can be derailed, but I don't like doing that.
- Otherwise we don't leave the bike unattended unless it goes in someone's garage or locked room. Most places we've visited are happy to help if you ask in advance. If they can't help we go somewhere else.
If I had to leave the bike unattended I would remove the front wheel and lock that plus the frame and rear wheel to an immovable object. I have a motorbike chain and Abus Disklock for that sort of thing, but it's so heavy I wouldn't want to carry it around unless travelling by car.
To simplify things you could use splined bolts to fix seat posts and wheels, then you would only need a small D-lock for the frame. That would be 90% secure, but would not protect against vandalism, hacksawing the frame to get it out of the D-lock for the components or allen key wielding thieves stealing the stoker bars etc.
07-06-09, 08:36 AM
We carry two 5' lightweight cables and a small padlock. I loop one cable through the front wheel and frame, the other through the rear wheel and frame, and lock the ends around anything convenient.
I assume two theft scenarios: One is the theft-of-opportunity where someone just jumps on and rides off with it and the other in which someone throws the bike into the back of a pick-up truck and drives off with it. (I admit that I made the second one up and have never heard of it actually happening, but it's one reason that it makes me feel better to lock the bike to something heavy or immobile.) Actually, I worry more about the accessories - lights, bags, computers, etc. - being stolen off of the bike rather than the whole tandem being taken.
07-07-09, 03:49 PM
We carry/use a short cable with tiny titanium combo lock and lock it to something through back wheel/frame. Could someone steal it? Sure, but not so far in 34+ years of tandeming all over the place.
Locks/cables are a deterrent but there is no guarantee.
07-08-09, 05:37 PM
Has anyone actually had a tandem stolen? It would seem to be a fairly dumb thief to steal anything of such very limited appeal (but maybe they don't know that? Our bike does look exceptionally cool.)
We now live in the Midwest, but I was scarred as a child growing up in NY City by having my first new, red "racer" (read that 3-speed in the '50s) stolen while I made a quick stop at a store. Been locking up the tandem with a lightweight cable and an aluminum combination lock - rear wheel and frame to post - more to make me feel better than to actually deter a pro.
07-08-09, 05:45 PM
When my wife and I got back into cycling last August we bought new bicycles and a ridiculously heavy lock which I've used once. I've got specific coverage on our tandem ($30/yr). I really like the idea of the very light cable with combo lock - no key to loose. Has has been pointed out a professional bike thief won't be deterred in any event and tandem-wise may not even be interested. An opportunistic thief wouldn't have the tools or wouldn't bother. Got to get me to the hardware store now.
07-08-09, 08:21 PM
In our 3 1/2 decades of tandeming, personally know of 2 tandems that were stolen.
#1: stolen in the small town of Benson, AZ, parked in front of a restaurant, unlocked
Owner was re-imbursed and got another custom tandem built. Stolen tandem was found 3 months later dumped in the desert with the computer missing. Probably kids took it for a joy ride.
#2: another custom tandem was stolen out of a locked shed This one was never found and thieves likely knew the value and spirited bike out of the state. This bike had custom purple anodized crankset and other goodies. Sort of hard to sell locally.
An ounce prevention is worth a pound of cure; if a thief really wants to steal your tandem . . .
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
07-09-09, 11:36 PM
In and around town, I use a 6-ft cable and U-lock; one of them through the front wheel, the other around a secure object. When touring, I use a 12-ft, 1/2 inch cable through both front and rear wheels, and around a secure object.
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