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Secruring your bike on tour

Old 11-19-14, 06:52 PM
  #1  
krobinson103
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Securing your bike on tour

2 weeks out from my two week tour of New Zealand. The bike stands ready, gear is set, but I have one last issue to resolve. Usually I'm riding a non stop all day or night ride and the bike never leaves my sight for a few minutes. If it does I have a cable lock that will at least slow someone down for the few minutes I'm away.

This time however I have but a small tent and the bike will have to be outside. I can lock it to tree or equally sturdy object, but I can't carry a whole bunch of heavy locks and still enjoy riding. How do you secure your bike overnight (or when shopping for much needed supplies) when alone?

Last edited by Mark Stone; 11-20-14 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 11-19-14, 08:58 PM
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In a public campground, all I do is lay the bike down and run a string from it into tent and tie it round my ankle. That only rarely as crooks generally don't camp in fee parks. When wild camping, I'm hidden enough theft is not a concern.

When shopping at a c-store or restaurant, I park the bike where I can watch it. At a box store with a vestibule, i roll it inside and lock a wheel to the frame. On rare occasion, I'll roll in and ask permission for the few minutes it'll take. Never been refused.

Many have an easily detachable bar bag for significant valuables that they carry with them when leaving the bike.

I tend to avoid any town with more than 5000 people unless staying with a host or in a motel. Cuts the risk of theft way down.

The most likely thief on a bicycle tour is a raccoon Are there raccoons in New Zealand?
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Old 11-19-14, 09:15 PM
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Like Cyclebum, I try to keep my bike in sight at all times. If I can't see it, I lock it with a cable lock and check up on it every couple of minutes. If I get the chance, I take it in with me.

When camping, I lock it to a tree or picnic table. If I was particularly worried, I'd use the string trick, though I'd likely tie it to a tent pole, not my ankle.

I wrote an article on locking my bike on tour which you might find interesting.
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Old 11-19-14, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
In a public campground, all I do is lay the bike down and run a string from it into tent and tie it round my ankle. That only rarely as crooks generally don't camp in fee parks.
If there are no trees or fences available, Rowan and I have locked our bicycles together, laid them down right next to the tent, and then ran a cord from them to some part of the tent.


And although crooks don't generally camp in fee parks, they do wander through and steal whatever isn't tied down.

One of the things I will check for is how easy it is for thieves to wander through a campground ... and if possible, I'll choose a campground with walls or decent fences around it. Of course thieves can scale those or get around those, but I figure they add an extra degree of difficulty.

My desire to be in a fenced campground probably has something to do with the fact that my bicycle was stolen from immediately in front of tent in a fence-less campground with a general use park on one side, a football oval on another side, and a skateboard park on another side. The campground and everything in it were easily accessible by anyone walking through from, say, the skateboard park to the general use park and back. And these particular thieves were in the process of unloading a little storage tent we had put up right next to the one we were sleeping in. We woke up when one of them said, "Just put as much as you can into your backpack". All this in a tiny country town with a population of about 1500 people where, "Nothing like this ever happens!"

Anyway ... slightly paranoid ever since.
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Old 11-19-14, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
In a public campground, all I do is lay the bike down and run a string from it into tent and tie it round my ankle. That only rarely as crooks generally don't camp in fee parks. When wild camping, I'm hidden enough theft is not a concern.

When shopping at a c-store or restaurant, I park the bike where I can watch it. At a box store with a vestibule, i roll it inside and lock a wheel to the frame. On rare occasion, I'll roll in and ask permission for the few minutes it'll take. Never been refused.

Many have an easily detachable bar bag for significant valuables that they carry with them when leaving the bike.

I tend to avoid any town with more than 5000 people unless staying with a host or in a motel. Cuts the risk of theft way down.

The most likely thief on a bicycle tour is a raccoon Are there raccoons in New Zealand?
No racoons but plenty of possums in the national parks where I plan to stay. My plan is to go for wild camping or fee camping grounds. I've found a good stopping point with showers, stores to resupply, and a nice place to setup the tent most nights. I'm not worried about wild camping. I'll be far enough back into the tree line that its unlikely I'll meet anyone and there is no dangerous wildlifein New Zealand unless you count pigs and they usually stay away from people. Don't plan on cooking as such, rather ride from small town to small town and park up the bike and buy something to eat - takeaway preferably as this trip is my wind down from living in Seoul for 12 years and I want to be ALONE.
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Old 11-19-14, 11:02 PM
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cable lock, with my bike located very close to my tent.
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Old 11-19-14, 11:42 PM
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I lock my bike with a cable lock like this every time I leave it

Terrier #8062 ? OnGuard Locks

and I also take my handlebar bag with me every time I leave the bike because it has all my valuables in it and even if my bike gets stolen I still a phone and money.
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Old 11-20-14, 09:13 AM
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I take precautions based on perceived risk. If, based on the surroundings, I feel the risk of theft is low or remote, I won't bother locking up the bike. (I crossed PA last year without a lock.) When I feel there is a more significant risk, I use a light cable and combination lock to deter a crime of opportunity. When shopping for groceries, it cannot hurt to ask to bring your bike inside the store. When camping at a developed campsite, a picnic table is a handy thing to lock your bike to.
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Old 11-20-14, 09:21 AM
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I carry a medium weight chain lock. If my bike is stole during a tour, I'm screwed. I'm happy to carry the extra 2kg.
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Old 11-20-14, 10:14 AM
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While I carry a cable lock, I often don't bother to lock my bike in front of coffee places or where I can see it all the time. But, I do try to "lock" the front wheel either with a large rubber band on the front brake or a piece of rope tied around the front wheel and frame to stop the "snatch and grab" guys.
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Old 11-20-14, 10:38 AM
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I made up a long but relatively thin cable , 1st linking several shorter ones, then getting a couple aluminum pieces that , hammered shut, formed the loops.
0n a 10 foot length of cable, may have been plastic coated for clothes lines , on a roll in the hardware store,

To go around camp trees and picnic benches..

Now have a frame mounted ring lock , it secures the back wheel, so bike wont roll.
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Old 11-20-14, 01:02 PM
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I carry a cable lock and silnylon cover.Lock it to whatever is there.When shopping,I ask to take the bike indoors.Most of the time people understand and have no problem with that.

When stealth camping,I'm hidden well enough I don't worry about it....But I still lock up the bike just in case.

In the worst case,I'll tie something to the tent to hopefully wake me.

Worst thing I have seen is a fellow tried to steal a bike from one of the hike & bike sites(McGrath State Beach) in SoCal.He couldn't get the bike so he kicked the crap out of the back wheel and trashed it.At the time about 5-6 people were setup in the camp and awoke to the noise.We hogtied him and went to get the ranger.He was arrested.

I got the wheel straight enough for him to ride,then followed him to Oxnard a couple miles for a repair.

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Old 11-20-14, 01:15 PM
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A cable lock should be sufficient in NZ. We have not used anything more in our numerous tours around NZ. This should also be fine for locking the bike when you go into a supermarket. Just remove your valuables when you leave the bike and gear. If you are really worried when camping in a campground, the manager should be able to lock your bike in a shed overnight but you may not wish to do this if you need an early start.
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Old 11-20-14, 02:56 PM
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Our typical approach in a campground: medium cable, good lock, and a solid object such as a tree or picnic table. The same when shopping or eating, and depending on the location, meseums, etc.


And sometimes we just had to get a little creative. We carry a lock and cable on each bike.


Last edited by Doug64; 11-20-14 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 11-20-14, 02:59 PM
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I carry a really light cable lock (5 oz I think). In places where perceived risk is very low I don't bother with it. In places where perceived risk is medium low or medium I use the cable lock. In places where perceived risk is high I don't leave my bike unattended. In those cases where I am staying in a big city or town I generally get a room and leave the bike there if I will be somewhere that I might need to leave the bike unattended.

I figure that my bikes are all moderate to low priced and on a long tour if stolen I could spend a few hundred and be back on my way. If it was on a short tour the tour would likely be over, but I don't generally do short tours.

When shopping in what I consider high risk towns I have wheeled the bike up and down the aisles of grocery stores. No one has ever said a word to me about that. If in doubt most grocery stores or walmarts would let you bring you bike in and park it out of the way near the registers or somewhere else fairly safe if you ask.
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Old 11-20-14, 03:50 PM
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If I travel with others, I carry a light cable lock. When I travel alone, I carry the full-size Kryptonite. It's the one place where I forced myself to just stop thinking about weight.

I can lock both wheels and the frame to anything with a 3-inch diameter, and I can carry my bags with me.
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Old 11-20-14, 05:10 PM
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Put black electrical tape unevenly on everything.

Use tattered duct tape in various places for accent.

Make it look bad. No one will steal it.
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Old 11-20-14, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
That only rarely as crooks generally don't camp in fee parks.
I usually stay up until sunrise when camping. This means I see the moon howlers when everybody else is sleeping. I don't remember many times I didn't see kids/teens or 20-something's snooping around with no flashlights looking for some camping gear. I've had chairs and a cooler stolen at two campgrounds. I've actually had to call law enforcement because somebody said, "You're gonna die tonight," while I was in my tent. A nice reflective bike not from Walmart would be gold. Just a heads up. Stealing from a public campground is easy and it's a gold mine for thieves, especially between 3 and 4 AM. Public campgrounds are full of nice people and families but they're also full of drunken river rats and hoodlums. Just FYI from my point of view.

I despise public camping. I camp to get away from people. Give me primitive camping in a river valley any day -- I'll shower at the YMCA. That way all I have to worry about is mountain lions and sasquatch populations

Last edited by RatMudd; 11-20-14 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 11-20-14, 06:04 PM
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Reads like a person who stays in US.... In Europe The public Campgrounds are not RV hookups like the US.

& I liked meeting my neighbors there & in Hostels In Europe, British Isles ... have a Pint with the Locals
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Old 11-20-14, 06:14 PM
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Found this lock for a $22 on my way to work yesterday. Looks like you could get through it with the right tools, but its going to take more work and be louder than snipping a cable. Combine that with a couple of light weight cables around the wheels I think Its going to deter most thefts of opportunity. Sadly my touring bike is not what I'd call 'cheap' and cost me a lot of time and money to setup.



Built her from the frame up and I don't intend to lose her!
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Old 11-21-14, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
If in doubt most grocery stores or walmarts would let you bring you bike in and park it out of the way near the registers or somewhere else fairly safe if you ask.
Yep. I have done that on my last two solo, week-long trips. Asked and was given permission to leave the bike out of the way near a cashier. One cashier even offered to keep an eye on it for me.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Yep. I have done that on my last two solo, week-long trips. Asked and was given permission to leave the bike out of the way near a cashier. One cashier even offered to keep an eye on it for me.
Customer Service center is a good place, if the store has one. When I have a loaded backpack, I give it to the clerks behind the Customer Service desk so I don't look like a shoplifter. I've always wondered if I could walk my bike through the store (if bike isn't rain/mud/snow covered) if not needing a shopping cart, but have yet to do that -- That'd feel kind of odd also.
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Old 11-21-14, 12:54 PM
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I think if I found a campground with a secure place for the bike I could easily enough park it there and walk to the nearest store. Its not like I'll want to buy anything large or heavy so carrying it won't be an issue.
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Old 11-21-14, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
I think if I found a campground with a secure place for the bike I could easily enough park it there and walk to the nearest store. Its not like I'll want to buy anything large or heavy so carrying it won't be an issue.
That's my preference, but it doesn't always work out that way. When I toured across PA in September I didn't stay in one place that was in convenient walking distance from a grocery store. The first day I was maybe 1.5 miles from the nearest store. That was the closest by far. I either had to stop en route to the campground or, on one occasion, drop my gear in camp and ride for groceries. One day I carried groceries nearly the entire 48 mile day.
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Old 11-23-14, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
That's my preference, but it doesn't always work out that way. When I toured across PA in September I didn't stay in one place that was in convenient walking distance from a grocery store. The first day I was maybe 1.5 miles from the nearest store. That was the closest by far. I either had to stop en route to the campground or, on one occasion, drop my gear in camp and ride for groceries. One day I carried groceries nearly the entire 48 mile day.
My experience has also been that most campgrounds that I have stayed at would be a very long walk from a store unless there was a little camp store in the campground, which there usually wasn't. Also the camp stores were usually pretty sparsely stocked if you wanted something other than s'mores. There were a few campgrounds in or near town, but they are definitely the exception in my experience. Yes there were exceptions, but not all that many. As a result my bike has been with me of the large majority of shopping excursions when on tour and staying in campgrounds.

On the other hand, in small town rural heartland areas, I often camp in small town parks under or near a picnic pavilion. These seem to often be within sight of a store and almost always a short walk from one.
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