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Touring bike security pref’s

Old 12-13-23, 10:39 PM
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Touring bike security pref’s

While watching a plethora of YouTube videos of people touring the 3rd world, 2nd world, every world with expensive rigs, what are most of them doing to deter theft? Cables?
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Old 12-13-23, 11:37 PM
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I have found touring in India and SE Asia that you can usually take your bike into your room at night, in other places such as Africa and South America hotels will usually find off road storage for a motorcycle so a bicycle should be no problem. I also think in many developing countries most local people will think any bicycle will cost £100/$120 like the ones they ride do rather than the up to £5,000/$6,000 they actually cost not that knowing that will help you sleep any better if it was left outside. During the day I lock it with a lighter Abus steel cable lock.
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Old 12-14-23, 03:44 AM
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Good discussion recently, here:
Bike lock when solo touring - how to play it

But the discussion above started out on just a quick run into a grocery store. And as often happens on this forum, that discussion broadened out to more security details.

For a quick trip into a convenience store, I use a skier type lock that will only slow a thief but not stop them, photo at the above link.

I have usually used a cable lock with a thicker cable for longer term, such as hours. But I have also used an Abus Bordo 6100 link type lock that is almost as good as a U lock, but heavier than a skier lock or cable lock. More compact to carry than a U lock.

Touring, I only use combination locks, not a key that I might lose.

I also use bolt on skewers, not quick release. Any 5mm allen wrench will work, this is intended to slow a thief but it won't stop them, the reason for this is that I often do not lock both wheels to the frame. I do not use a special type key that I might lose. Since a puncture would necessitate a wheel removal, I also store a spare 5mm allen wrench with my spare tubes to simplify fixing a flat.

Situational awareness is the key. On my tour in Iceland where theft is almost non-existent, I think I only used my lock in Reykjavik, elsewhere never bothered to lock anything for a month. But, I have camped in some places where there were homeless, etc., where I was quite careful with everything.

You asked about third world countries, I have not been there.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 12-14-23 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 12-14-23, 05:11 AM
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I have quicks on my wheels, but I have to take off the panniers to get at them and then reach through the rack to get at them.
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Old 12-14-23, 05:48 AM
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As far as second/third world goes:

- Overnight, I try to bring my bike into the room if I can. That worked in most places. I found a few in India where they wouldn't allow it. Not the most expensive places nor the cheapest but instead a middle range where they sort of had security and wanted payment.

- On the TDA ride across Africa we locked bikes together when camping. We did have two stolen in Tanzania and then recovered with help from locals. The year before I went they also had a bike stolen in Ethiopia.

- On the road, mostly avoid leaving the bike. In some places going by bike you are definitely out of place but probably not seen as wealthy as say someone who has enough $ to hire a driver and vehicle.

- The other thing to be cautious is not so much the entire bike but things on it. As two examples (a) my cycling partner parked her bike just outside a small shop in a village in Siberia. She came out just in time to see a hoodlum dash off with her pump. She gave chase but was unable to recover it (b) in Mysore India I had one of those mid-Range hotels that wouldn't allow me to bring the bike to my room. They assured me it would be safe in their locked parking garage. Overnight someone stole the bell off my bike. It was sorely missed.

- I didn't have issues in Latin America. However I had read of people having to be careful camping overnight (the most dramatic thing things make the blogs so I'm sure a rare occurrence but not zero).

- Otherwise similar to first world countries. I use a dose of self awareness and also get a sense of people where I stay (and how many others might have access).

Overall however, I'm not sure of an implied premise that per-capita economic disparity (third world, second world) to be more cautious. In particular I am at least as suspicious in US towns with a large college campus. Not so much because I distrust students/faculty but instead because students often means a lot more bikes and hence theft rings see a larger opportunity than in a third world village where such a bicycle is more of a rarity. For similar reasons I might be more cautious in a city like Amsterdam than in places like western China... The one spot I had a bicycle stolen was Fort Collins Colorado. In that situation I parked an unlocked bicycle outside a grocery store and went in to get groceries.

Last edited by mev; 12-14-23 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 12-14-23, 09:45 AM
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hi thighm, as another person here who has toured going back 30+ years, and who also lives and rides in a big city, I can't really add to what the others have put down.
Being wary and worried about bike theft is part of using a bike, and the implications are huge while on a trip, so yes it is something always on our minds.

Guess all I can add is to really use common sense and the big one, situational awareness of a given place at a given time.
With your interest in a bike that is substantially worth more than my touring bikes, I get the concerns, but in the end, the risks are probably the same and it really comes down to using common sense.
I learned pretty early on in my touring life to limit weight carried, so never considered carrying a U-lock, even though I have always used them in urban settings here. I too have used coil locks, but with the big caveat of when touring, the bike has been locked up in safe campgrounds, or in front of a store, so not left out in sketchy areas where there clearly is a sketchy vibe. Other than in really really sleepy towns, I've always put my coil lock through a wheel and frame, to stop an opportune grab, and many many times I have just not felt right leaving the bike outside, and ask store employees if its ok to leave it with them inside the store etc etc.

the vast vast majority of times camping, even in Europe where you've said you would like to tour, campgrounds have a good enough vibe of people, so while I still lock the bike to a picnic table or my wifes and my bike leaning together outside teh tent, I've always slept well using a coil lock.
If you do tour in Europe, and do b+b's etc, there will always be a safe garage or room or something to put the bikes in, but using common sense you quickly develop a good sense of where you should worry more, and always using some sort of lock is always a good idea, even in a shed or something.

My wife and I have locked our bikes together outside big touristy places in France, but in rural France, figuring first of all we didnt have a choice anyway, and secondly, the chances of joe blow tourist going through our bags is pretty small, but obviously having all valuables with us is key, even if the specific environment seems very benign. Handlebar bags are so useful for this, quick on quick off, easy to carry.

I hope you enjoy the bike you get. The Tout Terrain bikes are very snazzy. Given that you haven't toured, I'd always recommend putting money into lighter equipment, like tent, sleeping bag, campmat etc, just to keep the overall weight down, especially if you tour with a partner, just so its more manageable.

Oh, touring with someone else really really simplifies worrying less about the bike when shopping for food etc, as one of you can stay with the bikes in urban settings.
In true urban settings when wanting to do touristy things, leaving the bikes at the accommodation also is a lot less stressful, as this generally is where the biggest risk of theft is, just like here in Montreal where I live. A lot more bike thieve eyes watching out for targets, but do you really want to carry a ton of locks with you on a tour, I certainly don't.
cheers
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Old 12-14-23, 10:24 AM
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Great. Another thread about bike security in CA.
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Old 12-14-23, 10:37 AM
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I'm currently cycling around the world carrying both a full sized u-lock and a cable lock, which together weigh 5.3lb (2.3kg). My partner is also carrying her own separate full sized u-lock. We share the single cable lock I'm carrying.
https://www.rei.com/product/216211/h...1000-bike-lock
https://www.rei.com/product/809719/k...007-cable-7-ft

Using careful behavior to safeguard your bike is a dead end. When you are touring on another continent, it's because you want to take in the exotic sights. You're not doing it merely to ride your bike dawn to dusk while occasionally sprinting into a store to buy food. When you arrive at a tourist destination, you need to lock your bike. When you go for a hike, you need to lock your bike. When you go to a bazaar, you need to lock your bike. When you're staying in a capsule hotel in Japan, you need to lock your bike. There is no getting around locking your bike, unless you want to completely destroy your travel experience by being a slave to guarding your bike like a hawk.

And no, you're not going to be able to sweet talk your way into stashing your bike with some restaurant/store/hotel across the street while you explore Angkor Wat. They can't understand what you're saying, and even if they could, they're not interested in being liable for some foreigner's bike.
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Old 12-14-23, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Yan
I'm currently cycling around the world carrying both a full sized u-lock and a cable lock, which together weigh 5.3lb (2.3kg). My partner is also carrying her own separate full sized u-lock. We share the single cable lock I'm carrying.
https://www.rei.com/product/216211/h...1000-bike-lock
https://www.rei.com/product/809719/k...007-cable-7-ft

Using careful behavior to safeguard your bike is a dead end. When you are touring on another continent, it's because you want to take in the exotic sights. You're not doing it merely to ride your bike dawn to dusk while occasionally sprinting into a store to buy food. When you arrive at a tourist destination, you need to lock your bike. When you go for a hike, you need to lock your bike. When you go to a bazaar, you need to lock your bike. When you're staying in a capsule hotel in Japan, you need to lock your bike. There is no getting around locking your bike, unless you want to completely destroy your travel experience by being a slave to guarding your bike like a hawk.

And no, you're not going to be able to sweet talk your way into stashing your bike with some restaurant/store/hotel across the street while you explore Angkor Wat. They can't understand what you're saying, and even if they could, they're not interested in being liable for some foreigner's bike.
The voyage that you are doing now makes sense for your take on this. My bike trips over the years generally have avoided large cities so having a coil lock for me and or each of us has been sufficient (in my opinion of course).
I wonder what percentage of bike tourers carry U-locks, I guess it depends on the type of trip one is doing.

As I haven't really kept track of lock options, are there less heavy options that are as strong as U-locks? One sees those folding ones, which probably have an advantage for locking your bike to odd shaped objects, like trees or picnic benches--which is why I find a coil lock to be so useful to stop an opportunistic theft, because its easy to lock your bike to all kinds of things.
Lets be realistic though, a coil lock is easy to cut, so its never going to be as safe as a very strong U lock--my bike trips really haven't had the need for one, and I still feel a coil lock works for the type of trips I've done.

touch wood big time though.
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Old 12-14-23, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
...
One sees those folding ones, which probably have an advantage for locking your bike to odd shaped objects, like trees or picnic benches--which is why I find a coil lock to be so useful to stop an opportunistic theft, because its easy to lock your bike to all kinds of things.
Lets be realistic though, a coil lock is easy to cut, so its never going to be as safe as a very strong U lock--my bike trips really haven't had the need for one, and I still feel a coil lock works for the type of trips I've done.

touch wood big time though.
By folding ones, if you mean one like this:
https://mobil.abus.com/usa/Products/...RDO-Combo-6100

I got one of those for my titanium bike. It is not much bigger than a U lock, size for ability to lock on things is not much of an advantage. And it is pretty heavy. I just did not want a huge U lock for that bike. A good U lock is rated slightly better than the Bordo for theft prevention. My titanium bike is not my most valuable bike, but it looks like it is so I need a good lock for that bike.
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Old 12-14-23, 06:25 PM
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Yes, those types. Don't know if they are lighter than U locks.

Last edited by djb; 12-15-23 at 03:06 PM. Reason: U, not I locks
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Old 12-14-23, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Yes, those types. Don't know if they are lighter than I locks.
Mine is 2.76 pounds or 1.25 kg.
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Old 12-15-23, 01:54 PM
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My world tour was more about seeing remarkable vistas and natural wonders, not seeing places where tourists run rampant. Not that I didn't see the latter occasionally (I was at the Taj Mahal new years eve 1999!) but in general i was in the forests and backcountry areas. Thus my security issues were minimal. When I was in urban areas (Istanbul, e.g.) I brought my bike into my room, or I found a different place to stay.

Financially, I budgeted for TWO complete robberies, where I "lost everything from my bike to my gear, and was left stranded on the road in my socks and skivvies." This scenario never materialized.

I used ADULT locals to find places to stay. They are perfectly aware of the costs imposed by local thieves and scum (often in cahoots with the local "police"), and are grateful and cooperative. BE discreet and close mouthed about the help you receive, orally or online later, or your friends might get a visit from the authorities long after you are gone.

To prevent "snatch and grab" type stuff, I had a few empty (or full of trash) plastic bags lashed backwards under my rear bungie chords (I was usually singing while I rode) which people would grab and, most of the time, if they "got something" they would let go. I carried a horse rider's whip tucked into my cycling shorts when I was in dicey areas; it was useful for dogs. I never had to use it on people, though I gave a hell of a karate chop to a kid in Istanbul who grabbed my handlebars. I got 'em right on the bridge of the nose between bone and gristle, and he went down like a sack of bricks. All of his "buddies" died laughing.
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Old 12-15-23, 02:22 PM
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About a decade ago I met a an older gal that was clearly touring, four panniers, etc. She asked me some directions on how to get somewhere, the answer was complicated enough that I rode with her through my community for about 5 miles to get her to a bike shop. I was not busy and was out for an exercise ride, so I was happy to be a guide for a short while.

As we rode, I asked about her tour, and asked why she had a bike with a brand I had never heard of. She was doing an around the world tour, started in the UK with a high end touring bike, and was heading east. Then she was robbed at gunpoint of everything in her possession in one of the Balkan countries. So, she had to start over and this time everything including her bike were much lower budget. But she had made it all through asia, flew across the pacific, I met her in Madison Wisc, she was heading east.

That is the only time I have heard of a bike tourist being robbed of their gear.
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Old 12-15-23, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Great. Another thread about bike security in CA.
Do you know that you can skip over threads that don't interest you?

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Old 12-15-23, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
That is the only time I have heard of a bike tourist being robbed of their gear.
It happens though it is rare...

Before cycling across the Americas from Alaska to Argentina in 2016/2017, I read most every blog/book/account I could find of cycle tourists doing similar routes. I kept a mental catalogue of areas that were mentioned multiple times. It looks like Nicholas Gault did something similar - https://nicholasgault.com/known-hots...latin-america/ Both Gault's data and mine are pretty stale by now but I'll note a few items I recall

- It generally seemed to be "wrong place/wrong time" and one robbery might happen while many tourists came through without problem
- In general there seemed to be one or two in several countries (Columbia, southern Mexico, Guatamala, Panama, Ecuador).
- At the time there was a notorious town in northern Peru (Piura) where I recall reading about more than half a dozen assaults roughly in the 2005-2014 time window. I couldn't find any first-hand accounts within two years of my trip but I still saw people writing about traveling through (or bypassing) Piura and the precautions they took. However, here is an example from CGOAB of a Peru related account: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/AtGunpointInPeru This one is south of Piura but similar to accounts I read about assaults of people crossing Piura.

There were enough of them, I also took my own precautions including:
* I timed things so I was crossing Piura in the morning ~9am rather than towards end of the day
* I looked for police as I entered to potentially ask for an escort. Others had done this and in the end I saw police but didn't stop to ask for their help
* I stashed away my camera and any valuables much deeper in my paniers than I otherwise would have done when occasionally stopping to take photos

In the end, my crossing of Piura was uneventful and in bright morning sunshine. I also had no problems in the rest of Latin America on my ride.

Last edited by mev; 12-15-23 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 12-15-23, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
Do you know that you can skip over threads that don't interest you?
And you can skip over posts that don’t interest you.

With the countless posts I’ve read in this forum about how bad things are in CA camping spots like state parks, I thought my comment relevant. This country has its 2nd & 3rd world places. The only time anyone tried to steal anything from me was in WY, but I did have to shoo a tweaker out of the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, MT who had been trying doors of vehicles parked at the nearby rest area. An officer from the sheriff’s office stopped by a few hours later after a local had called about a prowler in town that matched the description of the guy I had encountered.
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Old 12-15-23, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Great. Another thread about bike security in CA.
Hey Indy, If you meant Canada here, I really was referring to my trips in France and a few other countries in Europe--because the fellow here wants to tour in Europe.
I figure in cities whether in Holland or France, You've got to use the same theft instincts as in any city.
I would have loved to have done a world tour, and honestly am not sure of what lock I'd have brought.
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Old 12-15-23, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
And you can skip over posts that don’t interest you.

With the countless posts I’ve read in this forum about how bad things are in CA camping spots like state parks, I thought my comment relevant. This country has its 2nd & 3rd world places. The only time anyone tried to steal anything from me was in WY, but I did have to shoo a tweaker out of the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, MT who had been trying doors of vehicles parked at the nearby rest area. An officer from the sheriff’s office stopped by a few hours later after a local had called about a prowler in town that matched the description of the guy I had encountered.
OP didn't mention California. You're the first person to mention California.

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Old 12-16-23, 02:43 AM
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Misspoke on the name of the Peru town notorious for cycle robbers in ~2005-2014. It was Paijan.

Try a Google search of "Paijan cyclist robbed". Here is a bikeforums thread -
I made it through Paiján, Peru safely!
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Old 12-16-23, 06:36 AM
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Indy, you and I were writing out posts at almost the same time, so I hadn't seen your response when typing out mine asking if you meant Canada.
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Old 12-16-23, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Thigh Master
While watching a plethora of YouTube videos of people touring the 3rd world, 2nd world, every world with expensive rigs, what are most of them doing to deter theft? Cables?
Mr thigh m, didn't think to ask before, but have you travelling experience during your life?
I'd say that developing good instincts for stuff is the most important thing in this regard of theft. You've mentioned wanting to bike tour in Europe, do you have countries that you'd like to go to?
Figured I'd ask as you haven't said much in this regard.
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Old 12-16-23, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Hey Indy, If you meant Canada here, I really was referring to my trips in France and a few other countries in Europe--because the fellow here wants to tour in Europe.
I figure in cities whether in Holland or France, You've got to use the same theft instincts as in any city.
I would have loved to have done a world tour, and honestly am not sure of what lock I'd have brought.
He was talking about California, as evidenced by his mention of state parks. In case you don't know, Canada has provinces.
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Old 12-16-23, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
He was talking about California, as evidenced by his mention of state parks. In case you don't know, Canada has provinces.
As I wrote today, at the time I had not seen his comment about California, thought he was responding to me the Canadian. He and I were writing at same time.
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Old 12-16-23, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
As I wrote today, at the time I had not seen his comment about California, thought he was responding to me the Canadian. He and I were writing at same time.
Ah, I see that now. To quote Canadians everywhere, Sorry.
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