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bike tour and security concerns/constraints

Old 05-12-21, 09:21 PM
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jon dawg
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bike tour and security concerns/constraints

I am planning a tour for 2022/23( medical and work issues permitting)
a tent big enough for the bike and cot and trailer. ( the reasoning being. "out of sight,out of mind. the cot is due to the difficulty of getting off the floor).
from a security point of view, does bringing in the bike in to the tent justify the weight of said tent. or my current heavy duty chain and tight fitting u lock sufficient security precaution.
i am a large man( 340 lbs) so towing a trailer is not an issue.

please keep the replies civil as i want to encourage healthy discourse.
thank you in advance
Jon Dawg
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Old 05-12-21, 10:26 PM
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MarcusT
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I think once you try to load all that gear on a bike you might change your mind.
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Old 05-12-21, 10:30 PM
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Get some 36 Spoke Wheels and have them checked before you leave.
Leave the bike outside.
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Old 05-13-21, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jon dawg View Post
....a tent big enough for the bike and cot and trailer.
(... the cot is due to the difficulty of getting off the floor).
....
i am a large man( 340 lbs) so towing a trailer is not an issue...

okay, you're a big dude, and from other posts just getting (back) into cycling.
i'll assume you've never bike toured before.
i'll also assume "difficulty of getting off the floor" indicates some physical limitation.

let's start by doing some math:

large man 340 pounds
bicycle 40 pounds
trailer 15 pounds
2 large panniers 10 pounds
clothing/stuff 20 pounds
food/water 10 pounds
tools/spares 5 pounds
XXXL tent! 15 pounds
cot 5 pounds
misc 10 pounds

so....ummm....you're looking at pushing 450+ pounds, all day long,
up and down hills, into the wind.

yes, towing a trailer WILL be an issue.

a tent large enough to stow a bike+trailer+human+gear+cot will also
be an issue, since "getting off the floor" is a consideration.


recommendation: ditch the trailer, ditch the tent, ditch the cot.
start out credit card touring, staying in cheap motels or freebie
warmshowering.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:43 AM
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The specific question of having a tent large enough to store the bike in it, that tent will weigh a lot more than a good lock. That tent will be big enough that it will take a lot of ground space to put it up.

The kind of lock you need varies greatly by where you are. Most bike touring is done in places where a smaller lock is adequate. I usually get by with a small light weight cable lock and padlock. If a place may have a high enough theft rate that my lock would make me nervous, I do not go there. Quite simply, if I am going to be nervous and looking over my shoulder, I am not going to be enjoying myself as much as I would have if I was elsewhere.

On one of the tours I did with a friend and former co-worker, he was quite nervous about theft of his titanium bike, so he followed the rule that your lock weight is inversely proportional to the weight of your bike, his chain weighed a ton:



If the reason that you bring a cot is that you can't get up off of the ground, if you crash your bike you are going to be on the ground. Seriously, consider a gym membership and diet counseling. I enjoy biking much more after losing 15 percent of my body weight, and my starting point was 205 to 210 pounds. A calorie deficit of 3,500 calories is one pound lost.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:05 AM
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I would just state that almost no cycling tourists bring their bike into their tent and therefore do not need a tent so large as to make that possible.
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Old 05-13-21, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jon dawg View Post
my current heavy duty chain and tight fitting u lock sufficient security precaution.
I don't think I'd want to camp in an area that needs a heavy duty chain... But if you're that concerned you don't need to bring the bike in the tent, just the front wheel. I wrap a piece of Velcro around the break lever to lock the back wheel, that slows down the grab & ride type of theft and would probably make some noise in the process. You could also tether the bike to the tent, but again do you want to stay in an unsafe place and have to defend your property against a thief with unknown weapons?

As for the cot, I agree with sleeping on the ground, we did that and I'm done with it, we do CC touring now, B&Bs and hotels with a real bed, shower and AC.

Last edited by DCwom; 05-13-21 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 05-13-21, 06:06 AM
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I can't say what is worth it for you, but for me I'd say absolutely not to both bringing in the bike and to the cot. I am not a big fan of trailers either although they can make sense in some cases.

My suggestion is to always look at minimizing what you take. Think, what is the least I can be comfortable with? Do I really need this item? Would a smaller lighter item suffice?

There are really comfy sleeping pads. Some are quite light.

I have met many cyclist in my travels and almost none of them took bikes inside their tents. Off the top of my head I can recall one. Many either used light weight cable locks or didn't lock at all. I'd say the majority carried a light weight cable lock.

I can't recall seeing anyone ever carrying a "heavy duty chain and tight fitting u lock" on tour. Where will you be touring that you feel you need that much lock? In places where I feel I'd need a heavy lock I just don't leave my bike unattended. If I need to go in a store I ask to park the bike up front near the registers or just wheel it up and down the aisles. I generally avoid staying in bigger cities and if I do stay in them get a room.

I'd suggest trying very hard to keep gear weight down to 30 pounds and if it is over 40 pounds to look really hard at cutting stuff off the list.
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Old 05-13-21, 06:30 AM
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I often lay my locked bike down right outside my tent door where I can see it (I only close the door in heavy rain) and tie a guy line from the tent to the bike.

I reckon if someone trys to steal my bike, I would wake up and thwart their dastardly plan! 😁
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Old 05-13-21, 06:53 AM
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One more option, a bike with a missing wheel is less likely to be stolen. Put your front wheel in the tent vestibule.
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Old 05-13-21, 07:40 AM
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There’re other ways to solve the overnight security problem... also daytime security, multi-modal transport, and even stealth camping (clicky). Unfortunately, it’s limited to 240lbs.
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Old 05-13-21, 07:43 AM
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that is some thing i have never thought of b 4. thank you
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Old 05-13-21, 09:08 AM
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I think you got some good advice. On my tours I use a light lock. In the city, we (tour with my wife) are concerned about our bikes/stuff and try to watch the bikes. In campsites, a light lock has been enough for the 20 years of touring. Having said this, we have yet to have a problem with bike or stuff.

Do not underestimate weight. Your weight alone will be a challenge. I recently lost 15 pounds to get back to my height/weight recommendation. It has made a big difference in my riding ability. I was surprised by the difference. Challenge your assumptions about what you need to carry. I try to make as many compromises as possible.
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Old 05-13-21, 11:39 AM
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jon dawg
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i have a folding bike. never gave it a second thought with regards to touring.
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Old 05-13-21, 10:49 PM
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Ran into this guy on the C&O Canal Towpath and he was a large fellow with a prosthetic leg, pulling his dog in a trailer for about 200 miles from Pittsburgh PA to Washington DC.


You can do just about anything if you put your mind to it, but my own experience suggests a tent just large enough to sit up in and change clothes, and a locking cable for the bike. My last tour was in my mid-60s and my biggest concern pre-trip was sleeping on the ground at that age but it proved to be a non-issue beyond the need to get up once or twice during the night. Get a good sleeping pad and practice getting up from the ground. Good luck and have fun!
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