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  1. #1
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    Securing your bike on the tour

    Do you have to worry about securing the bike on the tour when you have to go to the stores? Or is it something you don't worry about? I've never done touring before but thinking about doing one in the near future. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    This comes up all the time. You might try searching the forum, although I understand that the search function doesn't always lead you directly to relevant threads.

    It all depends. If I am riding in the Olney section of Philadelphia I won't leave my bike unattended for a nsec. When I was in Olney, MT two years ago we did not hesitate to leave our bikes and gear outside unlocked while in the only store in town having lunch.




    At lot of it depends on your own comfort level. It's theoretcially possible for someone to steal your bike whenever it's left out of your sight (or while you are riding it for that matter). One person may react to this by always locking up the bike up or taking it inside with them. Another person may be guided by the perceived likelihood of theft and take what they feel are appropriate security measures, if any.

    BTW...I assume you are rferring to travel within the U.S.A. Things can vary depending on the area of the world you are in.

  3. #3
    mev
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    Often not. I've been fortunate so far in my touring - though I did have an unlocked bicycle stolen in non-touring situation outside a Safeway when living in Fort Collins, CO.

    I pretty much take my valuables in with me, e.g. handle bar bag, passport, money, etc.
    I try to watch my surroundings. If I'm in a big city, I'll typically just ride through and/or park/lock my bike at end of the day and then go walk in.
    I try to park in a visible location.

    In my touring, I have lost little bits from the bike:
    - Lost a bell from bike parked (and locked) in hotel underneath in parked storage in Mysore, India.
    - Lost rear light from bike parked outside in Fort McPherson, Yukon.
    - Had my fellow rider lose a bike pump from bike temporarily parked in village in eastern Siberia.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I don't like to carry the heavy U-lock that I use around town on longer trips, but I am not confident enough to go without any lock. I carry a cable, and my bike has a ring lock that I put the cable through. Sometimes I secure my bike to something overnight if I'm paranoid. Sometimes not. And sometimes I feel perfectly comfortable leaving my bike unlocked. With the ring lock, I also have the option of just engaging the lock and not worrying about the cable. It won't stop someone from throwing it in their vehicle and driving off, but it will stop someone from hopping on and riding off.

    Of course the downside to any key lock: my last trip I got all packed up and ready to load the bike one morning and could not find the key. I was weighing my various options such as finding a hacksaw or having my wife, who I was supposed to meet at the end of the day, come fetch me with a spare key. Then I found it in yesterday's pockets.

  5. #5
    It's true, man.
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    I use a cheap cable lock for when I feel weird about a place, or might have to take my eyes off it for 30 seconds. Other than that, I always just keep it in sight, and take my 'personals' bag with me where ever I go.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Frame mounted ring locks are great for quick stops, rear wheel wont roll.

    I made up a 12 foot long double loop cable, to secure my bike to picnic tables..

    so as to sleep well , at night.

  7. #7
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    I use two different locks. A big thick heavy cable lock for when I think there is a concern. If I am running into a store for a few minutes or my bike is just outside the restaurant, I sometimes use a tiny little lock like skiers use to lock up their skis. I have also used the small skier type locks to lock my panniers to the bike while the big lock is used to lock the bike to a post or something like that. Although the skier type locks are not very impressive, they can make something a lot less tempting to someone that does not have a cutter handy.

    This is what I mean by the skier type locks.
    http://www.rei.com/product/744880/dakine-cool-lock

  8. #8
    Senior Member Simon Cowbell's Avatar
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    I took one of these Palmy U-locks along with a Kryptonite cable. I think of those Aluminum Palmys as a faux-U-lock. But until thieves crack a few, they at least look like protection. It made a fine tent stake hammer.


  9. #9
    Member aprilstarchild's Avatar
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    I admit, I carry the same U-lock touring that I carry at home. My boyfriend does too, in addition to a beefy cable. Most nights we "hobbled" the bicycles--we U-locked the front wheel to the frame, which makes it harder to carry off. We did that outside of small-town stores too, since they didn't have racks usually anyway.

    But keep in mind that on our tour, we spent significant quantities of time in big cities staying with people, and so we wanted a good lock while sight-seeing or whatever.

    For me the peace of mind is worth the weight. I'm a light sleeper, but I wear earplugs...
    "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood." -Susan B Anthony, 1896

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  10. #10
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Just a thought I haven’t seen mentioned here. If traveling with a companion and you have matching cable locks the cables can be connected to make one long cable. Doing this allows you to secure both bikes to a good size tree etc. that one lock alone couldn’t. Also two bikes connected together make it quite awkward to lift and carry away. No one has mentioned any type of alarm system. Does anyone tether the bike to the tent or hang a little bell or something under the frame at night.

    Someone above mentioned a ski lock that’s a good idea. I have a gun safety lock, it’s just a very light small cable lock. But I use it to connect both panniers together thru the rack. It could easily be cut with a wire cutter but will slow down the grab and go thief. All locks are really to slow down someone. If someone is determined to get your bike or stuff they will figure out a way. Where you leave your bike is as important as how you secure it. Locked in a public area hopefully an honest person will question or report someone taking an angle grinder to a lock.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    All locks are really to slow down someone. If someone is determined to get your bike or stuff they will figure out a way.
    Yep. We lock our bikes up inside the house since the only place I have ever had a bike stolen is from inside my house. Our road bikes were secured to a wall rack with a u lock and a pretty thick Kryptonite cable. My girlfriend lost the key to the lock. We called our LBS and one of the mechanics who lives near us made a house call after work. He brought the shop's cheap hand cutter. Took him about 3 min. to get through the cable. Had be brought the good tool it would have taken even less time.

  12. #12
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    U-lock and 6' cable, but I don't use them for every stop. it depends on setting and duration of stop.

  13. #13
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    I toured across North America without a lock. I had as much money tied up in things hanging off of the bike as the bike itself with no practical way to secure everything. If I lost my panniers and contents, tour was over, bike or no bike.

    My gut feeling (or hope anyway) is that the opportunistic thief (hey, there's a bike, let's steal it) will abandon the plan when they grab it and feel the weight of the whole mess.

    I've also been know to ask people on the street, shop vendors, etc. to keep an eye on it for a few minutes if I didn't like the security situation.

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    The vast majority of the time I am in rural and small town America when on tour. I usually don't bother to lock in the smallest most remote towns. In larger towns I use a cheap and light cable lock. In the largest towns and cities I may either lock or just never leave the bike unattended depending on how I perceive the risk. I take extra precautions any time things seem iffy. In really "bike friendly" cities or high crime areas I just don't leave the bike unattended at all.

    In camp at night I lock more often than not, depending on the location.

    The fact that I ride an inexpensive bike and don't pack much that is very theft worthy probably helps a lot. The few things that would interest most thieves go with me when I leave the bike. The rest is dirty clothes and used camping gear, not the most desirable items for a thief.

    The lock I have used in the past is something like 12 ounces, but I have switched to a lighter 5 ounce one for my next trip since I am going ultralight on that trip. Both are combination cable locks. Both are fairly easy to defeat, but should at least stop spur of the moment tool-less theft of the bike.

    When going ultralight I considered skipping the lock, but decided the 5 ounce one was a good compromise.

  15. #15
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I use this cable but I'd prefer a combinaison instead of a key. I don't always lock it, and even did a short 4-day trip without a lock. My only concern was at a large grocery store. I put the bike between the doors where the carts are and changed gears. When I eat in a restaurant, I choose a table with a view on my bike and close to the door. So far so good.

    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  16. #16
    djb
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    dear heyyou, when I am on The Tour, at night it goes into the truck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    G'day

    I am in the process actually of updating the "security" of my Surly Long Haul Trucker as I have a two to three month tour coming up where loosing it wouldn't be very helpful Plus I have now installed a SON28deluxe dynamo so want that secured as well. My new setup will be:

    (1) Abus Ampro 4850 frame lock for the visits to shops etc - something quick and easy to apply to hopefully discourage the opportunistic ride off thief;
    (2) Abus Cobra Loop to use with the frame lock for overnight/more secure locking;
    (3) Pitlock set 03/GA Ahead for the wheels and headset.

    I may add Ortlieb cable locks for the panniers as well. More for piece of mind that anything.

    Regards
    Andrew

  18. #18
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I'm a cable lock carrying, rarely locking type bike tourist.

    I wrote an article about my bike locking philosophy, in case anyone is interested.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  19. #19
    djb
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    ray, that is my take on it as well (your article) and so far (touch wood) thats what Ive always done.

  20. #20
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    The times I've been on long rides and had to leave the bike unattended I've used a simple approach. A U-lock goes through the frame and rear wheel, and something solid if possible. A steel cable with loops on both ends feeds through itself around the front wheel and the other loop goes into the U-lock. If the U-lock won't go around anything solid the cable does, wound tight enough to make it hard to move the bike very far. Finally a padlock secures the cable to one of the saddle rails.

    Then anything readily removable (lights, saddle bag, water bottle, GPS etc) gets removed and taken with me.

    If I'm leaving the bike for a short time then I may just resort to threading my cable through both wheels and the frame, around a tree or similar, and padlocking the two loops together. Nowhere near as secure but if I'm in a quiet wooded area and just want to be sure nobody hops on the bike and rides off while I'm taking a leak it does the job.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  21. #21
    Kilt wearing cyclist PomPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Frame mounted ring locks are great for quick stops, rear wheel wont roll.

    I made up a 12 foot long double loop cable, to secure my bike to picnic tables..

    so as to sleep well , at night.
    +1 on the frame mounted ring lock and cable.

    Store the cable in your pannier when not in use. With the ring lock I have (Axa Defender), you cannot remove the key unless the lock is properly engaged. I carry a bright colored, key lanyard (neck cord) in my handlebar bag. (The bright color makes it easier to see the lanyard among my mess of gear). When I park and use the ring lock, the key is attached to the lanyard, which then goes around my neck, or in a gear pocket in the tent at night.
    Everytime a bike is stolen,
    A faerie dies from the sorrow.

  22. #22
    djb
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    there is no way I would take a key type lock on a trip...llose it and it would be a royal hassle.

  23. #23
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I hang the key off my camelbak so don't worry about losing it as I always have the camelbak with me.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  24. #24
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    there is no way I would take a key type lock on a trip...llose it and it would be a royal hassle.
    Just take two. Keep one with you/handlebar bag, and put one in a pannier. I put it with my spare small parts (cable, bolts, etc)

  25. #25
    djb
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    oh well, personal preference, I dont trust myself but moreso that Ive never used one, so the habit of not having to keep track of a key isnt there.

    hey whatever works for you.

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