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-   -   Bike Security in France (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1165787)

schoolboy2 02-05-19 03:44 PM

Bike Security in France
 
Has anyone had trouble with bike theft while traveling along the Loire a Velo in France?
We want to stop and sight see and it may be necessary to lock our loaded bikes to a bike rack while doing so. We will, of course, take our bar bags with passports, phones, money, etc. We obviously wouldn't do this in Paris or other large city.
How have others dealt with the issue of security?

Caretaker 02-05-19 04:44 PM

I've toured many times in France and often left my bike unlocked. When I have locked my bike it was with a lightweight lock. Theft can happen anywhere of course but rural France is safe relative to most places.

Steve0000 02-05-19 09:52 PM

We have spent many weeks in France on 3 trips. There were times we had to lock the bikes with all panniers on them in order to sightsee. We had no problems. If you worry about it too much, you will end up not seeing all you want to see and spoil the trip. Lock them up in a busy public place if possible. Many times, we stopped and camped in places we wanted to spend a day sightseeing so all our gear was in our tent and we only had the bikes to worry about.

jefnvk 02-06-19 01:25 PM

I wouldn't leave them alone in Paris longer than necessary, but along the Loire a Velo is mostly small village and tourists. Even in the cities, we never had a second thought leaving them locked on a rack with the panniers still on them (as you mentioned take the bag with valuables). Most of the hotels had secured parking for bikes.

I used a combo of a cable lock and a U-lock. The cable lock was probably enough for short sightseeing, but I had the U-lock for overnight stays anyhow.

gauvins 02-06-19 03:09 PM

Difficult to assess because most bike thefts go unreported.

According to this source, France is somewhat safer than The Netherlands, somewhat worse than Denmark. With an incidence of close to 2% of the installed base reported stolen in a given year. I couldn't get a comparable rate for the US. Found somewhere that close to 200 000 bikes are reported stolen on a given year, and somewhere else that 100M bikes are in use. That would be one tenth of the typical rate reported in Europe.

The story can be told in many ways. One source writes that close to 20% of US college students report having had their bike stolen (I assume 20% of those using a bike on campus). Other sources would suggest that 50% of bike owners have experienced theft. Obviously, things do not add up neatly.

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More to the point. Our bikes are equipped with framelocks. Very very convenient. Locks/unlocks in less than a second.
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I would not worry too much. If bad things happen (unlikely) well, at the very least, you'll have a captivating story to tell. Worst case, you'll travel ultralight :)

Caretaker 02-07-19 03:40 AM

Rural France is about as safe as you will get. Don't just take my word for it.

Englishman Geoff Husband and his wife have been running a traditional type cycle touring business in Brittany France for 27 years. I was a customer of theirs and stayed at their campsite on a number of occasions.


In all that time not one of our customers has had anything stolen, despite bikes and valuables left unattended for hours. In fact every year we get told of wallets or cameras forgotten in bars or shops being still there hours later.
http://www.bretonbikes.com/brittany/...cling-paradise

travelinhobo 02-07-19 08:11 AM

Why would you not lock up your bike? As stated above, don't get paranoid about thieves lurking everywhere - it'll ruin your trip and you'll do less. 3 extensive bike trips thru Europe, 2 involving France, and the only thefts occurred in Finland and Prague.

avole 02-07-19 12:04 PM

Agreed, lock your bike. Not the same threat level as the Netherlands, probably less than the Czech Republic. Bit surprised to hear about the Finnish theft, but then there's no way of knowing, when all is said and done. I've toured in Germany, France and Austria without problems, but mostly locked the bike, unless it was in full view.

schoolboy2 02-07-19 03:17 PM

Just for clarity, we plan to lock our bikes whenever we leave them. But since most bike locks are easily defeated by a determined thief, I was wondering if others had problems.

BTW, thanks everyone for the great replies. You've put my mind at ease.

fietsbob 02-09-19 01:55 PM

Consider; leaving your Bike locked up in the Hostel bike Shed, in a bigger city , and take public transit for your sightseeing ?

djb 02-10-19 09:00 AM


Originally Posted by schoolboy2 (Post 20783988)
Just for clarity, we plan to lock our bikes whenever we leave them. But since most bike locks are easily defeated by a determined thief, I was wondering if others had problems.

BTW, thanks everyone for the great replies. You've put my mind at ease.

don't know how old you are, what travelling experience you have, but using common sense and being in rural areas generally means things will be fine.
At tourist spots that we stopped at, my wife and I put our bikes side by side, and locked them together. As you say, you take your handlebar bag with all the important stuff, and in a touristy spot in rural france, the chances of someone rooting through panniers and dirty clothes to look for valuables is pretty small.
Facing our bikes back to back, so intertwined a bit, and using two coil locks that you can put through pannier handles will stop a run and grab of a pannier, but we always come back to common sense awareness and evaluation of a given spot and the people around.
No guarantees in life, but I havent had any issues biking in France the number of times I've been, including the Loire route.

3speed 02-10-19 02:33 PM

This whole thread just seems so weird to me. I can't imagine not locking my bike with a high quality chain or decent u-lock if it's not within sight and within about three second's reach. If I'm leaving the bike, there's No way I'd leave panniers on it. The tent is $300. The sleeping bag is $150, sleep pad $60, pillow is $20. There's $230 in my sleep set-up. Kitchen is less, but not cheap to replace. Panniers themselves, another couple hundred? Hell, counting the little stuff too, I probably have $750-$1000 hanging off of my bike. I'd be happy if they just took a tablet or camera!

I'd almost certainly be better off if someone stole my bike than my panniers. I could acquire a bike with rack mounts that fit me well enough a lot easier than I could acquire my panniers and all of the gear in them. I also probably couldn't acquire the same quality stuff, spur of the moment, without spending much more. I'd actually end up re-buying everything twice! For example, I could get another tent spur of the moment, but probably not an ultra-light tent that was what I really wanted. I'd have to settle for a lesser tent and then still buy another one to be happy with it before my next tour. I've put a lot of thought into all of my gear, and it's taken a decent amount of time, research, and money build up my gear. If they took the bike, I find something to get me by until I get home. Then I resell the bike to reclaim some of the money and get to build up a new bike!

djb 02-10-19 03:09 PM

3speed, time and place and judging the surroundings. If a place is a castle along this route and only tourists going in, the chances of them stealing your panniers is a lot less than on some street in some town or city.
of course it isnt ideal, but it depends on the place and surroundings, so one has to make a judgement call.

Steve0000 02-10-19 03:19 PM


Originally Posted by 3speed (Post 20788141)
This whole thread just seems so weird to me. I can't imagine not locking my bike with a high quality chain or decent u-lock if it's not within sight and within about three second's reach. If I'm leaving the bike, there's No way I'd leave panniers on it. The tent is $300. The sleeping bag is $150, sleep pad $60, pillow is $20. There's $230 in my sleep set-up. Kitchen is less, but not cheap to replace. Panniers themselves, another couple hundred? Hell, counting the little stuff too, I probably have $750-$1000 hanging off of my bike. I'd be happy if they just took a tablet or camera!

Just alter your perspective according to where you are touring, the likelihood of anything being stolen and how paranoid you want to be at the expense of enjoying your touring. We are talking about touring in France, often in small towns. The risk is small. Mostly, you are wanting to deter the opportunist thief who will take your bike if it is easy (not locked). Any lock will not be a deterrent to a dedicated bike thief - it just makes it a little more difficult.
I might take a more conservative approach if I were touring large cities in the USA, based on accounts of other cycle tourists.
Your tent and other gear may be worth a lot to you but to most opportunistic thieves, are too difficult to fence compared with a bike or electronic gear. If **** happens, you buy replacement items (maybe not as good as you had). If you worry about your cycle and gear too much, you may miss out on many tourist attractions which you wanted to see and this means your touring experience is lessened. We have had to leave our cycles locked up in larger cities in France when we touristed but we would not have wanted to miss out on visiting Versailles, Fountainbleau, and other major attractions.


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