My wife and I are embarking on a rather easy 3-week credit card tour of the Benelux starting in late June through early July. We're not planning to pack any camping gear but instead, plan to book out hotel or inn reservations 1-3 days in advance to build in some flexibility to our planned route. As an aside, if this is an unrealistic game plan, please chime in to let me know.
My question is what do you do with your bike and gear when you stop midday to sight-see? I have a very expensive bike that I'm bringing along and my wife's is moderately pricey. In addition to our rear panniers, we're both going to carry easily detachable handlebar bags that will contain most of our valuable items (camera, wallet, travel papers, passports, etc.) I'm planning to install pitlocks on both of our bikes, to prevent wheel and seatpost theft. And lastly, I'm really only concerned about security in small towns ranging up in size to small cities, since we'll likely be staying in a hotel (with bikes secured) in medium to large cities, and not just passing through on the way to our final destination.
On most occasions, I'm going to try to find a safe place to store our bikes if we decide to duck into a museum, restaurant, or shops, but I imagine that there will be plenty of occasions where we'll simply have to lock-up our bikes and hope for the best. I was planning to bring one lock for each of us, two total - a Kryptonite Evolution Mini and one other lock. I have a NYFU-lock but it's very heavy at 4 lbs. and I'd prefer not to carry something so heavy. I would like to bring another Evolution lock because they're not that heavy, but not if it's not secure enough.
While bike theft in Amsterdam is bad, how is it in the smaller towns and cities of the Netherlands, and Belgium? Will two medium security Kryptonite u-locks and some pitlocks suffice? Do we have to worry about our panniers and clothes? Where do you store you bike on tour when visiting sights?
Custom built tourer, custom electric bike, beaters everywhere
When I first started touring, this was my major concern. After a few European trips under my belt I no longer worry about leaving my bike. Mine's a custom built tourer with all the extras including the Brook's saddle, so it does look expensive.
I take a coil and a U lock. If you don't want your bike stolen you must lock it to something immovable. If you are lucky you will find a fence or a bike rack. If not the coil can go around lamposts or trees. I find locking up a bike in a very busy town square is best. I also ask if the museum has some place to put my bike. I've left them in cloak rooms and peoples offices.
You've got the right idea about taking your valuables with you. My Arkel panniers come with a removable pouch that can convert to a fanny pack. The panniers also have an locking system on the rack.
Finally there is the shock factor. I boobie trap my panniers with personal alarms you can buy at the Dollar Store. If someone is tampering with your bike that brings the attention they don't want.