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  1. #1
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Leaving your campsite for the afternoon / evening wgen near town?

    Any time I have camped near town and wanted to leave the campsite for the afternoon or evening, I have always been in a situation where I have had other cyclist / campers nearby. Not that there might not be a thief amongst all those touring cyclists, or that they would be standing guard over my gear, I have always thought that it is sort of an unspoken code touring cyclists have one another's back and I have felt fairly comfortable leaving my camp for a few hours. Of course taking all of my valuables.

    I plan on taking just an overnight at the end of the month. It is just a short ride to a really great campsite next to the river and just outside of a small town. There is a cross trail that can be explored but it requires a climb up some rather steep and long steps. It would be easier if I don't have my gear.

    I am debating setting up camp and leaving most of my gear in the tent and go find the cross trail or explore elsewhere. When camping near town, does anyone worry about leaving their gear for a few hours? It is a small town but I am sure it has it's bad element too. Sadly there is a problem with drugs in some of our more rural areas.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    As I see it, and have experienced it, can you really enjoy the side trail worried about your gear? Probably not.

    One solution I've used is to hide the gear in the woods, being careful of course to remember where. All significant valuables are with me.
    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

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Does the campground have a camp office?

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    +1 for leaving your stuff someplace secure with campground staff.

    Or ask them what they'd recommend. They would know if there have been problems with thieves.

    This wouldn't apply to your campground, but I've been in some in bear country that have huge lockable bear-proof food lockers. I was able to put all my stuff plus the bike (with wheels removed) inside the locker, lock it up, and do a hike with peace of mind.
    Last edited by stevepusser; 05-08-13 at 08:43 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mtnbud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    One solution I've used is to hide the gear in the woods, being careful of course to remember where. All significant valuables are with me.
    +1 I suspect this isn't a "Campground", but a spot along the river where you are allowed to camp? Your stuff will probably fine, but what if... Better not to have any problems
    Last edited by mtnbud; 05-08-13 at 10:11 PM.
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  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    All significant valuables are with me.
    And one more time for emphasis:

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    All significant valuables are with me.
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  7. #7
    Garlic
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    The few times I've been faced with that situation, I make sure I have my wallet, lock the bike, and don't worry about the rest of it--it's just stuff. One reason I go touring is to get away from concerns like that. If it disappeared, the trip would change into a new challenge. It never has. I don't bring anything that would change my life, or even need an insurance claim, if it walked away. Some people tour with computers, camera gear, solar chargers and full kitchens and stuff that's hard to secure and that's a different story.

    My traveling style is geared around staying away from situations like that. I enjoy my town stops during the day, and get away from town to camp. Or it's easy enough to hide and lock the bike behind a bush and pick it up later. Making camp after dark is not impossible.

    What's more likely for me is leaving my bike and panniers at a crowded trailhead for a few days while I'm off hiking. Again, it's easy enough to camouflage the bike at most trailheads. A little common sense goes a long way--don't be a target.

  8. #8
    imi
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    Leaving your campsite for the afternoon / evening wgen near town?

    I NEVER leave my bike out of sight on tour. The thought of returning to find it gone is, uh, unthinkable.

    Everything else I happily leave in my tent which I lock with a mini padlock on the outside zipper.
    Passport, money and credit cards go with me everywhere (of course, neh?)

    Obviously this means I can't go hiking, but I'm good with that.

    If an organised campsite had a locked storage room, then maybe...


    .
    Last edited by imi; 05-09-13 at 08:47 AM.

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    I also participate in a hikers forum. There was a recent post where a hiker left his pack in a shelter for just 15 minutes and returned to find it gone. In his case, even though the had "valuables" on him like his wallet and phone, he had over $1,500 worth of gear in that pack. More importantly, the lost of the pack ended his attempt to hike the AT.

    So while it is "just stuff", just how dependant are you on that "stuff" when you're out touring? Is it "stuff" that you can easily replace and keep touring? Would the loss of this stuff be the end of your tour? Whould you be able to get you and your bike back home?

  10. #10
    imi
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    Leaving your campsite for the afternoon / evening wgen near town?

    ^^ exactly, stuff is just stuff, can be replaced, insured, but losing stuff (bike especially) can totally ruin a trip

  11. #11
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    It is a dilemma. Having your stuff stolen would be financially survivable, but, yes, could cut your trip short. In general, I don't worry too much about stuff at a campsite. I can toss things in my tent, which makes it fairly hard to see if I have anything worthwhile, and to do a snatch and grab, a person would really want to know that my tent was unoccupied, which you wouldn't necessarily know if you didn't see me leave. But then my tent is a hammock, so you might assume that I wasn't hanging out in there playing solitaire on a nice day, and no vehicle in sight might be a clue. Still, I tend to leave some stuff out so the campsite doesn't appear abandoned, but hide most stuff away to not tempt anyone. And, yes, wallet and electronics stay with me.

    Where I've had more issues is in the city. Last summer my mini-tour ended in Cleveland, where I caught a train home. The last day, bumming around downtown, was pretty enjoyable except that leaving my bike was kind of tense. It was not practical to remove all my bags every time, so I wrapped my cable in a way that made the bags trickier to remove, and tried not to stray too far. Going into the mall to use a restroom was the most stressful. After that, I found a little street festival to hang out at. There I could keep my bike in view most of the time, and I felt okay about leaving it for short periods of time. I figure a potential thief would have a hard time knowing, given the number of people around, that the owner wasn't watching the bike. Also this was the end of the trip, so while the theft of my gear would have been unfortunate, I would have still had in my possession everything I needed to get home.

    So securing your stuff is definitely an issue. In a campsite, I'm generally willing to roll the dice and leave my stuff in my tent, out of site. In the middle of the day in smaller towns, I generally feel okay about my stuff being left on the bike while I shop or grab a meal. But cities make me nervous, for my supplies and for my bike, and I wish there were better solutions. I guess for some the solution is to avoid the cities, but I enjoy my city time as well as my rural time.

  12. #12
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    Ditto, and that's why it's all "significant valuables". At least for my last couple tours since I carry so little. Luckily I can bring everything along with me into a store if need be thanks to the folding ability.

    It's futile to ask others if they watch your stuff.
    Case 1: Local road cyclist were sitting outside a coffee shop. They agreed to watch my bike while I went in to purchase food. They were gone when I came out.
    Case 2: Store clerk was smoking in-front of the store. We talked and the clerk offered to watch the bike. As I went into the store she followed me.

    Of course if you don't expect it you get special treatment like at a restaurant that had a security person outside. He was so interested in the bike he rarely took an eye off it while I was eating. Even though I never asked and had it in sight most of the time.
    One man's adventure is somebody else's boring life. These are my adventures: http://adventurelaus.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Senior Member zandoval's Avatar
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    With real sympathy I present the dilemma - 20 to 40 pounds of gear including bike - 10 pounds of chains and cables, 5 pounds of keyed locks and still...

    Will it all be there when I get back?

    Old Army term: "When in the field don't leave the boat..."

    And the Boy Scout corollary to that is "Don't take anything in the field your not willing to loose."

    And of course its all for the love of touring... Really not bad at all...

  14. #14
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I also participate in a hikers forum. There was a recent post where a hiker left his pack in a shelter for just 15 minutes and returned to find it gone. In his case, even though the had "valuables" on him like his wallet and phone, he had over $1,500 worth of gear in that pack. More importantly, the lost of the pack ended his attempt to hike the AT.

    So while it is "just stuff", just how dependant are you on that "stuff" when you're out touring? Is it "stuff" that you can easily replace and keep touring? Would the loss of this stuff be the end of your tour? Whould you be able to get you and your bike back home?
    If it is a short trip it might end my trip, but on a long tour I'd most likely retool and keep going. In the unlikely even everything went missing I figure that I could pick up a junker bike if nothing else was available and if necessary credit card it for a few days while I collected new gear or had some sent from home. I don't carry all that much gear and could replace it all for about $1000 with the same quality. Given that it would be a time crunch, a Walmart sleeping bag and tent would suffice. That can run as little as $60-70 for both combined Add a cheap pot and cook over a fire of make a pop can stove and you would be in OK shape. In a pinch you can get by with not much more gear than that. Using so few items it is easy to strap it all on the bike without panniers and maybe even without a rack. Worst case it isn't that unpleasant to ride with 5-10 pounds of stuff in a backpack.

    I met a few folks who were camping with a minimal number of gear items and using cheap stuff from Walmart and they seemed to be having as much fun as anyone else. Personally I prefer the minimal number of items route, but do like to splurge on nice gear for a few items. One of those guys was doing it as an exercise and the other flew in from Japan and bought walmart grade stuff when he got here with the intention of giving it away when he was done. Even the bike was a throw away.

    One advantage of packing only the minimal gear and riding an inexpensive bike is that you can afford to replace it if it goes missing. Also with minimal gear I could even take it all with me on a day hike if I was that worried. That said I usually don't worry about it.

  15. #15
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    In GOD I trust.....the rest of you have to earn it....

    I get everything out of the way before going to camp.....Once I'm there,I stay most of the time.Never really had anything missing.....and I'd like to keep it that way.Tempt fate too many times....and your wish will be granted.
    Last edited by Booger1; 05-09-13 at 03:54 PM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  16. #16
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    There is no camp office. It's just a small free campsite setup by volunteers that is just outside of town. I might just stay put when I get to camp except to run into town to get some dinner.

    The bike will always be with me. It is just an overnight thing as long as the bike does not get stolen, it won't totally ruin the trip and I am close enough to home that I could call for help.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  17. #17
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    I don't let the fear of possible theft stop me from exploring. I routinely leave my bikle and gear in camp unattended. If basic precautions seem in order, I take them. Things like locking my bike to something and/or putting it out of sight if it's visible from the road and/or to the general public. I always carry my wallet. I usually don't leave out anything that looks like it could be worth stealing. I almost leanred that one the hard way when I spotted some town kids about to steal my stove. I left it sitting out in plain view next to a public road that led to a trailer park. I was sitting outside the campground laundry room reading when I saw a car stop. A kid got out, looked around and then started to go over the simple, low fence that was the only thing separating the road from the tent camping area. I jumped up and started walking briskly toward my tent. The kid saw me, ran back to the car and sped off with his buddy.

    Survey your surroundings. Assess the risk. Take reasonable precautions. What I do if I am camping in a location that is busy and had easy public access is likely going to be different than what I do if I am in a small, relatively secluded place with people who don't look like they would take anything from me. For example, two years ago we stayed at a BLM campground near Divide, MT, which is a flayspeck of a place. The campground was down a dirt road about a mile from the highway. The other people staying there were mostly in RVs or trailers. There was also one group of late 20-somethings that were on an organized raffting tour. We left everything out all day and night and never locked up our bikes The following day we stayed at the free bike camp in Twin Bridges, which actually has a bit of a population, and the faciliuty is close to one of the main roads into town and right next to a comfort station for drivers. When we went to town we locked our bikes together inside the indoor portion of the facility so they were out of sight fo the general public. We also left our other gear in there and set up the tent on the law outside only after we were back in camp for good.

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