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  1. #1
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    Touring Bike Locking Methods & Locks

    Touring bikers have special concerns when considering which lock(s) to carry and how to use them.

    -Weight
    -Flexible / Adaptable in different situations
    -Bulk / Size
    -Combination (or) Key Locks
    -Ability to leave the bike unattended (or) Always watching it.

    How do you secure your bike?
    Is the system flexible for different places; the woods, youth hostels, city streets, at the beach?
    Do you carry more than one lock?
    Are U or D locks too heavy or worth the weight?
    Do you prefer to have a keyed lock or do you live a life without keys?
    When on tour do you leave your locked bike unattended or do you watch it like a hawk?
    www.VWVagabonds.com
    Mexico, Central America, South America & Africa in a Volkswagen

    By bicycle West Coast of the U.S., Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia

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  2. #2
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    In big cities (USA and Europe) it is really nice to have a good U-lock (like Bulldog) and a cable, even though they are heavier than all h*ll. When you want to go to a museum, you have to lock up securely. Now, I am told that some people use hotels instead of camping all the time. In that case, you could enjoy the security of putting your bike in locked storage. One good trick (for campers) is to lock your gear up in a train station locker (Europe only, as lockers no longer exist in the USA). On the other hand, when away from big cities I have often carried only a small locking cable to keep a thief from just grabbing my bike, and that has been sufficient.

  3. #3
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    I carry a U-lock, and I don't use quick release skewers. Realistically unless you can wrangle inside storage you can't lock up your bike and leave it for hours on end.

    Also you have to consider what valuables to have in a sack to take with you so that if everything gets lifted all you loose is your bike etc... Be sure to take that stuff if you turn your back for even a second.

    There is probably something to be said for making your bike unappealing, like some hunter's skunk scent, a plastic turd, etc....

  4. #4
    ............ deerhoof's Avatar
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    I heard a good tip recently when you are camping out in a public campground.

    using a cable lock, thread this through your bikes frame, the other end through the straps on your helmet. Put the helmet inside your tent and shut the zippers around it. This way it acts as a anchor for your bike. If any one trys to move it you will wake up.

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    That might work. Better still get one of those things that energizes cattle fencing, and either link that through your bike or the cable lock.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kamoke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deerhoof
    using a cable lock, thread this through your bikes frame, the other end through the straps on your helmet. Put the helmet inside your tent and shut the zippers around it. This way it acts as a anchor for your bike. If any one trys to move it you will wake up.
    I know for me that it's hard trying to sleep when your worrying about your bike being lifted. I find myself waking up to every minute squeak.
    you should post that in the tips and tricks

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    I use a small cable and try not to leave the bike unattended. If I want to do museum trips in a major city I leave the bike in the hostel. usually I tour in rural areas where professional bike thieves are not a big problem.

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    Has anyone used one of the alarms that go off if someone moves your bike? If so what brand and any comments> Gary

  9. #9
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Okay, as someone who tours and sometimes in dicey places, I can tell you that there are a few rules I follow.
    1. Two wheels, two locks. Having a coil and a U-bolt is good you you have some adaptability when dealing with large objects you wish to attach to.
    2. Never spend too much on a lock. Stock lock is the best IMO. It has a 20 minute street rating. The others have 5.
    3. Always lock your bike. Have different security levels depending on place and time.

    You can easily convert a 'dollar store' security device into an alarm for your bike.

    At this point I'd like to add I never fear or lose a moments sleep over bike security. This should never keep you from touring.

  10. #10
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell
    You can easily convert a 'dollar store' security device into an alarm for your bike.
    Care to share?

  11. #11
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Given the recent thread from the guy who had his bike, panniers and equipment lifted while he slept in Kentucky I hope to learn a bit more from this thread.

    I have a good quality U lock and heavey cable to use in conjunction, but what about panniers and their security. Easy off and easy on is one benefit that doesn't help much for in this scenario.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fthomas
    Given the recent thread from the guy who had his bike, panniers and equipment lifted while he slept in Kentucky I hope to learn a bit more from this thread.

    I have a good quality U lock and heavey cable to use in conjunction, but what about panniers and their security. Easy off and easy on is one benefit that doesn't help much for in this scenario.
    I'm not an expert, but theft is often a crime of opportunity. So long as the bike is locked, in most areas, I would think something as simple as a few tightly secured zip ties would keep someone from dashing off with a pannier in the time it takes for a short stop. If the pannier won't come straight off and the thief has to start opening buckles and rummaging through only to find dirty clothes, energy bars and a gas stove, I have to think he or she isn't going to be eager to take off with much, if they even spend the time trying. It's not fool proof, but it's cheap.

  13. #13
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I used a tent when I tour. The tent's rain fly provides some space under the fly but outside the tent (they call it a vestibule). I take my panniers off the bike and put them under the rain fly while I sleep. I use a Master lock and a thin cable to lock my bike at night. I always lock my bike to something as I've heard more than one story of a locked bike being stolen.

    I rarely lock my bike when I go into a store or restaurant. I only lock it if I can't bring it inside with me or if I have to leave in a place that isn't in my sight at all times. My loaded bike weights 70 or so pounds and is a bit awkward to lift (let alone ride). It wouldn't be all that easy for someone to run up and grab it or ride it off. I may be being foolish but I always assume that I would react before the thief could get away.

  14. #14
    ............ deerhoof's Avatar
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    take your pedals off

  15. #15
    Senior Member kamoke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deerhoof
    take your pedals off
    thats probably one of the better ideas i've heard, if not very original

  16. #16
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctbent
    Has anyone used one of the alarms that go off if someone moves your bike? If so what brand and any comments> Gary
    I've used them all for years, and even alarms that were not originally for bikes. I don't use one any more.
    The ones that are sensitive have false alarms. The ones that have the best features wear out in a year or two of use. They are not strong and require a good bike lock anyway. The Cy-curity was nice for a while until I realized it eats batteries and the remote quit after only a few months. To fit a price point they are all cheaply made. You can put a towel over a bike alarm to quiet it and just take the bike anyway. I gave away the nicest ones, the rest are collecting dust.

    If you put a tarp over your bike at night while camping put all your metal dishes and tin cans on the edge of the tarp. If there is no tarp balance tin cans on things like pedals and bottle cages. And tops of hubs.

    Reindeer bells in the spokes at night. Monofilament trip wires with cans on it.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  17. #17
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    I'm already carrying 40-50 pounds of gear on tour anyway, right? What's the extra five pounds or so for a U-lock and cable? One of the benefits of having a friend to tour with, by the way - take turns watching the bikes while making use of the Mickey D's bathroom!
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  18. #18
    Hairy Member Crankypants's Avatar
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    When I go touring with my hammock, I always bring climbing rope. I like to climb trees, and if I want to hike and am worried about leaving my bike at the trailhead somewhere, I hang the bike at least 4 meters up secured to a branch (closer to the trunk). Its quite easy to hang, just throw the rope over something sturdy, and hoist the sucker up. Sometimes I climb up and use my cable lock to give me more piece of mind. I believe that most people looking to rip off a bike well not risk the climb to get at it. Besides, at night you can sleep safe and secure right next to it!

  19. #19
    vintage tourer
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    i keep my dobberman tied to my bike

  20. #20
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    u lock, cable and a ring lock on the frame would be the way i'd do it. I'm still trying to source an AXA-BASTA ring lock in the USA, if anyone knows where I can buy one.....

    i usually bring a mini ulock and a stout cable for lockups. even at rural grocery stores these days. in the most rural of communities across the us, meth has scoured the local populace and created a class of felonious drug addled theives ready to heist anything that looks like it'd be worth something to the local fence.

    I just bought a two pound, 10 ounce tent that will hold a bike and rider inside, and it is dark green for stealth effect. I always lock bike up at night.

    Heinz Stucke recently had his ride stolen (and recovered!) in the UK, no tourist is immune to bike theft.

  21. #21
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    pac safe anyone??

    has anybody ever tried these things?

    http://www.pac-safe.com/product.aspx?pId=644
    looks intresting but sorta heavy

  22. #22
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    Anyone carry a chain? A friend and I will be touring Europe for 3 months and he insists on bringing a Kryptonite chain and U-lock. I advised against it due to the weight but am I wrong? A 3ft. New York model weighs about 8 lbs plus the additional U lock. Is this too much weight for a lock to take touring? I was considering the 7" OnGuard Bulldog mini U-lock but then I wasn't sure what to do with the front wheel. Any advice?

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    U-locks are WAAAAY too heavy! I reckon the most versatile system is a 2m flexible braided steel cable (not too thick, and definitely not one of the springy-coiled ones - makes them impossible to thread!) and a small domestic padlock.

    Depends on where you're travelling I guess. If I was going to be stopping in towns I'd maybe take a U-lock, but still be completely paranoid about leaving the bike anywhere outside. In remote areas, I think a light cable is sufficient.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    U-locks are WAAAAY too heavy! I reckon the most versatile system is a 2m flexible braided steel cable (not too thick, and definitely not one of the springy-coiled ones - makes them impossible to thread!) and a small domestic padlock.

    Depends on where you're travelling I guess. If I was going to be stopping in towns I'd maybe take a U-lock, but still be completely paranoid about leaving the bike anywhere outside. In remote areas, I think a light cable is sufficient.
    I've been reading that cables are pretty much useless, hence lock companies not offering $ amount guarantees. I guess it is better than nothing but aren't they easily cut with cable cutters?

    We will be going into some big cities as well as rural areas and obviously I will try to bring the bike with me inside places but for the times I can't? A bulldog mini 7" only weighs about 2.5 lbs, that doesn't seem too bad, then maybe a cable for the front wheel?

    Anyone elses opinion about the Kryptonite Chain?

  25. #25
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I use the Axa Defender lock and chain assembly. I bought it for my city bike originally, then bought two more for a couple of other bikes I ride regularly including my tour bike. FWIW all three bikes came equipped with the braze on fittings for the ring lock. I buy mine from Clever Cycles. The locks can be mounted on most bikes. One neat feature is you cannot ride without the key, it stays in the lock while it is open, you have to lock it to remove the key.

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