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What practices do you follow when leaving your stuff exposed?

Old 08-31-14, 05:56 AM
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What practices do you follow when leaving your stuff exposed?

I'm doing a one-week tour of North Georgia this month. My theme is waterfalls. I'm building a list of ten or so to visit. Frequently, you need to hike in a ways to get to the falls. In these kinds of situations I'm always pretty conscious of the potential for people to steal things from my bicycle. But I also realize that the risk is not all that great in a situation where my stuff is at a trailhead for a couple hours.

I'll have things pretty tight on the bicycle, where a thief could not just lift things and walk away. I might have a couple things like a camping chair bungeed to my rack. Other than that, you have to be willing to open my panniers, so you have to have the gumption for a more boldly invasive search.

I guess whenever you leave your rig, you're inviting trouble. But on a tour of nature sites that you can't cycle all the way to, your choice is either to not go, or embrace that risk right? I can lock up my bicycle of course but you can still take what's on it without cutting chains, etc.

What's your policy in situations like this?
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Old 08-31-14, 06:00 AM
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Put a note on your bike that it's under surveillance with a trail cam. Then they will spend time looking for a non-existent trail cam.
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Old 08-31-14, 07:01 AM
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Leave the panniers etc. locked in the hotel room, or a storage shed at the campground or hostel. Then ride the bicycle to the trail ... walk the bicycle partway up the trail ... hide it in the bush and lock it to a tree. Carry your most important things with you.
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Old 08-31-14, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Walter S
I guess whenever you leave your rig, you're inviting trouble. But on a tour of nature sites that you can't cycle all the way to, your choice is either to not go, or embrace that risk right? I can lock up my bicycle of course but you can still take what's on it without cutting chains, etc.

What's your policy in situations like this?
Your bike being out of sight is far better protection than any lock.

If it's like most parks 99.9% of people come in cars/buses and don't stray too far from the well trodden route to the scenic stuff.

So find a spot they aren't going to look/walk through and stash your bike there. You can lock it as well just to be safe. If you want carry a camo tarp and use it to further conceal your stuff.
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Old 08-31-14, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by vik
Your bike being out of sight is far better protection than any lock.

If it's like most parks 99.9% of people come in cars/buses and don't stray too far from the well trodden route to the scenic stuff.

So find a spot they aren't going to look/walk through and stash your bike there. You can lock it as well just to be safe. If you want carry a camo tarp and use it to further conceal your stuff.
Good plan. Often there's nobody around when I show up at these places, so it's not hard to find a spot to hide the cycle in the woods or something.
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Old 08-31-14, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Leave the panniers etc. locked in the hotel room, or a storage shed at the campground or hostel. Then ride the bicycle to the trail ... walk the bicycle partway up the trail ... hide it in the bush and lock it to a tree. Carry your most important things with you.
That might work sometimes. But the most common thing is that I'm at one of these places in the middle of the day and not returning to the same hotel/campground/hostel/stealth site that night.
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Old 08-31-14, 09:08 AM
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The type of people who visit such places are generally not the thieving type. But for your own piece of mind, hide the bike and enjoy the falls.
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Old 08-31-14, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by vik
Your bike being out of sight is far better protection than any lock.
I look at it a different way. If it is out of sight and discovered, an opportunistic thief has more time and screening to do whatever they are going to do. At a busy trail head it would be hard to sneak out into the brush. People step out of parking lots and off the trails for any number of reasons. However, If I pulled into a trailhead and I was the only one there, I think that hiding the gear might be the better option.

At popular trailheads, especially if there are a lot of people around, I believe out in plain sight is a safer approach. Unfortunately, the more remote trailheads, at least here in Oregon and California, are prime spots for car "bashing". I suppose "bike bashing" might also be tempting to thieves, but a lot less productive.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-31-14 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 08-31-14, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Walter S
That might work sometimes. But the most common thing is that I'm at one of these places in the middle of the day and not returning to the same hotel/campground/hostel/stealth site that night.
Yeah, most of the places I want to hike are just places along the way. So locking up at a campground, motel, or hostel is very seldom the answer for me either.

Originally Posted by vik
Your bike being out of sight is far better protection than any lock.

If it's like most parks 99.9% of people come in cars/buses and don't stray too far from the well trodden route to the scenic stuff.

So find a spot they aren't going to look/walk through and stash your bike there. You can lock it as well just to be safe. If you want carry a camo tarp and use it to further conceal your stuff.
I kind of flip flop on that myself. Depending on the location I figure being in plain sight where a thief might be observed can be better. So sometimes I do hide the bike out of sight and sometimes not depending on the location.

Originally Posted by Walter S
I might have a couple things like a camping chair bungeed to my rack. Other than that, you have to be willing to open my panniers, so you have to have the gumption for a more boldly invasive search.
Stuff on the outside of the pack is kind of asking for trouble. While I do sometimes have a pump, a pair of shoes, or something like that out in pain sight were they can be plucked off in a second on a whim, those are the only items I have had stolen while on tour, but the two cases something was nicked off of my bike (pump and Crocs) were both in town while I was in a store.

Mostly I just use my light cable lock and take my chances with the gear, but I do think it helps to keep stuff packed away and to take the most theft worthy stuff with you.

The benefits of having a minimum amount of modest gear...
I figure that I can replace the lot of it fairly cheaply if I have to, since I take a minimum of stuff and most of it is fairly inexpensive. Losing the few items that I splurged on for higher priced items would sting a little to lose. My nice down bag, neoair pad, and Exped pillow are about the only items in that category. The rest of the stuff not so much. I may start packing in a manner that makes it easy to take those three items with me. Between them they weigh less than two pounds and would fit in my jersey pockets or my little backpack.

I figure not that many thieves are really that interested in some dirty clothes and old used camping equipment. So given that and the relatively inexpensive nature of most of my stuff, I can take my chances on maybe someday having to bite the bullet and replace everything. In a pinch I figure I could be going again for a few hundred dollars spent at a walmart, so it probably would not be the end of my tour unless it was a short tour.
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Old 08-31-14, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
I look at it a different way. If it is out of sight and discovered, an opportunistic thief has more time and screening to do whatever they are going to do. At a busy trail head it would be hard to sneak out into the brush. People step out of parking lots and off the trails for any any number of reasons. However, If I pulled into a trailhead and I was the only one there, I think that hiding the gear might be the better option.

At popular trailheads, especially if there are a lot of people around, I believe out in plain sight is a safer approach. Unfortunately, the more remote traiheads, at least here in Oregon and California, are prime spots for car "bashing". I suppose "bike bashing" might also be tempting to thieves, but a lot less productive.
Thieves are lazy and are not going to be wandering around the woods looking for a stealth bike.

If you think about the traffic flow at a trailhead it's pretty clear where people go once they park their cars. Just go back 5 mins walk from where they get out of their cars and your bike is not going to be hassled.

I wouldn't stash it right at the trailhead.
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Old 08-31-14, 11:45 AM
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In my area there are alot of drug users that frequent the remote parking areas but they generally dont get out of the cars do their thing and move along. These are the ones that I worry about (hard drug users... im not to worried about the people smoking bud) cause their habbits are so expensive. So my suggestion would be to keep it out of sight from the parking areas and anyone who runs along it is not there to steal peoples things.
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Old 08-31-14, 11:52 AM
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What practices do you follow when leaving your stuff exposed?

What Machka said. An extra day to make it a roundtrip to a campsite where I can safely leave my bike and gear is worth it for peace of mind, imo.

If that isn't feasible, I'd skip the side trip.
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Old 08-31-14, 12:13 PM
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One week tour? I would never leave my bike and gear in such a circumstance. If the reason for going is to visit the falls I'd make prior arrangements regarding what to do if your bike is stolen. I would also hide the bike if at all possible.
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Old 08-31-14, 12:50 PM
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Leave the whole bike and kit carried on it secure, where you stay ..Hostel, Motel/B&B.

and get a ride there some other way [- IDK the place .. Combo of Bus, taxi, Hitch?
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Old 08-31-14, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by imi
What Machka said. An extra day to make it a roundtrip to a campsite where I can safely leave my bike and gear is worth it for peace of mind, imo.

If that isn't feasible, I'd skip the side trip.
OK. But that goes against the grain as far as the kind of exploring I enjoy. I'm going to ride around north Georgia and visit about 15 waterfalls in 7 days. The falls are stops along the way and infrequently close to where I'll camp that night. I'm not looking to do anything elaborate to my route in the interest of security. I don't even know now, where this will be an issue. I want to discover pretty places and enjoy them spontaneously.
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Old 08-31-14, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by digibud
One week tour? I would never leave my bike and gear in such a circumstance. If the reason for going is to visit the falls I'd make prior arrangements regarding what to do if your bike is stolen. I would also hide the bike if at all possible.
I'll take my chances and just keep my stuff as secure as I can manage without great drama. I'd rather go than stay home because of what MIGHT happen. I've already had many great experiences that I would trade my bicycle and gear for.
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Old 08-31-14, 01:40 PM
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Me: I use a backpack that is designed to keep your valuables on you while both biking and hiking. That way when I go into the woods the backpack goes with me and only the barebones bike gets left behind. Depending on the locations in question you could actually take the bike with you. I did that when I was at Niagara Falls a couple of weeks ago. The bike never left my side the entire time I was there. I walked the bike ride beside me. Then again the backpack was on my back the entire time as well and nothing but the bike itself was on the bike.
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Old 08-31-14, 02:04 PM
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What practices do you follow when leaving your stuff exposed?

I hear ya, Walter S. If you think the risk is worth it, then I totally respect that
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Old 08-31-14, 02:15 PM
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I just don't worry about having stuff stolen. I keep stuff that is vital (wallet, passport, phone etc) in my handlebar bag and take it with me whenever I'm off the bike. Whenever I leave my bike I always lock it with a cable lock, but I don't worry about stuff being stolen from my saddlebag because I can always replace it. Also, I never leave stuff strapped to the outside of my saddlebag.

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Old 08-31-14, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Walter S
I'll take my chances and just keep my stuff as secure as I can manage without great drama. I'd rather go than stay home because of what MIGHT happen. I've already had many great experiences that I would trade my bicycle and gear for.
That is the right attitude IMO.
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Old 08-31-14, 03:51 PM
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When "my stuff" is exposed, I dig around in my panniers looking for my sewing kit.
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Old 08-31-14, 04:11 PM
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Two locks slows people down even more than one.

Small cable lock on the panniers so they can't be taken off in seconds. The first rule of panniers appears to be that the better they are, the faster they can be removed by a thief. Ortliebs take the prize, just lift on the strap and they are off.

I carry all valuables in a handlebar bag, that (with shoulder strap) goes with me in restaurants, grocery stores, etc. If I did not use a handlebar bag, I would use a small back pack or fanny pack for that purpose.

On tour I use the bolt on type skewers, not the quick release ones. They do not take a special tool (some do), mine just use the 5mm allen wrench that I assume a thief will not have handy. Even if a thief has the 5mm wrench, it takes time to pull a wheel off with these skewers. (Mine are Halo XL, but there are several brands and models, some of which use a special key that I would promptly lose.)

If I was really really concerned about someone stealing my bike, I would pull the front wheel off and lock that up separately from the bike. It would take a thief much longer to take the locks off, re-install the front wheel, etc. One of the places I used to work had a rash of bicycle thefts, I noticed that one bike owner consistently took his front wheel out of the bike and locked that up separately - every day. (I am sure he got really good at putting it back in the fork, it was an older bike, probably pre-lawyer lug era.) But, this becomes less convenient if you have front panniers.

I put a small section of pipe insulation on my top tube when I tour to keep the paint from getting messed up when I lean the bike top tube against trees or poles or whatever is handy.
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Old 08-31-14, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by vik
Thieves are lazy and are not going to be wandering around the woods looking for a stealth bike.

If you think about the traffic flow at a trailhead it's pretty clear where people go once they park their cars. Just go back 5 mins walk from where they get out of their cars and your bike is not going to be hassled.

I wouldn't stash it right at the trailhead.
+1

And that's what I was talking about too, when I said "ride the bicycle to the trail ... walk the bicycle partway up the trail ... hide it in the bush and lock it to a tree".

I've done that on a few occasions. The trailhead often has people coming and going, and I don't feel comfortable leaving my bicycle there, but from my experience, if there isn't a viewpoint within about 100 metres, most people get back into their cars and go. So I have walked my bicycle up the trail.

If the viewpoint is relatively close, I'll walk my bicycle all the way to the viewpoint. If the trail is relatively flat, I'll walk my bicycle all the way to the viewpoint. If the trail starts flat and then gets challenging, and especially if the viewpoint is some distance up the trail, I'll walk my bicycle to the challenging part, and up the challenging part a little way (that can be quite a challenge!!) and then I'll find a place to hide it in the bush somewhere ... and of course, lock it. I figure that might take the opportunistic thief out of the picture ... and also reduce the amount of time I'm away from the bicycle.
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Old 08-31-14, 05:47 PM
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And also, we have found fairly sturdy and durable backpacks which roll up to almost nothing. We took them on tour trip round the world. They were very handy for carrying all our personal stuff ... the stuff we did not want to leave unattended on the bicycle. I'd also recommend something like that.
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Old 08-31-14, 06:19 PM
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Hiding the bike is always good.

Another good theft deterrent is to buy a can of my own brand of THULSADOOM'S ROAD GRIME, and rub it all over your bike and luggage. This is great stuff and makes your rig so grungy and stinky that no one wants to come near it, much less steal it.

Or, of course, you can just ride your bike enough to get your own road grime all over it.

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