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  1. #1
    rarin' to go
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    Bike Locks on Tour?

    What's the recommendation for bringing a bike lock on tour? Bring one? How big and heavy?

  2. #2
    Senior Member jtwilson's Avatar
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    I brought a mini u lock, and ultimately regretted it. I felt ridiculous locking up in small towns. It took up a lot of space in a [high priority] external pannier pocket, weighed too much, and I didn't use it after the second day. I did try using it to hammer in tent stakes a couple times - but found that using a rock or my foot was the way to go.

    Once, in a largish 'small college town', I was at a store and a young guy leaned up against the wall next to my bike right before I went in. I didn't lock up, and felt funny after going in the store. I came back out ASAP, and turns out the guy was just curious about my bike and where I got it etc.

    If anything, I would bring a small cable lock for peace of mind.

  3. #3
    Ceci n'est pas un vélo. mtclifford's Avatar
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    Depends on where your tour is going to take you, if you are going to be in a high crime urban area I would suck it up and take a u lock. Otherwise I would take a light cable lock just in case, and not always use it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I can't feel comfortable going into a store to shop or a restaurant to eat if I know my bike is sitting unlocked out front. I carry a cable lock from the hardware store. It's worth the piece of mind. I know a determined thief could cut the cable and abscond with my ride, but I think it will discourage a less-dedicated thief.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    I buy the best U-lock I can afford and ALWAYS use it even to dash in and use the local ATM. (Maybe it goes back a few years when someone cut the cable on my MTB parked right in front of the police station. Gone in 60 seconds). As for touring, when the consequences of a stolen bike could be more serious than ever, it seems like a no-brainer. It's as much a part of my bike as a frame part. If I go into a restaurant, the panniers go with me too.

  6. #6
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    I always take and use my cable and padlock. I find a U-lock too small to work in the variety of objects that I need to lock to, so the cable is the way to go.

    We had two fully loaded touring bikes stolen in Eugene this summer, a horror story for the victims. One was locked, the other was not, both riders lost everything. Good judgement should always be used when leaving your bike, don't be afraid to ask a bike shop or police station if you can leave your bike with them while you take care of other business.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Stay out of sketchy neighborhoods and leave the lock at home. I take a few zip locks with me to use when I get vibes that I should secure the bike a bit, usually when food shopping in large towns. Around the rim and frame. Will discourage the casual thief and they weigh nothing.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  8. #8
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    This has been discussed many times before (try searching). There seems to be no consensus. People take everything from no lock to the most secure lock money can buy, and everything in between. Here's some reading in case your search button is broken.

    touring and theft
    Which Lock? advice please
    carry a lock

    There are many others.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Nearly every topic anybody could possibly ask a question about has been covered extensively on here.

    If only totally new topics that haven't been covered were allowed, this would be a VERY slow, dull forum.

    For most questions that have been covered, a new one on the subject often has a personal twist that will elicit fresh and sometimes interesting answers, often from people new to the forum. Anybody that's tired of answering can certainly ignore the question without leaving rude/discouraging comments.

    If the search button was more prominent, maybe more people would use it before asking a question.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  10. #10
    Senior Member bedian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclebum View Post
    nearly every topic anybody could possibly ask a question about has been covered extensively on here.

    If only totally new topics that haven't been covered were allowed, this would be a very slow, dull forum.

    For most questions that have been covered, a new one on the subject often has a personal twist that will elicit fresh and sometimes interesting answers, often from people new to the forum. Anybody that's tired of answering can certainly ignore the question without leaving rude/discouraging comments.

    If the search button was more prominent, maybe more people would use it before asking a question.


    +1

  11. #11
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    in france this year i cracked up my fellow tourers by locking my (hard earned )thorn and all my camping gear every time we went shopping or stopping for a coffee .i just told them to look after there bikes any way they seen fit and i'll look after mine.so my advice fwiw take a good sturdy lock and a good strong cable and use them.how long would it take the thief to ride 100 yds 10sec or so,enought to be well out of sight and well away with your pride and joy .yes buy a lock and use it it will give you peace of mind if nothing else.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Nearly every topic anybody could possibly ask a question about has been covered extensively on here.

    If only totally new topics that haven't been covered were allowed, this would be a VERY slow, dull forum.

    For most questions that have been covered, a new one on the subject often has a personal twist that will elicit fresh and sometimes interesting answers, often from people new to the forum. Anybody that's tired of answering can certainly ignore the question without leaving rude/discouraging comments.

    If the search button was more prominent, maybe more people would use it before asking a question.
    Sorry. You are, of course, completely correct. My "in case your search button is broken" comment was intended as light humor rather than to be discouraging. It obviously missed. I will henceforth strike it from my vocabulary.

    Nevertheless. I do think it is useful to reference prior discussions as a way of increasing the diversity of opinion, and it is also useful to remind people occasionally of the power of the search function.

  13. #13
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    we forgive you John Nelson im sure your intensions were honorable.just don't let it happen again (joke john honestly.)

  14. #14
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
    Sorry. You are, of course, completely correct.
    Over and forgotten. Time to go for a ride.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NVanHiker View Post
    I buy the best U-lock I can afford and ALWAYS use it even to dash in and use the local ATM. (Maybe it goes back a few years when someone cut the cable on my MTB parked right in front of the police station. Gone in 60 seconds). As for touring, when the consequences of a stolen bike could be more serious than ever, it seems like a no-brainer. It's as much a part of my bike as a frame part. If I go into a restaurant, the panniers go with me too.

    second this one,,,,, a krypto, bulldog or soma mini U lock is just over 1 pould and nearly unbreakable. cabe locks should be outlawed, they simply dont work.

    sometimes I go into the grocery or library for internet and dont have to worry

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I tour where I am mostly in remote small rural towns. I seldom lock and never take my panniers with me on stops. I use a fairly cheap cable lock. I figure that in most of these towns people don't lock their houses or much of anything else even if they are away.

    In larger towns I lock and am super careful where I leave the bike, but I am seldom in larger towns.

    I ride an inexpensive bike and have mostly inexpensive gear. If push came to shove I could afford to replace all of it if I had to. I do keep the most theft worthy stuff in the handlebar bag which always goes with me.

  17. #17
    D.G.W Hedges mrhedges's Avatar
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    I ALWAYS lock my bike and I always use a U-lock. But hey i'm a big city kid I know that if I a always lock it the chances that someone is gonna steal it go way down. In small towns I could get away with not locking my bike but i still do it because if it got stolen I would be walking. Reason enough for me. I've only had one bike stolen (knock on wood) and it was locked in downtown chicago overnight with a cable lock.

    That said i almost never bring my panniers in, but i take things of value out of them ( like tools) so someone else won't (learned my lesson that hard way about that one)
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  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Mini U lock and 6 feet of kryptoflex cable.

    with the lock mounted to the bike I don't even notice it there.

    It also allows quick deployment of the cable's looped ends over the U and around a large object without even removing the u-lock from the bracket, with the cable secured by the U-lock.

    If I'm touring thru, parking and hanging out in any moderate to large sized city you'd better bet I'm finding a way to get the U around my bike and a rack when locking up for any length of time!
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted grant View Post
    second this one,,,,, a krypto, bulldog or soma mini U lock is just over 1 pould and nearly unbreakable.
    My OnGuard Bulldog Mini U-lock weighs right at 2lbs. If I could cut a pound off of that, it'd reduce my gear weight by 5%! Are there really any secure mini U-locks that weigh 1lb? Looks to me like the Soma and Kryptonite locks would be about the same weight as the OnGuard I already have...

  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on where you tour, so if you will need to leave your bike unattended in bigger more "bike friendly" towns ignore my advice. That said 90% of the places we stopped on the TA wouldn't have required a lock at all. In those places sometimes we locked and sometimes we didn't. The remaining 10% could be managed with a light weight cable lock and a lot of care about where you leave your bike.

    Many of the towns we stopped in you would be hard pressed to find a locked house or car in the entire town. In others like Missoula, Eugene, and Pueblo we tried to not leave our bikes unattended locked or otherwise.

    I don't think I used my lock a single time on my KC to Santa Fe tour, but never let my bike out of my sight in KC or Santa Fe. A couple towns like Dodge and Larned I might have locked it overnight, but I had a room those nights.

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I'll advance a cyclotourist could feel safer leaving their bike unattended in cities like Missoula, Eugene, or Pueblo using a small U-lock versus a marginal cable lock.

    I thought for a while i wanted to use a ring lock like i'd seen some europeans do but felt less than secure with just a ring lock in larger cities.
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  22. #22
    Member Windrush's Avatar
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    If bicycle touring in Europe I just use a lightweight cable lock with combination during the day. In the evening ALL the guesthouses and B & B I stay in provide a secure bicycle storage area. In the rare situations I venture into cities I check via the internet in advance to ensure they have a bike storage area and if they don't I will not stay there. I have never had a problem even in London and Rome.

    In North America in Maine recently with a strong bike culture again I use my cable lock. In urban areas such as downtown Toronto with a high thief rate I always we always have one of the group we are traveling with physically guard the bikes or if not possible we don't travel into the downtown area.

  23. #23
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I always carry my Kryptonite U-lock and a cable to go around the wheels. It does feel weird in small towns, but better safe than sorry. I always take everything off the bike and carry with me, and if I can't sit in the restaurant on the patio or by the window I won't go there. I usually don't tour alone though, so running into the store etc is not a big deal.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    I think it depends a lot on the situation:
    - How long is the tour? How devestated will you be if you have to cancel half way through because your stuff got stolen?
    - How much time are you spending in bush/small town/city?
    - How important is weight to you?
    - Are you the cautious type or a risk taker? Do you like to trust strangers?

    Me, I tend not to bring one, but that's kind of cheating because usually one of my friends does, and I end up sharing with them. By myself I'd probably bring a super light cable lock just to stop someone helping themself while I was in a pub or something. Given how much stuff they can steal from my panniers etc without taking the bike itself, it doesn't make all that much sense for me to go overboard with a big D-lock.

    I generally sit where I can see my bike from inside, if possible, and remove just the handlebar bag, which has the most important valuables.

  25. #25
    Bicycle Lifestyle AsanaCycles's Avatar
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    as already said... depends on where you're touring, and how much you're carrying.

    this last tour, i traveled really lite, and used a "coffee lock"

    i hate locks.
    they always lure you into thinking your bike is secure
    and of course there are no absolutes

    so i embraced, the "never leave your bike" method.
    or rotated "guard duty" with a buddy as we made our way thru a town/stores, etc...

    when i was in the Army
    when we were in the field
    or deployed overseas
    etc...
    we never had an arms room
    firearms were always on our person.

    simply never leave your bike...
    easier said than done...

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