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  1. #1
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    Locking tandem during travel/touring ?

    We have an S&S coupled tandem that we are going to travel with. Whether we stop in a restaurant for lunch, do some sight-seeing off the bike, or have to leave it outside because a hotel won't let us bring it in we will need to have good lock(s). We are currently carrying a U lock and very thick cable lock in our Arkel Tailrider, but those big cables don't roll up small and the U lock is so wide it barely fits in the bag. I don't suppose there is any better or more clever way to lock and protect all parts of a coupled tandem? It cramps our ability to carry other small essentials when we have pounds of locks with us too.

  2. #2
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    I use a 1/4" plastic coated stainless steel cable with loops on both ends. It is long enough to go through both wheels and double back so the loops can be locked with a padlock. I cut back the plastic coating so I could hold the loop in place using a ferrule. I then dipped the loop and the ferrule in liquid plastic (available at Lowe's, Home Depot) several times so there was no chance of scarring the bike. Since the cable is wound, it is difficult to cut. The padlock should be resistant to bolt cutters. I can roll it up fairly tight and put it in our pack.
    Obviously if someone really wants your bike, they are going to get it, so I think of the lock and cable as more of a deterrent. I found that most places we stayed in Italy were able to accommodate our bike behind closed locked doors so we didn't have to risk leaving it outside at night. You will probably find the same wherever you travel.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Whenever we're traveling I roll our tandem into the hotel lobby and ask the clerk where we can leave it safely overnight. They usually offer to lock it in an office.

  4. #4
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    I have used a heavy cable lock while eating although I try to keep the tandem in sight from the restaurant. When I make reservations I ask about storing the bike in the room and I have always been able to take the tandem into the motel/hotel rooms when touring. The Travel Lodge in downtown Chicago offered to let me store the tandem in a storage room but I declined and took the bike up the elevator to my room on the 12th floor. A motel in northern Michigan suggested that I leave the bike outside and I assured the owner that I would be careful and that the tandem is parked in the dinning room at home. When he questioned again taking the bike into the room I told him that I would leave it outside if he would take responsibility for the bike and that its cost was over $6,000. He then agreed to let me take the bike into the room.

  5. #5
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    We've traveled all over the US and never once were we not allowed to bring bikes into our rooms, although most of the time we have singles not our tandem. We never ask, we just bring them in, nobody has ever given us any trouble. Our friends bring their tandem into NYC all the time, the only trouble is getting the tandem into some elevators. I'm curious where you had resistance?
    2013 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert, 2009 Ritchey Breakaway Cross, 2008 Trek T1000 Tandem, 2010 Specialized Tricross Sport, 2006 Trek Madone 5.2, 1995 Specialized Rockhopper A1 FS

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    In 36 years of tandeming extensively in 30 some odd states/provinces we have always been able to park tandem inside/hotel/motel. Don't ask/don't tell!
    We lock up up our current tandem with a small (40-inch) woven plastic-coated cable and a very tiny titanium combo lock.
    Usually lock it to something (fence, bike rack, tree). Run the cable through rear triangle/back wheel and then through stoker's pedal and frame.
    So far, so good.
    In all our miles/years of tandeming know of 2 cases where a tandem was stolen.
    1: Someone knew where a beatiful cumstom tandem was kept. Broke into the shed and stole it. Never saw it again.
    2: In small town of Benson, AZ a couple left their tandem unattended in front of a small restaurant. Tandem disappeared! Found 6 months later in nearby desert. Apparently kids stole if for a joy ride and dumped it, ripping off its cyle puter. Owners had already been reimbursed by their insurance.
    Most folks don't know the difference between a coupled or non-coupled tandem; if they want to steal it, they will.
    So how often has someone stolen your car???? Nuf said!
    Just our experience.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  7. #7
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about needing to lock all frame sections of the tandem - thieves won't even notice that it has S&S couplers, let alone know how to use them, have the tool, or be interested in only stealing part of a bike.

    Instead of carrying a cable long enough to go through both wheels, you can replace the quick releases in your wheels with security skewers that require a special key to undo. If you really want to, you can get similar things for the seatpost clamps and headset, but that seems unnecessary to me.

    Once you have the front wheel secured with a secuirty skewer and decide that only one part of the frame needs to be attached to something, then just worry about securing the rear wheel to the rear triangle of the frame and both to something unmoveable. If the lock is a decent length then you normally won't need any extra cable at all, or only a short one.

    As mentioned above, tandems tend not to be a major target for thieves - they want something normal and easy to sell, and so typically wouldn't bother with a tandem. Make sure that you prevent the opportunistic theives (it takes only the most minimal locks to stop them), realize that you can't stop the professional thieves (no matter what lock you use), and then choose a lock that has reasonable security but is not cumbersome.

  8. #8
    40 yrs bike touring
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    For restaurant and other touring stops I use velcro straps to lock down the brake levers front and rear to keep the bike from rolling accidentally or on purpose. It has been an excellent deterrent for years. Overnight a thin plastic coated cable and small lock supplements the velcro straps to add further deterrent adjacent to tent. Otherwise tandem in room or locked storage at motel or hotel.

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    There was a long thread about this on the Touring forum last summer. Consensus was that all cable locks are pretty much equal, because they all yield just as quickly to a pair of bolt cutters. The only thing that really works is one of those very heavy, NY-style U-locks. Anything else doesn't even slow down a real bike thief. They're gone with the bike in just seconds. So park it where you can see it, use a cable lock if it seems chancy, big city, etc., and never leave it out of sight.

    We've never had a problem bringing the tandem into our room. However, it's a lot easier if you don't have fenders, because you have to stand it on end for elevators.

  10. #10
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    We always use a 6ft medium weight cable to secure up to 2 bikes - front wheels and frames to a post. Cameras and cash stay with us - many bags detach easily. It seems crazy to use a 5lb lock on a lightweight bike. Leave the bike where you can see it and in your room at night if possible. Most bike thieves are just opportunistic and don't know anything about what they are stealing. We've generally been lucky on tour, but lost a seat and post from a locked bike shed once. Commuting not so much - we've lost a few bikes locked all day in the city and the kind of lock didn't seem to matter.

  11. #11
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    Though kinda heavy for travelling, for peace of mind the Abus Bordo 6000 is worth looking at:
    http://www.abus.de/us/main.asp?Scree...=4003318335679

    Through luck and locks I'm yet to loose a bike - touch steel.
    Last edited by Brainrider; 03-24-11 at 05:58 PM. Reason: Corrected link

  12. #12
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arctos View Post
    For restaurant and other touring stops I use velcro straps to lock down the brake levers front and rear to keep the bike from rolling accidentally or on purpose. It has been an excellent deterrent for years. Overnight a thin plastic coated cable and small lock supplements the velcro straps to add further deterrent adjacent to tent. Otherwise tandem in room or locked storage at motel or hotel.
    +1 for the velcro, and we sometimes also use a cable lock. I figure you've got to stop the curious joyriders, which isn't too hard with the brakes locked by velcro, for the professional thief it doesn't matter what you do they will get it if they want to.

    I'm sure tandems are low on the professional thief's list because they stand out, a tandem, let alone a single rider on a tandem, tends to be noticed and remembered.

    As for the hotel, I would never leave the bike outside overnight, if a hotel wouldn't at least let me keep it inside a storage room I'd go find another hotel.

  13. #13
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    We carry a small cable that was apparently intended to secure a quick release seat post & saddle when a bike is locked. It is a cable about 18 - 24 inches long with a small loop and slightly larger loop at the end so the cable could be pulled through the larger loop. For a lock we use a little 3 number combination lock as used for locking suitcases. This set up allows us to secure the bike and both helmets. It prevent the joy riders or opportunists from taking the bike but, like most alternatives, will not deter the commited thief. It is extremely compact and light weight and is always carried in the stokers seat pack with the minimal essentials we take on each ride.

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