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Theft while showering?

Old 08-17-22, 05:20 PM
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bathedinshadow
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Theft while showering?

I searched through the theft and touring related threads, but they were all about keeping things secure while in the store or in the tent. Which I think I have sorted out the best I can. Easy enough to just keep an eye on things or ask to bring the bike in. Plan to just attach the bike to the tent so that it will wake me if somebody comes for it.

The one area I can't sort out... is what about showering? Don't suggest not showering. Honestly, it's the thing that I might be the most stressed about. haha. I'm just not sure how to keep things safe while I'm in the shower. Do I set up my tent and leave all my gear in the tent and try to drag the bike into the shower area? I'm a little worried about leaving my stuff (I'll bring the highly valuable stuff with me obviously) in my tent. I know people say... who wants that. But panniers are freaking expensive. I can see somebody swiping them. Do I drag the whole loaded bike in the shower? Do I just leave it all and chance it? I know sometimes I can probably just ask people to keep an eye on things, but that might not always be an option. And maybe it's my neighbors I don't trust!

This is a pretty specific situational theft issue I realize. Just wondering what others do. This will be my first tour. I'm avoiding major cities for the most part, but it's a highly travelled area in the summer. Bikes and cars alike.

EDIT: Let me reiterate... I'm not just worried about the bike. Bringing the bike to the shower is probably not a big deal. It's leaving all my stuff at the site I'm more concerned with (apart from the things I bring with me). Equipment is expensive.

Last edited by bathedinshadow; 08-17-22 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 08-17-22, 05:30 PM
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If you are in a place with a shower, I assume it is a campground, probably one that crams all the bike touri together. Just ask someone to keep an eye on it, or bring a lightweight tripwire lock. Or take the front wheel with you.
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Old 08-17-22, 05:38 PM
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I am assuming that at some point you will stopping at a grocery store too. I recommend that you add a combo cable lock to your gear. Personally, I am more concerned about someone rolling away my rig when I stop at grocery stores.
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Old 08-17-22, 05:40 PM
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I feel most vulnerable when I go to the bathroom during a ride. Especially an unplanned pit-stop. In a campsite, you quickly get the feel of your surroundings and the other people and can assess the risk.
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Old 08-17-22, 05:42 PM
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I met a couple this summer who claimed that they had had both of their fully loaded touring bikes stolen during the night, just fifteen feet from their tent while touring in Hawaii.
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Old 08-17-22, 05:42 PM
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What about something like this his, paired with the padlock of your choice? They are coated and possibly could be tightly wound around the seat stem, using a aluminum carabiner on the two loops to secure it.

not sure this is thick of a gauge wire rope to do the trick but this may lead you down the right path or give you ideas.

https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Col...95714854&psc=1
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Old 08-17-22, 06:18 PM
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Last weekend I did an overnight trip to a place I go to a few times every year. As always, I took my wallet and phone with me when I rode to the bathhouse about .25 miles from my campsite. The rest of my gear was left at my site. Left my bike unlocked outside the bathhouse, showered, changed and rode back to my site. As always, nothing got stolen. This was at a fairly crowded state park campground in NJ. I had actually forgotten to pack my lock. Even if I had, I probably would not have used it despite leaving my bike out of site outside a few businesses during the weekend.

Situational awareness. If you’re going to worry about theft whenever the bike is out of site I cannot imagine how you will enjoy yourself.​​​​​.
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Old 08-17-22, 06:38 PM
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As Indyfabz noted, Situational awareness. Look around, are you nervous? Why? If nervous, don't tempt fate. That said, I usually will lock my bike if I am in the shower, but most often I walk to the shower so the bike is locked to a tree or picnic table in the campsite.

Where is your first tour, Pacific Coast? Some areas are worse than others, and if you see homeless looking people around, take extra precautions. When I rode Pacific Coast, twice I reported others in the campground to a park ranger, one was walking into my campsite towards our picnic table which had a lot of expensive electronics on it at the time, but when I reached for my phone he chose to leave. The other time it was some homeless person that had not paid the camp fee.

Do not clean your bike, a dirty bike is less attractive.

If you are riding the Pacific Coast, a lot of state parks have hiker biker sites, but not all of them do. If in one of them, ask someone to watch your stuff while you walk to the shower. If you are really nervous, bring a dry bag with you on your trip to put your valuables in and bring into the shower with you.

But do not get too comfortable, as that is when a nasty surprise can happen.
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Old 08-17-22, 10:14 PM
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If there is a high risk of theft, I would get steel cable or light chain locks that wrap around the panniers through the wheels. Anything else take with you.
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Old 08-17-22, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I met a couple this summer who claimed that they had had both of their fully loaded touring bikes stolen during the night, just fifteen feet from their tent while touring in Hawaii.
Yeah this is why I ask. A guy I work with had ALL of his stuff stolen at a campground when he walked to the ranger's station to ask a question. Tent and all. And he had even pitched it.
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Old 08-17-22, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I am assuming that at some point you will stopping at a grocery store too. I recommend that you add a combo cable lock to your gear. Personally, I am more concerned about someone rolling away my rig when I stop at grocery stores.
My thing with this is that a cable lock isn't going to stop somebody. It's going to slow them down... but not stop them. 15-20 minutes showering... a lock is only going to stop an opportunist. Normally I wouldn't think people would be caring around cable cutters... but people bring weird things camping.
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Old 08-17-22, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
As Indyfabz noted, Situational awareness. Look around, are you nervous? Why? If nervous, don't tempt fate. That said, I usually will lock my bike if I am in the shower, but most often I walk to the shower so the bike is locked to a tree or picnic table in the campsite.

Where is your first tour, Pacific Coast? Some areas are worse than others, and if you see homeless looking people around, take extra precautions. When I rode Pacific Coast, twice I reported others in the campground to a park ranger, one was walking into my campsite towards our picnic table which had a lot of expensive electronics on it at the time, but when I reached for my phone he chose to leave. The other time it was some homeless person that had not paid the camp fee.

Do not clean your bike, a dirty bike is less attractive.

If you are riding the Pacific Coast, a lot of state parks have hiker biker sites, but not all of them do. If in one of them, ask someone to watch your stuff while you walk to the shower. If you are really nervous, bring a dry bag with you on your trip to put your valuables in and bring into the shower with you.

But do not get too comfortable, as that is when a nasty surprise can happen.
I guess being from Vancouver BC and knowing numerous people who have had bikes stolen... it makes me nervous in general. Granted, a big bike friendly city is different than small towns and campgrounds, but it's hard to get that way of thinking out of your head.

I fully plan on always bringing my "valuables" with me everywhere. But frankly, some things that aren't classified as "valuables" aren't exactly NOT valuable. I don't want somebody snatching my camping gear.

Yes, I have 10 days off. So I'm heading south until I run out of time. I'm not in a race, so I will probably just be doing Washington and some of Oregon. Or... I'll get to the border and decide touring isn't for me. haha.
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Old 08-18-22, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bathedinshadow View Post
I guess being from Vancouver BC and knowing numerous people who have had bikes stolen... it makes me nervous in general. Granted, a big bike friendly city is different than small towns and campgrounds, but it's hard to get that way of thinking out of your head.
....
I would not categorize any place as big bike friendly cities.

I live in a small city with a large university campus. While I always lock up my bike if I go into a grocery store, some people do not bother to lock it if several miles away from campus. But, if I am going to campus for anything, I instead bring my rusty 1994 errand bike that I bought at a garage sale for $5 instead of one of my more expensive looking bikes.

I used to work downtown in the city center, I did not commute by bike but many did, and downtown was another area with lots of bike thefts. Some of my co-workers had bikes stolen.

In my community, only a few miles of distance can be a very different place when it comes to bike thefts.

There is risk anywhere, it is impossible to go risk free on a bike trip. The best you can do is use common sense for the area. As a rule of thumb, I would be more careful anywhere that had more bikes, as more bikes is where the bike thieves are likely to be.

A friend of mine was extra careful on bike thefts when we did a bike tour in Florida, he brought a big chain and lock for his titanium bike, but when we rode Pacific Coast, he had a much smaller lock for that bike. The big lock in the photo.




I bought a lock for my titanium bike that cost over $100 USD, that is not my most expensive bike but it looks like my most expensive bike. I do not take that bike if I am going to campus. The next bike tour I do will likely be on that titanium bike, I will be bringing that expensive lock and a good cable.

But any theft deterrent is only a deterrent, there is no theft proof option outside.
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Old 08-18-22, 07:32 AM
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A lot depends on where you are. Indy mentions situational awareness and that is always important. I tend to take what I consider reasonable precautions for where I am. That may range from not worrying about locking at all in some places to never leaving my bike out of my sight in others.

These days I carry a very minimal load, but when I carried a more typical load with panniers, the panniers stayed on the bike at alll times and nothing went in the tent execpt what I needed to sleep and the minimal amount of valuable that stayed with me at all times. To be honest it is very rare that I worry much about any gear theft issues in camp when staying in a campground. My gear tends to stay packed and out of sight when not in use so there isn't gear spread around for someone to browse through. I tend to shower very quickly so stuff isn't unattended flr long. I tend to make friends with neighbors so someone poking through my stuff is likely to be noticed.

I think if I were really that worried I might ask someone who was in their camp if I could park my bike with it's loaded panniers in their site while I was in the shower. I doubt I will ever do that. but if you are really worried that might be an option.

Signing in to your site and leaving something to reserve it so you could shower before setting up camp might be an option. You could leave everything in what you deemed a safe location or wheel it in with you. Again not something I'd be likely to do, but...

My ultralight packing style would allow just carrying everything with me to the shower with ease, but I have never bothered to. In cases where there has been a shower I have generally considered it safe enough especially after making friends with neighboring campers.

Of course there is always some risk. I just accept that at some point in my touring career it is possible that all my stuff could go missing. It is easier to accept that if you have gear that you can afford to replace fairly painlessly. I figure that I''d be able to continue a multi-month or even a multi-week tour with a short delay and ending a short tour early wouldn't be the end of the world given the unlikeliness of it happening with any frequency. If that were to happen I'd try to look at it as a chance to retool. Most of us will tour our whole lives without that happening with even very minimal care and a little situational awareness.
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Old 08-18-22, 08:15 AM
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Situational awareness is key. That said, when I'm near The City, I tend to grab a motel room and enjoy the shower, the bed, the receptacles to recharge everything that needs it, the laundry, and the restaurant and possibly theater nearby. Since the bike is in the room, I don't worry about it.

Thieves taking bike and gear happens, but not very often. I'd already heard about the Hawaii theft; there may or may not be another case like that this year. So the threat level is pretty low, unless you're on or near a college campus or some other high-crime area.

What risk are you willing to take? What cost (financial, weight, inconvenience) are you willing to take to mitigate an unacceptable risk? You could take an 8 foot logging chain to lock up your bike; do you want to haul a metal box on your bike to lock up panniers? You might consider credit card touring, finding B&Bs (with bike-secure facilities), motels, or the like to stay in rather than camping. Expensive? Not as much as chartering an armored car to lock your bike and panniers up every night. Yes, I'm venturing into ludicrous, but the point remains that you're going to have to trade off security costs against acceptable risks.

Camera, wallet, cell phone -- those can vanish quickly, so it makes sense to keep them near you. That's why you see so much more discussion about keeping them secure. My Ortlieb bar bag carrying those goes into stores and diners with me, and I take it into rest rooms and my tent at night. Dirty clothes always sit at the top of my panniers, to discourage someone wants to go fishing in them (just like packing for the TSA to inspect my bags!).
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Old 08-18-22, 08:30 AM
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If I have some concern walking or riding away from my sire I will toss all my bags, etc., in my tent. Unless someone sees me do that, they have no idea what's in my tent. Hell. I could be in the tent for all someone knows. I see little chance that someone would risk that possibility. It's one thing to walk by a picnic table and snatch something. It's another thing to "break the seal." Took these actions during my June tour in VT when I camped in public parks in both Burlington and Newport. While staying in lean-tos in state parks I didn't bother to hide anything. Neither did a lot of people. That fact, by the way, brings up the point that this is not just an issue faced by cyclists. People who "car camp" have to make decisions about what to secure and when. I see a lot of stuff of value left out overnight and when sites are not occupied. You think panniers are expensive? Take a look at what Yeti coolers cost.

The only time someone tried to snatch something of wine was while on part of the Trans Am. I was camping in DuBois, WY. The tenting area was bordered by a dirt road that apparently led to a trailer park. There was only a low, post rail fence separating the road from the tent area. For some reason I cannot remember I had unpacked my stove and left it out while I went to do laundry. (It was early afternoon so it's not like I had cooked anything.) I was sitting outside the laundry room reading. A car stopped with two "yutes" in it. One got out, headed for the fence about was about put a leg over. I jumped up and started walking really fast towards my tent. The bastid ran back to the car, jumped in, and the two sped away.
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Old 08-18-22, 11:03 AM
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You don't say where your tour will be (country or continent), but since you're clearly paranoid and don't trust, maybe the tour should be cancelled. You're not going to enjoy it at any rate.
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Old 08-18-22, 11:39 AM
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My wife and I left our bikes secured to the fence, with a cable, while we walked a mile to a nearby town, and took 2 trains to get to a place we wanted to see. We left before daylight and got back well after dark. We would not park our bikes at the train station.



The North Face of the Eiger-- I dreamed about climbing this mountain when I was a kid, and just wanted to see it.


As folks have already said, "situational awareness" is very important. I also agree that if you are going to obsess over bike and gear theft, you will not enjoy the ride. Keep your valuables (wallet, camera, passport, medications) in your bar bag, and take them with you to the shower or into stores and cafes. Take precautions, but relax and enjoy the ride.

In the last 15 years my wife and I have toured close to a total of 2 years in 11 countries, and never had anything stolen, except by raccoons and ravens

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Old 08-18-22, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
In the last 15 years my wife and I have toured close to a total of 2 years in 11 countries, and never had anything stolen, except by raccoons and ravens
Man! A New Jersey racoon once tried to run off with a pannier of mine. I was camping in bear country so I had stored all my attractants in the restroom. The pannier was completely empty. The only thing I could figure is that it had some lingering odor from a very aromatic everything bagel I had bought earlier in the day. Fortunately, I heard the thing while in my tent about to fall asleep and was able to shoo him away after he had dragged the thing about 15'.

We sometimes have them in my alley here in Philly. My next door neighbor has a a little fake pond out back. Something stole a couple of the plastic fish. I'll bet it was a racoon.
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Old 08-18-22, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Man! A New Jersey racoon once tried to run off with a pannier of mine. I was camping in bear country so I had stored all my attractants in the restroom. The pannier was completely empty. The only thing I could figure is that it had some lingering odor from a very aromatic everything bagel I had bought earlier in the day. Fortunately, I heard the thing while in my tent about to fall asleep and was able to shoo him away after he had dragged the thing about 15'.
Stupid critter. It'd have been much easier just to gnaw through the pannier to see what was inside. Lucky for you it didn't!
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Old 08-18-22, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Man! A New Jersey racoon once tried to run off with a pannier of mine. I
Those Jersey coons are the worst. I camped there once and had a loaf of bread in the tent. In the middle of the night a raccoon swatted through the tent wall and blindly reached around in search of it by smell. All the while I was blindly bashing him over the head through the torn tent with a pot. He persisted and made off with the bread through the rip.

Yes, I know ... never take food or utensils into the tent. I was a dumb 20 something!

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Old 08-18-22, 06:04 PM
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My wife has a small snack bag that straps to her toptube and headtube. One night at a campground in California, a raccoon unzipped the top, and got away with her bag of M&Ms. It just left a few dirty paw prints as evidence. It was a good thing, because I would have been a suspect in the crime Halt II dog repellent works good on raccoons, but remember to wash your hands before your rub you eyes after using it.

Second bike from the left, the little blue bag on the toptube near the headset.

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Old 08-18-22, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
Halt II dog repellent works good on raccoons, but remember to wash your hands before your rub you eyes after using it.
Also important to do before going No. 1.
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Old 08-18-22, 07:27 PM
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Like everyone else has said, be situationally aware. But you want to slow theives down, make things hard and give you a chance to get out of the showers and back to your bike. You can make a tarp shelter incorporating your bike into it, with front wheel removed (plough point tarp set up, wheel holding rear of shelter up, bike up front holding up plough point, staked to the ground). Make the bike and your gear physically hard to steal. Also, always take your valuables with you, never leave anything of value lying around. In the past I had a thick ziploc bag that held everything and was never out of my possession; that bad boy took showers with me, etc. People are nuts, keep your stuff close.
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Old 08-19-22, 04:36 AM
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Meh. The only valuables I take to the shower with me are my wallet and phone. Leave things like the stove, Kindle, P&S camera, external battery, tent, helmet and sleeping bag behind. At about $150, the Kindle is least expensive of those items. Whether I take the bike depends on how far away the shower is. Whether or not I lock the bike (usually to itself) depends on the situation.

This all assumes there is a shower, which is not always the case. But it applies to use of the bathroom/pit toilet as well.
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