Join Date: May 2011
Location: Central Valley, CA
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It depends on the area.. I feel nervous leaving my bike unlocked in my home town, but for short trips I don't mind it, in fact many bikes I see are unlocked. I lock my bike when I go into the neighboring city of course, and at school too. Sometimes I leave my computer or lights on accidentally but so far no trouble.
It's really about getting a feel for your neighborhood or where you're going. For high crime places, two different types of locks would be best, such as a cable and u-lock. If there's a place you regularly lock up at, you can also leave a lock on the rack to save weight, but I'd keep one on you regardless, in case the city breaks it.
SactoDoug makes a good point too.. don't take your expensive racing bike on errands, I try to use my beater bike when I can, a scratched-up nishiki fixed gear. For commutes or if I pull a trailer I have a MTB with slicks that although valuable (to me), would not be a huge loss if stolen.
Also, you're being as psychotic as anyone concerned about losing their mode of transportation. You'll be more comfortable when you get to know the crime of areas better.