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Where to keep bike at night when camp/touring?

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Where to keep bike at night when camp/touring?

Old 03-28-15, 01:51 PM
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Where to keep bike at night when camp/touring?

New to site, looked quickly for this topic, sorry if it's been covered...

I'll be solo touring northern pacific coast with some inland excursions this July, mostly camping at state/national parks hopefully.
First ever bike tour, and I'm also fairly new to camping.

Where do most people keep their bikes at night?

I can fit my bike in my current 3p tent, but I'm considering getting a much smaller/lighter tent for this trip. (2-3 lbs vs 5-6 lbs)
Do people get specific tents with big vestibules? Do they lock their bike to bike racks (or other immovable object)?, and if so, what kind of lock? My U lock is very heavy, but my other lock seems cuttable with any significant equipment.
Do people just lean bikes against tent, and trust the good nature of camping folks? or lean them, and put a lock on wheel and frame?

Thanks so much for any responses!
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Old 03-28-15, 01:56 PM
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Times may have changed, and areas may differ, but I've never had any issues leaving my bike unlocked in or near my campsite. Bike theft is largely a crime of opportunity, and if you consider how small the number of people who'll even know there's a bike there to steal, the odds are greatly in your favor.

If you're nervous use whatever cable lock or whatever you're using when stopped along the road, and maybe tie a bunch of noisemakers to the bike so if it's touched or jostled it'll wake the world.
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Old 03-28-15, 02:12 PM
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I would if possible position the bike between an immovable object and the tent, then attach it somehow to the tent so that the tent would get unavoidably shaken by an attempt.
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Old 03-28-15, 02:20 PM
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Was a trip leader on 1 teen California coast AYH trip, the un locked bike was stolen overnight and the kid. trip over was sent home on the Bus.

a Cable to attach it to something.. if nothing around The long cable I Made up to secure the bike to a fence or tree

I can put under the tent and put a tentstake through the Loop. and the other end in the Bike lock on the bike ,

so someone trying to take the bike moves the Tent and I can yell
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Old 03-28-15, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mtbikerinpa
I would if possible position the bike between an immovable object and the tent, then attach it somehow to the tent so that the tent would get unavoidably shaken by an attempt.
+1 to the above. This is exactly what I do and I sleep better because of it.
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Old 03-28-15, 02:28 PM
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I think I usually have a bike lock with me.

When solo-travelling in Italy, I would routinely take the wheels off the bike, and bring it into the tent with me. 2-man tent, just kept it to one side. I suppose it would just depend on the situation whether the bike would be locked, unlocked, or in the tent.
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Old 03-28-15, 03:12 PM
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I wouldn't worry about hardcore thieves in a camp site, so even a small, lighter weight lock should do fine. When I did the coast, I brought my Kryptonite chain lock. It weighs a few pounds, but a lock is the one thing I don't try to save weight on when touring. I'll carry an extra two pounds to make sure my trip doesn't get ended with my bike getting stolen. I always just lock to a bench in the camp site or small tree.
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Old 03-28-15, 03:41 PM
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I typically lean my bike against one of the trees my hammock is strung between. Nobody is going to steal it without waking me up. If it rains I've got a big rain fly that covers my hammock, the bicycle, and a cooking area. That lets me get to any part of my little deal and keep it and me dry.

At motels I go for a ground floor room if possible. And the bike comes in the room with me. Most places are very accommodating. I've received a little push back on just a couple of occasions but I politely explained I was traveling on the bicycle and it's loaded with gear etc. And I would be clean and careful etc. And got my way there in the end while at least appearing to be willing to ride on up the road.
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Old 03-28-15, 04:12 PM
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For touring I use a master lock Python. It's light, packs easy and flexible. I attach my bike to the campground bench right next to my tent. On a side note I use my tent dry-stuff sack as a saddle rain cover.

Model No. 8417D | Master Lock
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Old 03-28-15, 04:51 PM
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In good weather when I want the vestibule open for air, I position the bike across the doorway about 4 feet out and use the saddle and handlebar to support the vestibule, awning style. Inclimate weather, where the tent needs to be closed up. I throw a light cable lock arond the picnic table/tree/something.
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Old 03-28-15, 06:45 PM
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I use a heavy cable lock with a separate combination padlock, lock it to some immoveable object like a tree or fence. If you were really nervous, you could pull a wheel off of it and put it under your tent fly, a bike that does not roll well is less desirable to a thief. A lock and cable are hanging from a strap on the outside of my left rear pannier in the photo.

On some trips I have also brought a smaller lock for when I stay at a hostel, I can put a lock (like the ones skiers use to lock their skis) other than my bike lock on the locker with my stuff in the hostel. And when I have that and if I stop for only a few minutes in a restaurant or grocery store, it is often more convenient to use that instead of the big lock. The photo is the skier type lock I use. The purpose of this lock is just to stop an opportunist, it won't stop a serious thief.

I think 98 percent of the bike tourists use regular skewers, but I prefer the ones that are not quick release - instead the skewers I use requre a 5mm Allen wrench. There have been a few times I only locked a wheel instead of the frame to some immovable object, this way there is no quick release to mess up that plan. I find that the Halo XL skewers work well for me, some of my bikes have thick dropouts and I need the extra length of the XL.
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Old 03-28-15, 06:47 PM
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My tents do have vestibules large enough to accommodate the bike in bad weather, but I rarely worry about locking it at campgrounds in state or national parks. If it bothers you,lock it as you would around home.

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Old 03-28-15, 09:08 PM
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We almost always lock all of the bikes together to a pole with a simple cable lock. We just catch the frames and a wheel. It is little hassle to do it and saves a big hassle if one is stolen. We might not bother if we are somewhere pretty remote, but in a campground we always lock.
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Old 03-28-15, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
For touring I use a master lock Python.
any idea how much that weighs? i checked masterlock website, they have a series of
8 cable locks, lotsa product info, but no weights.

they're not in stores here in china....i'd have to mailorder.....
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Old 03-28-15, 10:04 PM
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My wife and I both carry a medium weight cable and Master locks that are keyed the same. U-Locks are not much use in a campground. I don't usually take my panniers in at night either. I just stowe them under the picnic table or tuck them under the tent's rainfly. The cable will deter the opportunistic thief. We left out bikes cabled to a wooden fence in a Swiss campground all day while we hopped 3 trains to take a quick trip to a mountain I wanted to see.

This wooden fence. Our panniers went in the tent, and the campground office stored our netbook.

This is our usual method, but a pole, bear box, or picnic table also works. We carry motel give-away shower caps to cover the saddles at night.

Sometimes you just have to get creative. This hotel did not allow bikes in the rooms, but had a "secure" parking garage.

On the Pacific Coast Route I'd be more concerned about marauding raccoons. One tried to drag one of my panniers away

Last edited by Doug64; 03-29-15 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 03-29-15, 05:18 AM
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A very light cable lock is all I ever carry and a lot of the time I don't even bother with it. It depends on where you are. On the PCH there were places where I don't lock and places where I won't leave the bike unattended at all. Use your judgement depending on the location.
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Old 03-29-15, 06:54 AM
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Waiting for Louis Le Tour to chime in and try to frighten the OP into believing there is a thief just waiting to pounce on you every minute of the day.
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Old 03-29-15, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Ghazmh
For touring I use a master lock Python.
I use an actual python. Nobody gets close to my bike.
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Old 03-29-15, 08:53 AM
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I lock my bike to the picnic table.
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Old 03-29-15, 12:41 PM
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The bike always leans up against the building I'm sleeping beside/dugout I'm sleeping in and I'm right beside it. Like some others have said if they are going to steal the bike they more than likely will have to wake me up to do it. Generally my entire campsite footprint, including the bike, could be placed on 4x8 sheet of plywood. I don't carry a bike lock with me when I tour. I've never had any kind of problems with anyone doing anything to my bike or any of my gear.
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Old 03-30-15, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Erick L
I use an actual python. Nobody gets close to my bike.
chuckle Erick....

me too, I used to use actual Cobras but then a delinquent Mongoose stole my bike.
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Old 03-30-15, 08:24 AM
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I usually chain it to a picnic table and add a small lock on the high point of the chain. With the lock high enough its probably high enough that there isnt enough room for a bolt cutter. In one campground, I was given an empty shed with the door
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Old 03-30-15, 09:00 AM
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I went to the hardware store and bought 4 feet of light steel cable with plastic coating, steel ferrules and a light padlock and made my cable lock. It weighs just 4oz. It is a deterence at best but at least requires the would be thief to have a cable cutter. Looped around a tent pole, I think it is pretty effective.
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Old 03-30-15, 10:57 AM
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My first time down the Pacific Coast, the first few nights I locked, then decided it was not needed and have not since. Most of the campgrounds are very safe, while not secure, they are far enough removed from foot traffic and off the beaten path that it would take somebody really motivated to take your ride. It's a judgement call, follow your instinct, but I think a small 3' - 4' length of lightweight cable + small padlock is plenty. Sometimes you get a bad vibe from one of your RV neighbors, may be nice to have something in this case. I think the time it's needed most is when going into a store for food, I refuse to leave my bike unattended, but most stores are willing to let you bring it inside and out of the way.

I also try having the most transient looking bike in camp, they'd likely take somebody else's rather than mine.

With that said, along the PCH there are a number of thief's you must be very careful of, in most of the campgrounds. They wear black eye bandannas and always sneak into camp at night. Raccoon's are your biggest worry....
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Old 03-30-15, 11:02 AM
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I attach the rain fly to the bike. If someone moves the bike, the rain fly would go slack, and it would wake me up for sure.
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