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Securing your bike and gear while shopping and exploring

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Securing your bike and gear while shopping and exploring

Old 12-10-15, 05:41 PM
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sprocketss
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Securing your bike and gear while shopping and exploring

Can someone comment on leaving your "locked" bike, loaded down with panniers with all your worldly possessions while doing a run to Walmart or whatever, and how respectful are people of your unattended campsite while exploring Joshua Tree NP for example. Any tips and suggestions in this direction would be appreciated.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:13 PM
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Nothing. I only locked my bike up twice this summer on an 8400 mile trip. In 17300 miles on the open road I have hardly ever locked up my bike. Choose your stops and you shouldn't have any trouble. Remember in this day and age too many people are too lazy to ride a bike, unloaded, yet alone a fully loaded down bike.

I can't speak for the campsite since I always stealth camp and never get to the campsite much before 11PM.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:18 PM
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I always advise locking up your bike and taking your valuables (wallet, money, ID cards) always with you, even inside a gas station. While it rarely happens, if you don't lock up your bike, all it would take is a 15 seconds for someone in a pick up to lift up your bike, place it the truck, and drive off. Even if the lock is a cheapie.

What some people do if they can't secure their bike (camping in the dessert) is to lock it to their tent.

But in saying that, theft is rare when just a little bit of common sense is applied.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Can someone comment on leaving your "locked" bike, loaded down with panniers with all your worldly possessions while doing a run to Walmart or whatever, and how respectful are people of your unattended campsite while exploring Joshua Tree NP for example. Any tips and suggestions in this direction would be appreciated.
Hide your stuff somewhere forests, bear's lair or whatever before going to Walmart.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:23 PM
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Front skewers go in my pocket if nobody has a lock. That slows down the quick ride off but I also keep my eyes on the bikes as much as possible.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:28 PM
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One of the things I have done is to talk to the campground managers about locking some things up.

In a large busy tourist campground near Fraser Island, Queensland, my cycling partner and I had booked to spend the day on the tour bus touring Fraser Island. But we felt a bit uncomfortable just leaving all our stuff in our tent. So we talked to the campground manager, and they had a shed where we could put our bicycles and a couple panniers. We left our tent and sleeping bags in place, but packed up everything else and stored it. That worked.

[HR][/HR]
A few other tips ...

-- don't take too much stuff. If you travel fairly light, you might be able to carry quite a bit of your stuff with you when you lock up the bicycle.

-- don't bring a whole bunch of stuff you'd hate to lose. Or if you do have that kind of stuff with you, make sure you can carry it with you when you leave the campground or bicycle.

-- bring a lightweight backpack. Rowan and I each have one of these, and they fold down to practically nothing ... but yet they are surprisingly large and durable. I have put my whole handlebar bag into mine and have had room left over for my laptop and jacket. This will enable you to carry the important stuff with you fairly easily.

-- several locks. I have locked the bicycle and also strung a lock through my panniers to attach them to my bicycle, and I have used tiny locks to lock the pannier closed. Yeah, sure, a pannier can be cut, but our panniers are fairly heavy duty, and having to fiddle with locks or cutting things slows the process.

-- shop in places with large front windows and park your bicycle near the large front window ... small grocery stores in small towns often have a setup like this.
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Old 12-10-15, 06:40 PM
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I find that one advantage of my having an inexpensive bike and gear that I can afford to replace is that I worry less about it.

I only take a really minimal lock and often do not use it. Many of the places I go on tour I just find the risks to be really low. In those places I don't usually lock at all.

There are places where I won't leave my bike and gear even if it is locked. In those places I usually don't let my stuff out of my sight. I sometimes have wheeled the bike up and down the aisles of a grocery store. No one has ever had a problem with it that I know of, but if they did they probably would have allowed it to come inside and sit near the register.

One thing I will say, things that are out in plain sight can be just too tempting. The few items that have had go missing were things out in plain sight on top of the rack.
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Old 12-10-15, 08:15 PM
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We take reasonable precautions, but are not paranoid about bike and gear theft. It would be impossible to enjoy a tour if we were overly cautious about gear. My wife and I each carry a 6' cable and a hefty looking lock. There are places where we feel comfortable leaving our bikes and gear, and then there are those places where we keep them in sight. Someday we may be wrong, but until then we will enjoy our tours. Situational awareness!!

Sometimes you have to be creative.



We left our bike cabled to this fence in a Swiss campground, walked the 3 miles to town and hopped a train (actually 3 trains) to see a specific mountain in the Alps. It was a mountain I've dreamed of climbing since I was a kid, the North Face of the Eiger. I gave up that notion a long time ago, but I really wanted to see it. Our valuables came with us and our notebook was stored in the campground's office. We were gone from dawn to well after dark.



I really misread this one. As we were locking our bikes up at this diner in Cleveland, Ohio, the waitress came out and told us to bring our bikes inside, "because they won't be there when you come back out". We did


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Old 12-10-15, 08:22 PM
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I don't ride an expensive bike or have expensive, easy to remove parts.
I always take my wallet, camera and phone in a small backpack (an empty camelback pack).
I don't stop at sketchy places like walmart.
I lock my bike with a light Kryptonite cable.

If someone wants to root through my bags they can have my old sleeping bag, book, can of beans and dirty laundry. Tools are usually buried on the bottom.
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Old 12-10-15, 08:25 PM
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I have taken my bike into a grocery store and walked it up and down the aisles. When I got to the check-out, I was told that the cashier was a biker and she would have watched it for me. Note that trying to hold a shopping basket, a loaded touring bike, and grab something off the shelf is something requiring balance, experience, and some creativity.

In most places, I put the bike where I can see it and simply tied a rope around my front wheel to keep it upright and to slow down a snatch and grab thief.
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Old 12-10-15, 08:52 PM
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I install Pitlock skewers, headset cap and seat post binder for touring in some areas. And carry a lock suitable for the area. For an upcoming trip in the Florida Keys, where I plan to spend a substantial amount of time away from the bike, I'm bringing an Abus folding lock. I've heard bike theft is high in Key West, and assume the rest of the Keys aren't much different. In other areas, a cable and lock is fine.

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Old 12-10-15, 08:53 PM
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Lock it up in plain sight near the entrance to store where a lot of people are coming and going. Thieves don't like company. Take valuables with you - I take my handlebar bag. At the campground it is the same situation... if there are people around there is someone to ask to watch it or at least there will be eyes on it. If there aren't may people at the campground that is when I would be concerned.

It also helps if your bike is kinda ugly... that is why a lot of folks put stickers on.

It pays to take reasonable precautions, but if you are constantly over concerned about theft it could be a trip killer.
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Old 12-10-15, 08:59 PM
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I made these lightweight security cables for our Ortlieb panniers about 8 years ago. I ordered some extra clips from Ortlieb, and they fit neatly in the rack mounting slot. They are meant to foil thefts of opportunity. I've used them maybe twice when we left our gear in a sketchy campground for short periods.

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Old 12-10-15, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by timdow View Post
At the campground it is the same situation... if there are people around there is someone to ask to watch it or at least there will be eyes on it. If there aren't may people at the campground that is when I would be concerned.
The person you ask to watch your stuff just has to say : "it wasn't me".
And you're good to leave the place angry but without your stuff
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Old 12-10-15, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
I have taken my bike into a grocery store and walked it up and down the aisles. When I got to the check-out, I was told that the cashier was a biker and she would have watched it for me. Note that trying to hold a shopping basket, a loaded touring bike, and grab something off the shelf is something requiring balance, experience, and some creativity.

In most places, I put the bike where I can see it and simply tied a rope around my front wheel to keep it upright and to slow down a snatch and grab thief.
I do the same thing more often than I care to admit. I'm pleasantly surprised at how willingly shop owners and clerks allow it. I figure I may look strange pushing my bike into a store, but I would look a lot more strange ending my tour without a bike.
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Old 12-10-15, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
The person you ask to watch your stuff just has to say : "it wasn't me".
And you're good to leave the place angry but without your stuff
Yes, could happen. Or the person you ask to watch your stuff knows you are away and takes off with it. This is where judgement comes in. Last time I was out a nice couple in a big RV let us lock our packed bikes to the RV right next to their door. Really all you can do is take reasonable precautions and trust your instincts. There is always the option of finding a riding partner or group if the risks of riding alone are too much.
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Old 12-10-15, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by pataspen View Post
I do the same thing more often than I care to admit. I'm pleasantly surprised at how willingly shop owners and clerks allow it. I figure I may look strange pushing my bike into a store, but I would look a lot more strange ending my tour without a bike.
I haven't done that, but I have brought my bike into a store and parked it up front by the registers. Better than outside I guess.
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Old 12-11-15, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
The person you ask to watch your stuff just has to say : "it wasn't me".
And you're good to leave the place angry but without your stuff
I figure that if I use decent judgement about the location and the person, that is exceedingly unlikely. Certainly unlikely enough that I am willing to take the chance in some places and some situations. My thought is that theft is always a possibility even when your stuff is locked up at home, so you take reasonable precautions and then don't worry.

BTW, "bike friendly" cities are probably the most risky and where you should probably be the most careful. Bike theft in cities like Eugene, Seattle, and even smaller ones like Baker City. Remote small rural towns where folks don't lock anything and may not even have a key to their house, I don't give theft even a passing thought.
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Old 12-11-15, 05:47 AM
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Securing your bike and gear while shopping and exploring

If often take my bike into a store and lean it against the wall or window nearest the cashiers but not in anybody's way.... Then quickly into the aisles before anyone can tell me to take it out. As I shop, I try to keep an eye on it.

Otherwise I'll lock it outside leant up against a window where I can see it from inside the store.
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Old 12-11-15, 09:58 AM
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Many different approaches, I myself am somewhat relaxed about my gear, it but I do feel I must be "situationally aware". I have a kryptonite lock I am loath to bring as it weighs a ton.

The lock comes with a 4 foot cable, With this be good enough to secure my goods with a decent padlock? Would this be enough security for most to you folks, or should I also bring the kryptonite lock?

I like the idea of walking my bike into the store if possible, what I've learned through all of these replies is that I should look at smaller stores to do my shopping.

I definitely imagine myself spending a lot of time away from my campsite, I guess I'll just have to trust In the bike gods and keep my pannier's covered in the tent. What I guess is a no go is that I cannot solar charge my external batteries while I'm away from the campsite. So I guess I'll be away from civilization for a while, probably a good thing.

I will make an assumption here, I assume those in the national parks are responsible and respectful?
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Old 12-11-15, 10:15 AM
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all the comments about being aware of the surroundings, using common sense, judging people, etc etc, are all spot on and generally reflect my experiences.
The thing here is that you have to develop these instincts and awarenesses by actually getting out in the world and developing them on your own--this isnt meant to be a slight, but just to say that tips and such are great, but you really do have to develop street smarts and a good awareness of a given situation, and common sense from experience.
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Old 12-11-15, 10:17 AM
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Well, I have lived and biked in many big cities, so I feel I am "situationally aware", it's more leaving my gear unattended is where I have no experience.
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Old 12-11-15, 10:20 AM
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I don't know about US parks but Canadian ones have a slight problem with theft from stuff laying around camp, otherwise not bad. Mostly cooler or booze thefts. I put my panniers in the tent under my sleeping bag. That's all one can reasonably do. I also just use the kryp. cable. Cheaper cables can be cut with a simple pliers but those cables supposedly need a bolt cutter. If someone is packing one of those there's not a lot you can do. In my experience the U lock is good but limited by the type of structures you can lock up to.

Mainly I try to deter the random "crime of opportunity" scenario. It is pretty hard to prevent all theft from pre calculated, determined thieves. Even a U bolt can be popped by the right kind of car jack.
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Old 12-11-15, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Well, I have lived and biked in many big cities, so I feel I am "situationally aware", it's more leaving my gear unattended is where I have no experience.
gotcha, what it comes down to is your gut feeling for a given environment. If I go into a store in sleepy small town wherever, leaving my bike out front usually wont be a worry to me (I always take my handlebar with me, valuables in it, always always no matter where). A diff town and a diff vibe may have me bring the bike into the store and politely ask a cashier if they can keep an eye on it.
A small coil lock in the wheel and frame, and maybe even through the loops of my front panniers, will mean if teenage punk walks by, he just cant roll it away. The age old technique of having drying clothes on your rear panniers under a bungee is a sure fire way to keep hands off, have an outward turned pair of bike shorts or socks and this heightens the effect.

I have had to leave my things in a tent before while playing tourist, sleeping bag and stuff, so not overly attractive or rather valuable to a thief, but again, depends on the vibe of the campground. Are there families around, can you ask people to keep an eye out, can you leave stuff with camp wardens (as already suggested)?
So many variables but really comes down to each specific place and being friendly and approaching people is a big part of dealing with some situations like when its perhaps better not to leave things in view.
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Old 12-11-15, 11:44 AM
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Always lock bike. I use a cable lock.

But if going into a restaurant where I will probably see the bike from where I sit, then only use a skier type lock like the ones they use for their skis. A skier type lock is a handy lock to have for if I run into the can at a gas station, etc. Such a lock is only intended to slow them down, so I only use it where slowing down a thief is sufficient.

All my valuables are in a handlebar bag that goes inside with me.

The hard part is when I go sightseeing, I might not want to take my handlebar bag with me for a day hike. In those situations I just take what I think is most critical with me in my pockets, the rest is in the tent. On some tours I have carried a small fanny pack for when I go sightseeing.

On a bike tour I use bolt on skewers, not quick release. Thus I am less concerned about getting my cable lock thru the wheels when I lock it up in a campsite. Not the type that uses a special key, skewers use any normal 5mm allen wrench. I am assuming the worst thieves are opportunists. I want a bolt on skewer that I do not have to worry about loosing a special key. My current favorite is the Halo brand.
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