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Bike locks on tour

Old 03-22-23, 12:29 PM
  #1  
nun
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Bike locks on tour

I'm interested to see how people secure their bikes when on tour. Do you have a partner to always stay with the bikes, or do you carry a lock? I use a cable lock to deter opportunist thieves, but it could be cut in a few seconds by a real thief. I now also have an Airtag on the bike and a very loud vibration alarm in one of my bags.
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Old 03-22-23, 12:59 PM
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1. My first line of defense is to be situationally aware and avoid leaving my bike when I feel uncomfortable and more generally in more urban situations. As an example, in an urban area I might park the bike in a motel room at end of the day - and then go walking from there - rather than stopping along the way.
2. A secondary line of defense where I need to go in somewhere and it is more crowded, is to see if I can find someone to help watch the bike. For example, if a security guard won't let me bring my bike in with me - then I'll ask them to help watch it - or might strike up conversation with someone selling girl scout cookies in front of a store, etc.
3. Where these scenarios don't work and I need to go in, e.g. a quick trip in a convenience store during my ride. I'll lock with cable/combo lock and otherwise have the bike public.

Knock on wood, so far been fortunate in the only bike I've had stolen was (1) when not on tour (2) parked in front of a super-market (3) unlocked. While on tour, I've had small things stolen off the bike or been with fellow riders who had things stolen, e.g.
- Once in India, guards wouldn't let me take my bike into my hotel room and insisted things would be safe downstairs in the locked garage. Left and discovered my bicycle bell was missing.
- Once in Russia, my riding partner parked her loaded bike in front of a small store. Young hoodlums took her pump and ran away. She saw them but wasn't able to catch them.
- Once in Tanzania, I was on a TDA ride where two bikes were stolen. Riders/staff talked with village elders and somehow few days later bikes were returned, no questions asked.
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Old 03-22-23, 01:17 PM
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I usually prefer if someone can wait with the bikes, but if I need to lock my bike up I have an Abus Bordo folding lock. It's more compact than a U-lock and is decently secure. It's also convinent to access since it has a holster on the frame, though on rough terrain it rattles which can get irritating (so it goes into a bag). I would like to find a lighter option, but since I tend to worry about the bike getting stolen, it's fine for now. I like the idea of an alarm.
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Old 03-22-23, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
1. My first line of defense is to be situationally aware and avoid leaving my bike when I feel uncomfortable and more generally in more urban situations. As an example, in an urban area I might park the bike in a motel room at end of the day - and then go walking from there - rather than stopping along the way.
2. A secondary line of defense where I need to go in somewhere and it is more crowded, is to see if I can find someone to help watch the bike. For example, if a security guard won't let me bring my bike in with me - then I'll ask them to help watch it - or might strike up conversation with someone selling girl scout cookies in front of a store, etc.
3. Where these scenarios don't work and I need to go in, e.g. a quick trip in a convenience store during my ride. I'll lock with cable/combo lock and otherwise have the bike public.

Knock on wood, so far been fortunate in the only bike I've had stolen was (1) when not on tour (2) parked in front of a super-market (3) unlocked. While on tour, I've had small things stolen off the bike or been with fellow riders who had things stolen, e.g.
- Once in India, guards wouldn't let me take my bike into my hotel room and insisted things would be safe downstairs in the locked garage. Left and discovered my bicycle bell was missing.
- Once in Russia, my riding partner parked her loaded bike in front of a small store. Young hoodlums took her pump and ran away. She saw them but wasn't able to catch them.
- Once in Tanzania, I was on a TDA ride where two bikes were stolen. Riders/staff talked with village elders and somehow few days later bikes were returned, no questions asked.
If I stay in a hotel or motel I'll always choose one that allows bikes in the room. In N. America I'm use to bikes always being allowed in your room, but once in Canada I got to a motel late and was told no bikes in the rooms so I left and managed to find another motel a few blocks away that was ok with it. If I'm at a campsite I lock the bike to a picnic table or tree or if one isn't convenient I drag the bike into my tent's vestibule and just lock the wheels. If I'm stopping at a cafe or to buy food I choose busy areas and smaller stores so I'm never too far from the bike, always lock it to something solid and take my handlebar bag with my valuables. Now I set my vibration alarm too.
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Old 03-22-23, 03:20 PM
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I also take a cable lock that could be easily cut, but don’t use it much, and I tour alone. I especially ignore it most places I sleep.
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Old 03-22-23, 06:37 PM
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I take a keyed lock and cable when I tour. I rarely lock the bike when I go into a store, but I do tie a piece of rope around the frame and front tire so no one can run off with it and put it where I can see it.

When I go into food stores, I often ask if it is OK to leave the bike at the front inside the store. There usually is someone who bikes that works there and says “sure, no problem.”

Once, in Sicily, I was told to leave my bike outside the B&B where I had booked a room (and told them I needed a secure place for my bike). I did this and when the manager left, I went down, undid the S&S couplers and brought the bike into the room and stashed it into a closet.

I wonder if uncoupling the bike and locking the parts together would be a way to stop thieves?
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Old 03-22-23, 06:56 PM
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Agree that situation awareness is most important.

Short term locking (less than 10 minutes), such as in a convenience store or to use the can, use a small cable lock that could be easily cut, the type skiers might use. Photo below:



Longer term, (more than ten minutes), have used a cable with a padlock in the past. My next tour will be with my titanium bike. It is not my most expensive bike, but it looks like my most expensive bike. I prefer combination over a key, I have a Bordo 6100 link type lock for that, plus will have a short thick cable that I can use to lock the bike to picnic tables, etc. No photo, sorry, but if you google 6100 you will find it. I got the longer version.

I usually do not lock my front wheel. thus I worry a bit about my dynohub wheel. When touring I use bolt on skewers for both front and rear, not quick release. Any 5mm allen wrench will open the skewer, thus I do not have to worry about losing a special key. I keep an extra 5mm allen wrench with my spare tubes. I started using the bolt on skewer when I bought a Rohloff hub, but now I use the bolt on skewers on derailleur bikes too. There are several brands, I use Halo brand.

My valuables are in the handlebar bag that goes into stores and restaurants with me. If I am camped in a campground, I usually do not take precautions with my gear, other than to zip up the tent. But the bike would be locked.

Exceptions, my trip to Iceland, there is so little theft there that I mostly only locked up my stuff in Reykjavik, but not in more rural areas.

A friend of mine really worried about theft when we did our bike tour in Florida Everglades, Florida Keys and Key West, he brought the lock and chain below, that is more than I had for locking.



ADDENDUM:

I never clean my bike on a tour, a dirty bike is less appealing to a bike-ignorant thief that only sees available shiny objects.

That said, I am more concerned about theft from a campground than from in a city. My touring has been camping, not credit card touring. And the few times I have stayed at hostels or motels, the bike went into an indoor space.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 03-23-23 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 03-22-23, 07:00 PM
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Short-term…Dakine Micro lock.
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Old 03-22-23, 07:05 PM
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I have a Bordus Lite folding lock. Better than a cable. But I try and lock my bike where I can see it if in a diner etc. Other shops I minimise my time in the shop.

I towns the bike goes in the motel room/hostel and I walk.

As suggested above situational awareness. Most people aren't thieves. So if you are touring somewhere there are not many other cyclists there are also unlikely to be bike thieves. Thieves need a market.

I am hoping to go on tour this year, San Francisco - LA then through LA to Arizona. I am actually considering 2 locks. My Bordus folding and a 6mm chain and padlock. After LA ditch the chain and rely on the Bordo.

I have never had a bike stolen. I did catch a thief who had stolen my front light here in Glasgow recently. Because I was sitting with a beer beside a window where I could see my bike I caught him 15 yards away from it. I'm 6ft3 and 200+ pounds. He was a skinny 5ft9. He handed it back without an argument. In any case if he had argued - other customers had seen me exiting rapidly and had come to the door. I would have had assistance if required.

Sometimes you just need to compromise. I would rather skip seeing a museum etc than lock my bike in the street for an hour in a large town or city.
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Old 03-22-23, 07:36 PM
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I'm getting ready to go on two short bike tours this summer and have been thinking about locks also. It's been my experience that two locks are better than one, no matter what the one lock is. It's all about slowing the bike thief down or make your bike look like it's more trouble to steal than the bike next to it. It's like the analogy for bear defense: the best bear defense is to hike with somebody who runs slower than you do.

With that in mind, I'm thinking of a small light weight cable lock as well as a small U-Lock. Thinking about the new bike rig I'm putting together ($2k+ at this point), that sucker won't be out of my line-of-sight for more than a few seconds unless I can bring it inside.
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Old 03-22-23, 08:29 PM
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Framelock (difficult to impossible to cut with a portable grinder; always on the bike; locks/unlocks in seconds - no fiddling).

Hiplok (to secure the bike to a fixed object. Framelocks do not secure the bike in place. The bike could be rolled away or put in a truck.)

[EDIT]
Perhaps the best deterrent is rim brakes. Nobody wants to be seen riding rim brakes.
[/EDIT]

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Old 03-23-23, 12:33 AM
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perhaps the best deterrent is rim brakes. Nobody wants to be seen riding rim brakes.
^^^ 🤣
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Old 03-23-23, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins View Post
Framelock (difficult to impossible to cut with a portable grinder; always on the bike; locks/unlocks in seconds - no fiddling).
Perhaps the best deterrent is rim brakes. Nobody wants to be seen riding rim brakes.
Keeping with the brakes thread, I use Velcro to lock the brake levers to slow would be grab & goes. Along with all of the other no-lock suggestions (situational awareness, partner watch, take into room), this is my primary theft deterrent. Of course it is a tandem which kind of stands out if a single rider is making off with the bike, oh and yes it also has rim brakes
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Old 03-23-23, 10:54 AM
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When stopping at shop for groceries, etc., I or my partner stay with the bike (a tandem) while the other one shops. At camp or when we both of us are away from the bike, I use an Ottolock. It is relatively light. Not bulletproof, but adequate (at least so far).
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Old 03-23-23, 04:37 PM
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I tour with the exact same lock setup i use here in New York City: a full sized high security ulock plus secondary cable lock for the front wheel.
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Old 03-24-23, 05:58 AM
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I have toured a lot with nothing more than a Master cable lock that could be easily cut and I havenít even used that very often. This winter, I bought a fairly substantial Kryptonite chain lock and I have been using it.
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Old 03-24-23, 06:51 AM
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With the advent of cordless angle grinders and high capacity batteries, no reasonable lock, or even bike rack, is much of a deterrent. My approach is to own inexpensive bikes. They still get stolen but the impact is lower. I keep my valuables on my person. In addition to situational awareness, I stay flexible about finding a different way to travel.
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Old 03-24-23, 08:44 AM
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Side note, last summer I was going to leave my bike at a large municipal campground for a week, I needed it to shuttle my vehicle on a backpacking trip. I chose the bike that I paid $5 USD for a decade ago at a garage sale. The bike had been stored outside for a decade before I bought it. I put two days of work and about $50 into it to make it rideable again, but it is really rusty and looks much worse than it really is. A 1994 Bridgestone MB-1. I would be bummed if it was stolen, but there is more rust than paint on the steel handlebar and stem, so I felt very comfortable that it would not be stolen after a week.

I think I used a $5 lock on it to match what I paid for the bike.
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Old 03-24-23, 09:17 AM
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I carry a basic cable lock, but so far I have always been travelling with friends and one usually stands guard while the rest go in to wherever, then the first person to come back out takes over as guard while the original guard goes in.

The other strategy was that one of our group had the load on his bike so badly balanced (all cargo weight over the rear wheel) that, if it was leaned up against a wall and someone touched it, it would immediately flip over and probably trap the thief underneath.
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Old 03-24-23, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
With the advent of cordless angle grinders and high capacity batteries, no reasonable lock, or even bike rack, is much of a deterrent. My approach is to own inexpensive bikes. They still get stolen but the impact is lower. I keep my valuables on my person. In addition to situational awareness, I stay flexible about finding a different way to travel.
Check out the Hiplok D1000, which is built with a composite material that is more resistant to angle grinders. It takes multiple angle grinder disks and several batteries to grind through this lock, which means most thieves will fail to finish the cut. The lock costs $300 though.
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Old 03-26-23, 11:42 AM
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Twice on tours, I have been unable to unlock a. lock. In the first case, I just pulled really hard, and broke it, and almost broke my tailbone as I sat down hard. In the second, I borrowed a serrated knife from the hostel's kitchen and weakened part of the lock enough to do similar.
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Old 03-26-23, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Twice on tours, I have been unable to unlock a. lock.
Recurring nightmare -- lost key, dirty keyhole, vandalism. I carry spare keys in my handlebar bag. And knock on wood whenever possible. Has worked to far. (actually, never had to use spares).
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Old 03-26-23, 12:53 PM
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I do not bring anything on a camping trip that requires keys. Exception, my bolt on skewers use a 5mm allen wrench, that functions like a key. Spare allen wrench stored with my spare tubes.

If I drove a vehicle to get there, the vehicle key is in my meds bag and if the key has a battery inside of it, there is a plastic case over the key that prevents the button from being depressed when packed, so the battery will still have juice in it when I return.

Bike lock is combination. On long trips where I might stay at a hostel, I have a couple small combination "luggage" locks if I want to lock anything in a locker.
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Old 03-26-23, 03:11 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by irc View Post
Sometimes you just need to compromise. I would rather skip seeing a museum etc than lock my bike in the street for an hour in a large town or city.
I have missed out on a lot of things for this very reason. But I still have my bicycle, my lovely bicycle.
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Old 03-26-23, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If I drove a vehicle to get there, the vehicle key is in my meds bag and if the key has a battery inside of it, there is a plastic case over the key that prevents the button from being depressed when packed, so the battery will still have juice in it when I return.
That got me thinking. Iíve only owned a car with an electronic key since the summer of 2016. Thinking back, it was not until last summer that I drove it in connection with a tour. (All my other driving had involved one-way rentals.) To be honest, I canít remember where I stashed my key. If I ever do any more touring, I will keep the key battery in mind if I drive my car.
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