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Old 11-14-07, 12:56 PM   #1
foamy
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Who covers their bike on tour and what do you use?

I think I want to keep the new bike under a cover at night while touring. A rainproof cover that doesn't weigh a ton and is a dark natural color (camo would be ideal and lighter weight is better) like grey or green. Just to keep the bike dry and clean and out of sight when stealth camping.

I'd been thinking of a camo tarp, but they weight a bit and are kind'a noisy when the wind blows and rain is loud on them. I've seen some bike covers that look right only to find that they're lined with soft material, which is extra weight. I don't know. What do any of you use?
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Old 11-14-07, 01:54 PM   #2
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Just use a camo tent and keep the bike in it with you.
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Old 11-14-07, 02:12 PM   #3
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I don't
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Old 11-14-07, 03:07 PM   #4
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Why not just a few large trash bags to cover your bike with?

Myself, I only covered the seat with a ziploc and my cyclometer with a ziploc at night.

The idea of keeping a bike in the tent with you is fine, but you'll need a larger tent and it makes it just a bit harder to find a good spot to put up a larger tent if you are stealth camping.
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Old 11-14-07, 03:15 PM   #5
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I use a plastic grocery bag from some store along the way to cover my Brooks saddle. That's it.

When I stealth camp, I lay Machak down in the long grass where he is less noticable.


BTW - you know that bicycles develop "character marks" on tours, and that it is pretty much pointless to try to protect them from developing "character marks" ... because the moment you turn your back on your new bicycle, it will rub up against a brick wall, or fall over, or be difficult when you're loading it onto a train, or something ... and it will have acquired a new "character mark". I just mention this because you mentioned that your bicycle is new and it sounds like you might be trying to protect it.

Last edited by Machka; 11-14-07 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 11-14-07, 05:11 PM   #6
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ive thought of the cover as well, just for the desire of theft deterrence. I would use, as with the bag covers; siliconed nylon. All this said, i think my new thing when stealth camping as the baby I am, is something i saw on lonely planet that the fellow was using to give warning of polar bears (just as valid to use bike touring through wooded areas), all it is is a trip rope that is attached to a flair like explosive that apparently doesn't need anything but a pull of the string to go off. It is LOUD, and would give you time to grab your spray or whatever you carry, while the animal or thief is disoriented
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Old 11-14-07, 05:19 PM   #7
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I just don't see how a cover over my bicycle would deter a thief.

When I see objects in campgrounds or wherever, with covers over them, my very curious nature wants to go over and look under to see what it is!!!

I don't do that because I'd probably disturb the owner of whatever it is, and my intention would definitely not be to steal it, but the temptation to look is there.

So I've always figured that if I cover my bicycle, others with the same curious nature will want to have a look, and maybe some of them would give in to temptation.

But if I glance into a campsite and see a motorcycle or a bicycle or whatever might have been under the cover sitting right there in the open, there's no temptation to go take a closer look.
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Old 11-14-07, 06:28 PM   #8
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I don't use a cover, it's kind of pointless. Any touring bike worth its salt should be able to handle some rain and/or dew. If I used a leather saddle I'd cover it, that's about it.


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ive thought of the cover as well, just for the desire of theft deterrence....
Uh, yeah. A cover isn't going to stop a thief.


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something i saw on lonely planet that the fellow was using to give warning of polar bears, all it is is a trip rope that is attached to a flair like explosive that apparently doesn't need anything but a pull of the string to go off. It is LOUD, and would give you time to grab your spray or whatever you carry, while the animal or thief is disoriented
You're joking, right? You're going to guard your stealth campsite with a loud exploding flare...?

An animal could easily set off a trip wire, which will a) wake you up pointlessly and b) potentially notify the property owner, ranger, cop etc that someone's sleeping in their woods.

Isn't the whole point of "stealth camping" that no one knows you're there in the first place? I mean, really, it's not like bike thieves comb the countryside looking for Feral Bicycles. You'd have to be a pretty sucky burglar to target a smelly cycle tourist who can't even afford a campsite rather than the nice big house down the street.
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Old 11-14-07, 07:02 PM   #9
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I'm another guy who only covers the seat. I figure if riding in the rain doesn't hurt the bike, neither will having it sit out in it at night. I lube the chain when it needs it. Otherwise, I don't see a problem.
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Old 11-14-07, 07:42 PM   #10
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"something i saw on lonely planet that the fellow was using to give warning of polar bears, all it is is a trip rope that is attached to a flair like explosive that apparently doesn't need anything but a pull of the string to go off. It is LOUD, and would give you time to grab your spray or whatever you carry, while the animal or thief is disoriented"

Hell, why stop at a flare gun, how about a trip wire attached to a landmine or an IED.
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Old 11-14-07, 09:18 PM   #11
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I don't bother covering mine anymore either. In the past I've used a cheap tarpoulin which was held in place with tent pegs in each corner. It was largely pointless, often the wind would blow it off one or more of the tent pegs if it changed direction during the night, which would defeat the entire purpose of the exercise. Then there was also the noise issue that others alluded to -- not to mention all the dirt on it if you're going through quarantine in either Australia or New Zealand (or probably any number of other countries for that matter).

These days I just make sure I carry some chain lube and a water displacer spray with me just in case I cop some rain. It seems to be a far better option, and served me well on a very wet tour of Scotland.
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Old 11-14-07, 09:33 PM   #12
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I do
Light tarp and peg it on
I often leave my bags on and they get covered too.
I ride a recumbent and I like to start the day with a dry seat [ what happens after that is up to the weather God]
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Old 11-14-07, 09:37 PM   #13
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I use a plastic bag on the saddle. To me, the only advantage of a cover would be to cover the lights and reflectors when I stealth-camp.
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Old 11-15-07, 09:25 AM   #14
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Thanks for the replies folks. I can see that I'm pretty much by myself (for the most part) on this one. Machka, thanks, I appreciate the character marks on a bike and understand that they're unavoidable, but the first ones always hurt (literally and figuratively). They usually happen with the bike falling down and me on it. By far and away, most of my own "character marks" have come from falling on motorcycles and bicycles. That's one reason why I stick to bicycles these days.
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Old 12-01-07, 02:38 PM   #15
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I go to the dollar store and buy a plastic table cloth. Not only will it cover the bike but it doubles as a table cloth. Also works well as a supplemental rain fly. I get a green one when I can
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Old 12-01-07, 04:05 PM   #16
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This year I made the move to a hennessy hammock and got the larger "hex-fly" with it. This gave me enough room to put a roof over the bike as well as the hammock. As many on this forum will attest, these hammocks are great for stealth camping.
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Old 12-02-07, 02:45 AM   #17
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Right now I use a bivy and tarp cover. The bike's partially covered at my feet or side, depending on tarp configuration.
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Old 12-02-07, 07:48 AM   #18
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I respect the idea of keeping the shine down while stealth camping. I'd say look around and see if there isn't something just right out there. For example, it would not take too much mosquito net to cover the bike with it laying on its side and the packed away bundle would be quite small and light. Or some rip stop. A little elastic would keep the fabric from blowing away. But the wetness, no. Since you care, you will be drying off the bike, or the sun will, as soon as weather permits. I've never gotten a spot of rust on a bike while touring. Good grief, the bikes got wet and stayed wet plenty! For the seat, though I own one of the Brooks nylon covers, I don't suppose it is any good. I put grommets in a piece of black dry-bag material, threaded some nylon cord through it and one of those little spring fasteners. In the past I used a cover I made from some rubbery plastic. I liked that very much. On the other hand, if you were thinking of taking a tablecloth along with you anyway, maybe that other fellow had the best idea.
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Old 12-02-07, 09:19 AM   #19
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I ended up going for a 10' x 12' rip-stop, waterproof (dark green) tarp. I figure it can double as a picnic table sun/rain canopy for those days when I'm in a campground. A bit heavy, though.

I don't know why, but I don't mind riding in the rain (well, yes I do), but the thought of a bike just standing in the rain rubs me the wrong way. I think of all those bikes I've seen sitting through snow and rain, just rusting away in people's backyards and porches. It's just me, I know, but there it is.
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Old 12-03-07, 01:40 AM   #20
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I never cover my bike, as others have said: any bike worth touring on should be able to stand a bit of water.
furthermore: i'm europeran, and that means using a kickstand on my bike. If I were to use a tarp or some other cover it would dramatically increase the surface that will catch the wind. and that's just asking for one fallen over bike.
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