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How do you lock your touring bike? Is robbery really real?

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How do you lock your touring bike? Is robbery really real?

Old 06-14-19, 09:39 AM
  #26  
djb
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Dating myself here, but I recall first following newsgroups just prior to the great renaming in late 80s. I forget the exact name but net.bicycle??? became rec.bicycles.rides. In this era prior to invention and adoption of www, the group sometimes had trip reports in ASCII format. I still have a trip report I sent via nntp about a 1994 Ride the Rockies trip - Ride the Rockies '94 and also put my Atlantic Coast trips in 1995.

By mid-1990s, there was bit more separation of trip reports and discussion groups. I followed rec.bicycle.rides in that era but then also used the web more for trip reports, both posting and reading. My first digital camera came in 1996 and others seemed to get them in similar era so that changed trip reports, access and discussion a lot.

I came into this discussion group at tail end of 2007, so a lot more recent. Not sure I've seen as many differences in discussions since that time...more differences in contrast to newsgroup discussions.
I figure that mev is the person with the most experience here going back to the beginnings of it all, really fascinating how you did those early trip reports, even the old journalist thing of "reading over the phone to the editor" bit.
And really fascinating your take on having been there from the beginning beginning.
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Old 06-14-19, 10:12 AM
  #27  
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A different point of view. I do all my riding in cargo shorts. I wear a jersey for comfort and some visibility. I keep my passport in the fanny pack it lives in at home or on the road. My phone in my pocket, inside a Ziploc if necessary. I carry a cable lock, keyed or unkeyed, and am anxious whenever my bike is out of my sight. Dollar General has become my best friend, when in the US. Allows me to stay away from big box stores and supermarkets. I avoid cities when I can and use warm showers readily. And the occasional hotel.
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Old 06-14-19, 11:06 AM
  #28  
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IIRC even Heinz Stucke and Ian Hibell had their bikes stolen during their tours. Rare, but can happen.

The current issue of Adventure Cycling magazine has an article on bike theft while touring.

I carry the viceroy butterfly of bicycle security, an aluminum u-lock (@355g).

Last edited by tcs; 06-14-19 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 06-14-19, 12:32 PM
  #29  
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I'm in the woods and in campgrounds mostly. Very thin cable lock for me.
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Old 06-14-19, 03:11 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
A different point of view. I do all my riding in cargo shorts. I wear a jersey for comfort and some visibility. I keep my passport in the fanny pack it lives in at home or on the road. My phone in my pocket, inside a Ziploc if necessary. I carry a cable lock, keyed or unkeyed, and am anxious whenever my bike is out of my sight. Dollar General has become my best friend, when in the US. Allows me to stay away from big box stores and supermarkets. I avoid cities when I can and use warm showers readily. And the occasional hotel.
+2 for Dollar General. That is my go to store on trips. Has just about everything I could need, the small towns Walmart and does not have the price markup of convenience store/gas stations.

Last edited by u235; 06-14-19 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 06-14-19, 10:26 PM
  #31  
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Just a quick data point and stuff you already know:
I live in NYC and know first hand how quickly bikes get stolen in big cities, especially bikes unlocked even for just a few minutes "while I quickly dash in the store". I've also had a motorcycle stolen overnight from outside by home (Kyrptonite lock broken) in NYC. In-laws had their car stolen while visiting NYC. I keep my bike inside overnight and can count on the fingers of one hand the nights I've left a bicycle locked on the street overnight - even a beater - in NYC.
For decades I've used an old St. Pierre hardened steel chain with protected shackle in NYC, it weights 8lbs. (predecessor to the Kryptonite hardened chain lock). A PITA to lug around but I've not lost a bike with it. Paranoia keeps stuff secure in a big city.
As a data point, during the past decade a friend did his second cross country bike tour, east coast-to-San Fran, with his fiancée. At the very end of the ride both their bikes were locked together in San Francisco and both were stolen. Bright side is they didn't have to ship the bikes back home.
That's big cities.

As a little kid in suburbia USA, I had my bike stolen once ... I'd simply laid it down in my yard or leaned it against my house like I'd always done. Some young teenager stole it in the afternoon and the cops recovered it that evening unscathed. After that my parents bought me a chain and lock.

Never bike toured and not sure what sort of lock I'd take.

Last edited by Lovegasoline; 06-14-19 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 06-14-19, 10:41 PM
  #32  
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Sometimes you just have to be creative. This hotel's parking garage did not have anything to secure the bikes to. My wife and I each carry a 6' cable, and a hefty Master padlock. Both locks use the same key.



As several folks said, situational awareness is really important. If it does not feel right, it probably isn't. I really missed it when we stopped for lunch at this small diner in Cleveland, Ohio. We locked our bikes and went inside for lunch. The server told us to bring the bikes inside or they would not be there when we came out.



I felt pretty good about leaving our bikes locked to this wooden fence in this Swiss campground. We wanted to walk to the nearby train station in town and take a train to Grindelwald to see the Eiger. We left before sunrise, and got back in the dark. Our bikes were still there.


Last edited by Doug64; 06-14-19 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 06-15-19, 01:35 AM
  #33  
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We use Abus and Trelock frame locks with the accessory cables. Lock the wheel for shop visits and add the cable for overnight, and never park the bikes in dumb locations.
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Old 06-15-19, 06:08 AM
  #34  
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My solution is a cheap lock and a cheap bike (and inexpensive touring gear). I don't leave anything unattended that I'm not prepared to have stolen. After the nice bike my wife gave me as an engagement present (37 years ago) was stolen from its parking spot at work, I don't trust anyone, and don't buy nice bikes any more. (My current bikes were given to me in return for favors and work done.) When I tour, I have less than $800 tied up in the bike and gear left unattended. That's less than the overall cost of my typical tour. A theft would mean a change in travel plans, then the need to scrounge up a new kit.
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Old 06-15-19, 02:09 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I always think when you're in the gas station for a quick 3 minute bathroom break, some guy is going to take 10 seconds to throw my bike into the back of his pickup and driveaway, with all your valuable belongings, include medications, credit cards, cash, cellphones, Ipads.
maybe go for your tours in someplace other than Texas
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Old 06-15-19, 03:55 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by RobWhite View Post
Has anyone had their bike stolen on tour,
Yes, on the last day. I stupidly locked it up at a mall in Syracuse, NY to watch a movie since I had lots of time to kill before the late night train home. Got back to a helmet and water bottle on the ground. Thankfully none of my gear was on the bike at the time so I lost "only" the bike. That was definitely one of those times where "If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't." applies. I chose to ignore that feeling and paid the price.

I carry a Kryptonite cable lock now. I've found the U-Lock to be cumbersome to use with panniers. The cable gives me more options, especially in camp.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:05 PM
  #37  
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I FIRMLY believe in the LOCK IT OR LOSE mantra. There was a guy a couple of years ago bicycling across Canada. He had is bike and everything on it stolen in Montreal, Quebec. He started out in Vancouver or Victoria BC. All that distance and no problems and then WHAM! stranded.

When touring I use a 3-person tent and I have low-rider rack on my bicycle. I can remove the front wheel and then bring the bicycle INSIDE the tent with me at night. the low-rider rack keeps the bicycle upright. I also use a lightweight cable lock if I go into a store or gas station rest room.

It only takes a few seconds for someone t o steal an unlocked bicycle.

Cheers
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Old 06-16-19, 08:18 PM
  #38  
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I literally have a recurring nightmare of someone stealing or group of thugs taking my bike. My last 3 bikes were stolen, and two of the three were locked. So even though I have a forgetaboutit, I rarely take it with me, and thus never leave it out of reach.

If I had deep pocket and could easily replace it, maybe this wouldn't be an issue? But I don't, so it is.
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Old 06-17-19, 05:16 PM
  #39  
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Daughters and friends bikes were stolen while camping in Frostburg MD a few years ago when they were riding the GAP/C&O. She was 18 at the time and I don't think she's left her bike unlocked since.
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Old 06-25-19, 02:56 PM
  #40  
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This is a crazy story with a happy conclusion for a couple doing the southern tier on a tandem. https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=459709&v=1Y
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Old 06-25-19, 07:30 PM
  #41  
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There is a girl on tour now who had her panniers stolen from her tent in the backyard of her warmshowers host on day 5. Fortunately not everything was in them at the time, she has a good attitude, and is back on tour.

Her blog is at Little Miss Bike Tour (.com) — I'd post the link to her post but I can't yet.
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Old 06-27-19, 03:59 AM
  #42  
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I've never had a bike stolen on tour, but I had a camera stolen in the French Alps in 2016, along with some sweat cycling clothes that I'd worn that day (WTF???) from a campground in Switzerland. It was a lesson that some people will steal anything.

Generally I make a habit of keeping my wallet, phone and passport on my person at all times and keeping the bike locked up. The one time I didn't apply that habit to my camera it was stolen. Go figure.
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Old 06-27-19, 05:43 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
It was a lesson that some people will steal anything.
I had my helmet stolen once. Yep. Not my bike, or any of my camping gear, or my camera. Nope. Somebody took my helmet.
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Old 06-27-19, 08:21 AM
  #44  
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I generally carry a U-lock and one of those cables with loops on both ends you can run in conjunction with the U-lock. Most of the time, it is just a U-lock through the back wheel and triangle. Sometimes, I will run the cable through something immobile (such as when I had to leave my bike outside in Paris and Amsterdam).

Realistically, any lock will be easily defeated if someone wants your bike, depending on the environment I am simply looking to prevent either a) a quick rideoff, or b) (a) plus tossing in the back of a truck or van.
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Old 06-27-19, 10:12 AM
  #45  
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I think you're pretty safe in rural areas with a simple lock to deter the opportunistic thief. More densely populated urban and touristy coastline areas where you have lots of bike traffic is a high risk though - that's where thieves like to go shopping with tools. I lost one of my favorite bikes in a big city when I ran inside for 10mins.... bike was locked with a Kryptonite U-lock. That turned me off bike touring for a while.

Now use a specialized ultra-compact rig for densely populated touring that is nearly the equivalent of a 2-item airline wheeled carry-on set-up. I usually just wheel everything with me inside (stores, restaurants, museums, tent, public transport, etc) and so have virtually eliminated my theft concerns.
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Old 06-27-19, 02:10 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
Use a combination lock....not the keyed style.
A key is just one more thing to misplace.
I can't trust myself to remember 4 (or however many) random numbers. I choose the simplicity of a keyed Master padlock and cable. 👍
Now then, to prove she's fickle, fate made me lose my key just yesterday. I spent about half the day retracing my steps and repacking everything, and never did find it, until today. Seems I never repacked my handlebar bag, so never threw away all those napkins, that were covering my key. 🙄😋
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Old 06-27-19, 05:55 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by stardognine View Post
I can't trust myself to remember 4 (or however many) random numbers. I choose the simplicity of a keyed Master padlock and cable. 👍
Now then, to prove she's fickle, fate made me lose my key just yesterday. I spent about half the day retracing my steps and repacking everything, and never did find it, until today. Seems I never repacked my handlebar bag, so never threw away all those napkins, that were covering my key. 🙄😋
Plus a key is easier to deal with in a dark area. Even in the day time the bike car on the Empire Builder can be dark. I hate messing with a combo luck when you are under the gun to get the bike out of the car.

I don't know what I will do for my GAP trip. Last time @robow and I just hung the bikes and did not lock them. It is only a couple of stops so you will probably be OK. Maybe I will do the same this year and just exit the train car at the stops (if allowed might not be at Rockwood maybe Connelsville) or I will buy a padlock and take that.

On my trip back from Seattle in a couple of weeks I will lock it. Train ride is over night on the Chicago run. Last year, I forgot to lock it, Talked to the conductor and he let me in the bike car. That was a lot of fun moving through the car with nothing to hang on to on a moving train. Good thing I have a lot of experience with sailing, it applied that day. ;_

For some reason I chose my light cable lock I use for panniers. It was a PITA to unlock once I got to Pittsburgh.
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Old 06-27-19, 06:03 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by reppans View Post
I think you're pretty safe in rural areas with a simple lock to deter the opportunistic thief. More densely populated urban and touristy coastline areas where you have lots of bike traffic is a high risk though - that's where thieves like to go shopping with tools. I lost one of my favorite bikes in a big city when I ran inside for 10mins.... bike was locked with a Kryptonite U-lock. That turned me off bike touring for a while.

Now use a specialized ultra-compact rig for densely populated touring that is nearly the equivalent of a 2-item airline wheeled carry-on set-up. I usually just wheel everything with me inside (stores, restaurants, museums, tent, public transport, etc) and so have virtually eliminated my theft concerns.

Actually depending on the city it can be fairly safe too depending on where you are. I went through Chicago and a number of people told me no need to worry about the bike down near the water front. When I got there I found out why. Tons of cops everywhere. I guess they don't want the tourists getting ripped off.

I was shocked at how helpful everyone was too. The cops were very nice. One saw my Pittsburgh jersey. His partner was from Pittsburgh and we chatted a bit. A local couple moved to a different table for me at the restaurant so I could be closer to my bike. They offered I didn't even need to ask. Their comment was basically the same , that I needn't worry too many cops around.

Now Portland and Seattle? I will be in both cities in the next couple of weeks. I don't plan to leave the bike out of my sight, if I can avoid it.
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Old 06-27-19, 10:02 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Actually depending on the city it can be fairly safe too depending on where you are...
Good point. I'd feel comfortable with a bracelet lock most anywhere in Japan. My bike was stolen from NYC.
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Old 06-28-19, 06:42 AM
  #50  
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I have been fortunate not to have a bike stolen on tour. I did have a (stupidly unlocked) bike stolen outside a grocery store in Fort Collins, CO when I lived there.

I have been on tours with a few smaller things stolen:
- My bicycle bell was stolen from my bike when parked in an underground parking garage in Mysore, India. It was one place in India I had lost the argument of whether I could bring my bike to my room. Hotel staff had insisted it would be safe in their underground locked garage. I had also locked it in the garage, but not anticipated the bell being taken. In India you notice almost immediately when you are missing a bell...
- My cycling partner had her bicycle pump stolen from her bike in a small village of xxxxxx in the Russian far east (Amur oblast). She had parked her bike by the store to buy some food and some youth had taken her pump. She had chased them but was unable to catch them.
- On TDA supported tour, we had some things stolen. The most surprising was one of our toilet tents in Kenya. Photo below is of such a tent though in Ethiopia, prior to the theft. It could be a disgusting spot with a small tent around a hole in the ground. At same time the toilet tent was stolen a staff member lost some shoes and clothes from under the rainfly. We also had two bikes stolen - but recovered after we worked with tribal locals.

I typically carry a small cable lock and probably are a little too blase in always locked, but knock on wood have been mostly fortunate.
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