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Where do you park your bike when buying food/water?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Where do you park your bike when buying food/water?

Old 08-12-19, 08:44 PM
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richard.susanto
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Where do you park your bike when buying food/water?

On a long solo ride, I'm wondering what everyone has done to keep their bike safe when buying food/water in a cafe or gas station?

I live in the suburb of Chicago but I ride my bike in the rural area, passing small towns and gas stations along the way, sometimes even Starbucks/McDonalds.

Many thanks for the input.
Richard
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Old 08-12-19, 08:51 PM
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Depends on the situation and layout of the building, but most times I just wheel it inside. In all my miles, I've had just one place raise a stink about it, a CVS pharmacy. Which I have not set foot inside since.

Starbucks are a personal favorite-- most of them have outdoor seating, I just park in there and go get my vanilla milk.
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Old 08-12-19, 09:03 PM
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The bike comes inside with me. I don’t ask if they have a problem with it, and only one store employee ever questioned me about it.

FTR, the manager quickly told the employee “he’s good”.
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Old 08-12-19, 09:41 PM
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I try not to. If I didn't bring enough water, there are fountains. I don't ride long enough to need to eat before I get home.

But that's not always possible. There's a Starbucks on one of my routes - mediocre coffee, but frequented by cyclists, there are always 10 people in kit sitting around outside. Bikes don't get stolen there. There are a few Indian restaurants with outdoor seating, they let me lean the bike against my table. This is only an option at the end of a ride. The last time I went into a convenience store, I took the bike in, and the guy wanted to know what my Garmin was. He went in back and hot his wife and pointed at my bike, telling her it has satellite navigation. I thought I wouldn't be allowed in with it, it was a good experience.
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Old 08-13-19, 02:42 AM
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A Japanese restaurant let me wheel my bike inside once as I was starving and wanted to eat. Never a word said, even as they got crowded a little later. Pizza joint also let me wheel inside, and a juice place.
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Old 08-13-19, 05:14 AM
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I carry a lock and lock it where ever it is convenient - usually right in front of the store if there is not a bike rack provided. The lock I carry is a "keep the honest people honest" lock and so far (decades) never had a bike stolen that I had locked up.

Never brought the bike into a store, though there have been times when I wasn't planning on stopping, didn't have the lock with me and nature called - I have rolled it into restrooms.
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Old 08-13-19, 06:39 AM
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This is awesome. It looks like bringing my back inside is the best thing to do. Where I'm going this weekend will be a 75 miles bike ride in rural Illinois (mostly farmland). There are a couple of small general stores that I'm planning to visit to restock on water.
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Old 08-13-19, 06:46 AM
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I don't when alone. I carry enough food for the entire trip and will stow a 3rd bottle in a jersey pocket. You often can't get in "great riding" if you're always confined to being within stopping distance of a rest stop.

This is usually good for up to a 100k distance. Century? I'll loop the route by a park with a known water fountain and I carry my drink mix in a plastic sandwich baggie.

Most times, the only stoppage time on a metric is to wait at a traffic light or intersection. Eat on the move, maybe unwrap it and start eating at the light.

With a group? You've got a group and always someone to watch bikes while another orders a coffee.
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Old 08-13-19, 07:09 AM
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Usually within eyesight, but not always. If I am touring in rural places I don't worry much about theft. Even I cannot lift my fully-loaded bike. Snatch a pannier and your not going to get anything of much use/re-sale value.
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Old 08-13-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by richard.susanto View Post
This is awesome. It looks like bringing my back inside is the best thing to do. Where I'm going this weekend will be a 75 miles bike ride in rural Illinois (mostly farmland). There are a couple of small general stores that I'm planning to visit to restock on water.
I roll up to the general store, lean my bike against the front, and walk in. I dont even give a second thought to someone stealing my bike when Im out on a ride and at a Casey's or whatever convenience/gas station is around. I cant imagine wheeling my bike into a Casey's general store- it would be cumbersome, inconvenience others, and overall just be a proverbial bull in a china shop in terms of space. Buying water and a snack takes a minute or two, most of which is standing in line where you can see your bike outside.
Now if I were going to a grocery store in a small town and didnt have a lock, then sure I could see wheeling in the bike and leaving it inside near the entrance. Every time Ive gone to a grocery store when on long rides has been while touring and I instead just use a light cable lock.
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Old 08-13-19, 08:13 AM
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Most people around here just leave their bikes outside the gas station/convenience store/coffee shop. I've never heard of an incident - in the suburbs or more rural surrounding areas. If I'm alone, I try to leave the bike in a place I can see from the inside, and I try to limit the time I'm inside, but it's rare that I can have visibility 100% of the time. There are, after all, quick pit stops required at times. Maybe the area is comparatively safe. Or maybe we're just being dumb and lucky.

People have their bikes stolen around here, but mostly it's in the cities, and from their houses or garages.

To those who get your water from fountains on long rides, so you don't have to go inside, I guess that means riding in places where outdoor nature breaks are also feasible.
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Old 08-13-19, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Most people around here just leave their bikes outside the gas station/convenience store/coffee shop. I've never heard of an incident - in the suburbs or more rural surrounding areas. If I'm alone, I try to leave the bike in a place I can see from the inside, and I try to limit the time I'm inside, but it's rare that I can have visibility 100% of the time. There are, after all, quick pit stops required at times. Maybe the area is comparatively safe. Or maybe we're just being dumb and lucky.

People have their bikes stolen around here, but mostly it's in the cities, and from their houses or garages.

To those who get your water from fountains on long rides, so you don't have to go inside, I guess that means riding in places where outdoor nature breaks are also feasible.
Same here. I rarely need to refill and don't ride in areas where my bike could be stolen.
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Old 08-13-19, 08:31 AM
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There's some unassailable advice there-- don't ride long enough to need food or water, and don't live where bike theft is a risk. I've been doing it wrong this whole time.

But as moving seems like a bit of a hassle, and I don't think any superheroes have shown up to put a dent in the petty theft numbers, I'll stick with taking my bike inside establishments whenever I see fit.
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Old 08-13-19, 08:58 AM
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+1 bring Inside.
One hand on the top tube and hand the cash/card to the clerk with your other hand.
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Old 08-13-19, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by richard.susanto View Post
This is awesome. It looks like bringing my back inside is the best thing to do. Where I'm going this weekend will be a 75 miles bike ride in rural Illinois (mostly farmland). There are a couple of small general stores that I'm planning to visit to restock on water.
Tell them "bikes get stolen" if they look at your funny. Better if you have a personal story about it. People get more understanding when they understand why.
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Old 08-13-19, 09:13 AM
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For group rides, where it's more likely that I'll have an extended stop for food/drinks afterwards, I'll bring my Otto Lock along (and usually keep the bikes within line-of-sight). For solo rides, I'm unlikely to stop for more than a convenience store snack, in which case I'll just lean it against a wall outside, preferably with an obstacle of some sort in front of it. If I felt that I needed to bring it inside, I wouldn't hesitate to, but that's pretty rare.
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Old 08-13-19, 09:18 AM
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I've never brought a bike inside, but I've been tempted. I generally don't stop unless I'm with another rider -- in which case we take turns keeping watch over the bikes. If I'm riding a metric or shorter, I don't stop. If I ride a century, I will stop for water (with mix in my pocket) and leave the bike leaned up against the front window of the C-store where the clerk and I can see it.
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Old 08-13-19, 09:45 AM
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If I'm on a long solo ride, in an area i'm unfamiliar with, I carry one of these mini locks, just in case I'm forced to leave my bike unattended, even for just a couple of minutes.
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Old 08-13-19, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by richard.susanto View Post
This is awesome. It looks like bringing my back inside is the best thing to do. Where I'm going this weekend will be a 75 miles bike ride in rural Illinois (mostly farmland). There are a couple of small general stores that I'm planning to visit to restock on water.
If I'm going to a general store out in the boons, I don't worry about. Lean it near the door (out of the way of shoppers of course) and it will be fine.
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Old 08-13-19, 10:08 AM
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Out here, I wouldn't go by city vs country. There are places in Seattle where I can leave my bike unattended briefly - not very many of them mind you - and there are a lot of rural places with meth problems. And of course there are a lot of rural places where I have absolute trust. Hopefully everybody in here has some basic knowledge of the places they ride through.
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Old 08-13-19, 11:32 AM
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Depends. In 90% of the time I will bring the bike in to the store with me. I figure I have the bike under control and I'm getting in the way of other patrons. If I'm given a hard time about bringing the bike in, I will either a) prop the bike up inside the store or b) prop the bike up against the window and keep an eye on the bike for as long as I can while in the store. It pretty much never leaves my line of sight.
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Old 08-13-19, 11:37 AM
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There are grocery stores that have always been good to me about bringing the bike inside. A security guard at Metropolitan Market will keep an eye on it if I leave it by the service desk. They're more expensive than other grocers, but sometimes at the end of a long ride I'm craving some specific food that I don't have all the ingredients for, and they make it easy to fix that on the way home. I've always appreciated that and give them more business than I would otherwise because of it. I told the manager all of this.
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Old 08-13-19, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
It pretty much never leaves my line of sight.
I think that pretty much defines my comfort level, and if line of site requires me to bring it in, I bring it in.
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Old 08-13-19, 11:41 AM
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I too bring it in. I haven't had anyone push back (only been back in cycling 2 months), but if they did I'd be prepared to be politely apologetic and explain that I'm only going to be a second to get what I need and then I'm out of their hair. On some occasions at a coffee shop I frequent with outside seating, if no one's outside I bring it in with me while I order and then sit outside with the bike. If someone is outside I politely ask if they wouldn't mind keeping an eye on it while I order. I've only asked twice and both times got very friendly agreement.
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Old 08-13-19, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Hopefully everybody in here has some basic knowledge of the places they ride through.
Not always possible when you tour in unfamiliar places.
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