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Bike lock when solo touring - how to play it

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Bike lock when solo touring - how to play it

Old 09-03-23, 10:32 PM
  #26  
Doug64
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My wife and I each carry a cable and lock. This allows us to secure the bikes together and to a solid object. It works most of the time.

We stopped for lunch at this diner in Cleveland, Ohio. We locked our bikes out front, and went inside. The Greeter met us near the entrance, and told us, "you better bring your bikes inside, because they won't be there when you go out". So we did!



We had a similar situation in Chicago. We stopped for lunch at a cafe that had outdoor seating, locked up our bikes outside, and started to go inside to order. A woman in a nearby office building came outside to have a smoke, and came over to talk with us. She told us not to leave our bikes unguarded, and she would watch them for us while we ordered.

Situational awareness is also important. We locked our bikes to the rail fence in the campground we were staying at near Basal, Switzerland while we took a train trip to see one of my childhood dreams. We started walking the short distance from the campground to the train station in basal before sunrise, because I did not want to leave our bikes at the train station. We were going to Grinderwald so I could at least see the mountain I dreamed about climbing when I was a kid, the Eiger's North Face. We thought it was a low risk that anyone would bother our gear in the campground. We did put our notebook, and some other valuables in the lockers provided by the campground. We got back to the campground in the dark, after spending a great day on trains and in the mountains.



The Eiger

Last edited by Doug64; 09-04-23 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 09-04-23, 03:01 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by gauvins
...a frame lock (locks/unlocks in a second, not vulnerable to portable grinders).
It doesn't seem to take this guy (who is clearly not an experienced angle grinder jockey) very long to cut one. Cutting starts ~3:15:

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Old 09-04-23, 03:40 PM
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Even with the bike locked with a chain and padlock to a post it is easy for a thief to steal the bike and put it in the back of their truck. This is inconvenient if it happens on a local shopping trip but a major problem if it happens in the middle of a tour.

I have always gone into stores and restaurants where the people were cool and would let me bring my bike inside. Some will refuse but the majority do not see it as a problem and have let me do it.
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Old 09-04-23, 05:28 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by tcs
It doesn't seem to take this guy (who is clearly not an experienced angle grinder jockey) very long to cut one. Cutting starts ~3:15:

https://youtu.be/iRYRw8iIsM0?si=gjaFv3rySOeCQxai&t=202
Interesting, but predicated on the thief's ability to turn the framelock sideways. If this is something you fear, perhaps lock bolts in place with heavy duty loctite. Rightly or not, I still think that chains/U-locks are more vulnerable to portable grinders.

More problematic (and mentioned in the video) is the fact that thiefs can simply put the bike in a van or pickup truck (or roll the bike on its front wheel).

Nightmares in the forecast
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Old 09-04-23, 05:43 PM
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litelok go. is my go to lock.

Grocery store runs I add a litelok X1
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Old 09-05-23, 12:37 PM
  #31  
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Psychological Approach

Iíve used handgun cable locks-light and sends a message

FSDC (Firearm Safety Devices - FSDC-CL1020RKD 15" Gun Cable Lock with 2 Keys - California DOJ Approved Lock - Scratch-Resistant Plastic Body & Cable Cover https://a.co/d/2wOVFid
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Old 09-10-23, 09:07 AM
  #32  
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I bet someone with a truck could have kicked those wooden fence rails loose and taken off with the bikes in a few seconds. Maybe the campground could have an entrance kiosk with an attendant, but they'd probably drive right by them unchallenged.

At least that how it works in coastal California.
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Old 09-10-23, 09:40 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
I bet someone with a truck could have kicked those wooden fence rails loose and taken off with the bikes in a few seconds. Maybe the campground could have an entrance kiosk with an attendant, but they'd probably drive right by them unchallenged.

At least that how it works in coastal California.
That's more a reflection on a society more than anything else there Steve
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Old 10-06-23, 02:13 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by sj8070
hi all
with every gram quite precious, how do the experienced solo tourers tend to play the whole 'go into gas station' in the game in the US...?
whilst you might be only 20 metres away at most, do y'all still go for a d-lock or foldable solid lock?
i was leaning towards a cable lock and bike alarm on the garmin...
is that nuts? anyone had a bike nicked at a gas (petrol) station or supermarket?
Experience has shown me that every gram is indeed not precious. Weight really only matters if you're an elite competitor. Unless you're entering a race you expect to win on your loaded bike, But I have not heard of any events like that. It's just unnecessary consternation when considering a touring set up. If you add your body weight, the weight of your bike, racks, bags, gear, food and water, you are not going to notice an additional two or three or maybe even ten or fifteen pounds.

You can secure your bike, but you're not going to secure the gear that's on it. All I want to do is lock it well enough that someone can't roll it away or pick it up and put it in a pickup. Anything strong enough to resist a strong tug is sufficient IMO. Just do your best to lock it in plain sight of the most people and try not to worry about it. And just don't stop at any sketchy places.

REIs have invited me to roll the bike in to their bike shop while I run errands. Similarly, when checking out of hotels, they've kept the loaded-and-ready bike for me while I did some last-minute errands on foot. You can ask bike shops, but interestingly, they are not always the warmest people.

FWIW, I've done about 4k solo miles around the US desert SW, the NW coast and in New England, so I've left my loaded bike lots of places.

TBH, I've been more concerned about theft while I'm riding. You may find yourself in some sketchy parts of towns and cities. I've heard stores from fellow tourers having to sprint away from people with bad intentions.

EDIT TO ADD:
Some early advice I got via a Darren Alff video was to keep your bike weight down to what you can lift over a guardrail or stone wall. Doing that can be another layer of security. A lot of people can't lift an ~80 pound loaded bike.

Last edited by Brett A; 10-06-23 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-06-23, 02:28 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by sj8070
hi all
with every gram quite precious, how do the experienced solo tourers tend to play the whole 'go into gas station' in the game in the US...?
whilst you might be only 20 metres away at most, do y'all still go for a d-lock or foldable solid lock?
i was leaning towards a cable lock and bike alarm on the garmin...
is that nuts? anyone had a bike nicked at a gas (petrol) station or supermarket?
Under those circumstances, you're pretty much keeping honest people honest and stopping crimes of convenience. For that a light cable lock will be fine. I prefer an Ottolock - they're very brightly colored, so its a sign from a distance that the bike is locked and will take some effort to steal.
In my touring experience, a fully loaded bike wasn't much of a temptation to casual thieves because it is hard to get on, slow to ride off on, and heavy to lift into a truck. Throw in a visible lock and a well selected parking location, and you've protected yourself from anything except a dedicated and well equipped thief.
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Old 10-06-23, 02:35 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Brett A
Experience has shown me that every gram is indeed not precious. Weight really only matters if you're an elite competitor. Unless you're entering a race you expect to win on your loaded bike, But I have not heard of any events like that. It's just unnecessary consternation when considering a touring set up. If you add your body weight, the weight of your bike, racks, bags, gear, food and water, you are not going to notice an additional two or three or maybe even ten or fifteen pounds.
1. There are self contained races of both the GDMBR and the Trans Am route. Iíve encountered people on the road and in camp doing both.

2. Iím no weight weenie, but even I can feel a few of pounds of food or even a six pack of beer. Iím certainly going to notice something like 15 lbs. Thatís more than my tent, sleeping bag, mattress and pretty extensive cooking gear weigh, combined. I often do the same routes at different times of year. I can even notice the weight difference when I get to leave the cold and wet weather clothing at home.
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Old 10-06-23, 03:09 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
2. I’m no weight weenie, but even I can feel a few of pounds of food or even a six pack of beer. I’m certainly going to notice something like 15 lbs. That’s more than my tent, sleeping bag, mattress and pretty extensive cooking gear weigh, combined. I often do the same routes at different times of year. I can even notice the weight difference when I get to leave the cold and wet weather clothing at home.
You're more sensitive to it than I am then. Maybe you're total weight isn't that much? Or maybe you don't sustain that many watts? Just my body is north of 200 pounds. So loaded for desert touring (3 days of food, 6-plus liters of water), I'm pedaling 300 pounds or-so. If my math is correct, 15 pounds would be 5% of my total -a pretty small percentage. A 3 pound lock would be 1%. I probably notice fifteen pounds, but I don't care. Because noticing it still leaves a choice of how to relate to it. I just love being out there and that love is only increased by having a few extra liters of water, a 2# center stand, a pound worth of fenders and a good lock,

I'm actually more sensitive to volume. I draw the line at four panniers and a handlebar bag. I refuse to have a stack across the back beyond tent poles and 19w solar panel. That's a principal thing and not a ride quality or effort thing.

Originally Posted by indyfabz
1. There are self contained races of both the GDMBR and the Trans Am route. I’ve encountered people on the road and in camp doing both.
I would not consider those races touring. I don't think Lael Wilcox, for instance, considers herself a bicycle tourist. Nonetheless, I stand corrected.
.

Last edited by Brett A; 10-06-23 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 10-06-23, 06:48 PM
  #38  
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Here is what you wrote:

ďUnless you're entering a race you expect to win on your loaded bike, But I have not heard of any events like that.Ē

The two events I mentioned are races on loaded bikes. Relatively lightly loaded bikes, but loaded nonetheless.

Iím 6í2, 215 lbs. at fighting weight. My bike is large and heavy. Iíd estimate over 45 lbs. with racks. (One time I shipped it, my racks, stove and empty fuel bottle out west in a case that weighed 23 lbs. UPS put a sticker on the case alerting handlers that it exceeded 70 lbs.

Gear is dead weight, unlike, say, your legs, which do work. Iíll stick with my relatively light cable lock, even though I donít use it that often. Has worked for probably 20,000+ miles over 20 years.


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Old 10-06-23, 07:03 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Brett A
You're more sensitive to it than I am then. [...] I just love being out there and that love is only increased by having a few extra liters of water,
a 2# center stand, a pound worth of fenders and a good lock...
I have a 540g Pletcher 2-legged center stand, which I normally appreciate. When I finished checking in at my last trip's destination welcome center, I pushed my bike off the stand and it fell to the ground (I was abusing it and it let me know). When I picked it up I was surprised by the weight and decided then and there to not bring it along next time.

Each useful thing weighs nothing by itself, but put together they all weigh too much. I'm in the process of discovering that there are levels of comfort, of security, of repairabilty, of survivability and it's not easy to decide what can or cannot be sacrificed for the total to remain below an acceptable maximum.

The lock is a good example of this all by itself. The more secure, the heavier it will be, and you have to decide where in the range you're comfortable. It all boils down to feeling, and that is really weird.
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Old 10-06-23, 08:52 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Paul_P

The lock is a good example of this all by itself. The more secure, the heavier it will be, and you have to decide where in the range you're comfortable. It all boils down to feeling, and that is really weird.
One can ease their mind through reality-based situational awareness. I live in the 6th most populous city in the country, and I know there isnít somebody lurking behind every lamppost waiting to steal my bike. Thatís just a fact. I am not wary of leaving my bike unlocked at a campground where I am the only person and the only practical access is a steep, gravel road a half a mile from a lightly traveled and lightly populated road. I sleep like a baby. Now, if Iím sleeping in one of the shelters at the public park along the GAP in Connellsville, PA, I will thread my cable lock through a wheel and around the frame even though my tent is positioned in front of the bike, making it virtually impossible for someone to take it without waking me up.

Anyone who canít make a realistic assessment of threat should definitely carry a serious lock like I do when I do something like go shopping and have to lock the bike outside for any length of time. Thatís no big deal because the distances are mostly flat and the mileages relatively short.
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Old 10-09-23, 10:43 AM
  #41  
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My wife and I usually use a hotel or motel in large cities that allow us to bring our bikes into the room. However, there are places that do not allow bikes in the rooms. In this case, they would only allow bikes at an outdoor bike rack or in the parking garage. We had to make do.

Spain

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Old 10-12-23, 09:06 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
For just a trip into a convenience store or maybe a restaurant if I can see the bike outside, I just use a small lock like skiers use.



It is only a thin cable, the goal here is to slow down a thief.

And sometimes I do nothing, depends on the situation and how nervous I am on the surroundings. Situational awareness is the key here.

Grocery stores, I am in there where the bike is out of sight for longer, usually use a better lock.
I use and do the exact same with a skiers cable lock as shown for day use same as stated above. I have done this for about 10 years and use it 95% of the time
for areas of high concern I have to HD bike locks.
if you donít have. Ski cable lock get one !
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Old 10-13-23, 03:04 PM
  #43  
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Besides avoiding cities, I use a different approach. I use the Ottolock (most secure version) and then I have a Knog Scout alarm that makes a lot of noise if someone even jiggles the bike. My feeling is that adds a lot of aggravation, and therefore security, to the Ottolock. The Knog Scout also has Apple's Find My tech in it so it acts like an AirTag. If it does get stolen, you can track it. I mount it with security screws so it isn't the easiest to get off.

J.
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Old 11-17-23, 09:12 AM
  #44  
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I was tempted when leaving my loaded bike outside a coffee shop in Portland, OR. to put a note on it saying something like "I am watching my bike. If I see you try to take it, I will stab you with my Opinel camping knife." I didn't. I just watched it from the window. No one even turned their head toward it. Which is what I usually observe.
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Old 11-17-23, 12:35 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Brett A
I was tempted when leaving my loaded bike outside a coffee shop in Portland, OR. to put a note on it saying something like "I am watching my bike. If I see you try to take it, I will stab you with my Opinel camping knife." I didn't. I just watched it from the window. No one even turned their head toward it. Which is what I usually observe.
After watching bike thievery escalate in recent years, I think putting your bike where you can see it doesn't protect your bike from theft, it just lets you know that it was stolen sooner. Locks are far more of a deterrent. You just need less lock in lower theft areas.
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Old 11-20-23, 09:18 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80
After watching bike thievery escalate in recent years, I think putting your bike where you can see it doesn't protect your bike from theft, it just lets you know that it was stolen sooner. Locks are far more of a deterrent. You just need less lock in lower theft areas.
I would never simply watch someone steal my bike.
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Old 11-20-23, 11:31 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Brett A
I would never simply watch someone steal my bike.
IKR. I have a hard time believing someone could mount my 60cm frame fully loaded and ride away from me while Iím watching, especially with the FD set to go into the small ring upon pedaling. At a minimum, the chain would likely fall off. As for picking it up and tossing it in the bed of a truck, better eat your Wheaties.
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Old 11-20-23, 01:55 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
IKR. I have a hard time believing someone could mount my 60cm frame fully loaded and ride away from me while Iím watching, especially with the FD set to go into the small ring upon pedaling. At a minimum, the chain would likely fall off. As for picking it up and tossing it in the bed of a truck, better eat your Wheaties.


I've occasionally walked up (or down) a staircase with a loaded bike, but I don't think I've ever successfully lifted one up into a pickup without offloading the panniers. Big, heavy, awkward -- what could possibly go wrong?
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Old 11-20-23, 03:42 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb


I've occasionally walked up (or down) a staircase with a loaded bike, but I don't think I've ever successfully lifted one up into a pickup without offloading the panniers. Big, heavy, awkward -- what could possibly go wrong?
I had to keep mine above water to cross a creek outside of Bedford, PA, which was the one-time home of Cannondale. Ignored road closed sign for about a mile. Got to the bridge to find a crew removing the last girder from what had been a bridge. The workaround was long, so they let me go after the girder was removed. Everyone was watching, and I know they were thinking ďThis isnít going to end well.Ē

Took off my cycling shoes and threw them to the other bank. Put on my sandals and made it across without incident. Wasnít easy though.
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Old 11-21-23, 06:13 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by tcs
It doesn't seem to take this guy (who is clearly not an experienced angle grinder jockey) very long to cut one. Cutting starts ~3:15:

https://youtu.be/iRYRw8iIsM0?si=gjaFv3rySOeCQxai&t=202
THere's a bit of a fallacy in this thinking. There really is no lock that doesn't take <1minute with an angle grinder to cut through - even most U locks. It's not really about the time - it's about is your bike being the easiest one to steal right in front of the thief. Making yours take more work and be more inconvenient is as important as how long it takes to cut the lock with a grinder.

Our kids have pretty nice race bikes from years ago that were their university bikes. Both had handbuilt Campy wheel and nice components. For the 12 years my son took to do his undergrad through PhD and my daughter to do her undergrad and masters - both on urban campuses with a known and serious problem of bike theft, we have just under twenty years of user experience with bikes in a high theft environment with zero thefts to report.

What we did was to have a U-lock (middle of the road Kryptonite) and a cable lock. That requires two different tool sets to cut through. We also had Pit Locks for the skewers, seat post and stem cap. And then we made sure to try and lock the bike next to bikes that had were not so secure. It all worked and they still use those bikes today for city commutes.

We follow the same thing with touring. Most of the time we tour in areas that are pretty low crime. For that, we use a two pronged approach - we have an Ottolock that is a little more difficult to cut than a pure cable and then we have the Knog Scout alarms on our bikes. So if you start fooling with the bike, the alarm goes off and it also acts like an AirTag to tell you where the bike is. This just makes it more aggravating to steal our bike than others. We use the same parking philosophy. If we're gone for most of the day, we arrange for a place to leave our bikes indoors secured and we're willing to pay for that. That works pretty well too.
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