Author Topic: solo bike security  (Read 356 times)

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Offline Ben the Slow

solo bike security
« on: April 04, 2014, 04:01:20 pm »
I will ride cross country solo this summer and would like advice on how to keep my loaded bike safe.  Please advise on how, and with what to secure the bike and gear while I do things like go into restrooms and grocery stores.  For longer periods I plan on leaving the bike in secure locations and likely tying it to my tent overnight (your opinions on this untested theory is appreciated)

Thanks for any advice, experience you can offer

Online staehpj1

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 04:28:33 pm »
The risks are pretty low in rural small town America and that is where you will spend the large majority of the time on a coast to coast tour.  Just use good judgement, carry and use a light cable lock where you feel you need to.  In the few bigger towns, especially bike friendly ones don't leave the bike out of sight.  The highest risks are probably when you leave your bike outside of stores or restaurants in bigger towns.  If the vibe is especially bad somewhere, take the bike inside.

The majority of the time I don't bother to lock, but in places where the risk seems high I don't let my bike out of my sight.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 07:18:36 pm »
What Pete said on low risks in small towns.  Carry a light cable lock to keep people honest, perhaps, and a detachable handlebar bag with ID, camera, cash, credit cards, etc. stays with you all the time. 

If you can swing it, a motel room in large towns and cities is a great place to leave a bike if you're going out for a museum visit, dinner, movie, or the like.  Try to get it clean before you go in; in some places, the staff keeps old towels just to clean off boots, waders, guns, and of course bicycles.

Online John Nelson

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 07:40:34 pm »
I'm with Pete and Pat. Every situation requires judgement. Like Pete, I often don't lock it at all. When I'm in small-town grocery stores, I usually don't lock. In restaurants, I try to sit where I can see it through the window. In medium-sized cities, I might lock it with a lighweight cable to a railing. If the cable is long enough, you can run it through the pannier handles. I almost always lock it overnight, to a picnic table or tree, or when I go for a hike. A raccoon is more likely to steal your pannier than a human.

I only carry a very lightweight lock. You could probably cut the cable with a heavy set of wire cutters. It's only intended to prevent thefts of opportunity.

In a big city, I would not leave it out of sight for more than a few minutes. Try to bring it in whenever you go inside. Most large grocery stores won't care if you bring it inside.

In a couple hundred days on the road solo, I've never had anybody bother anything. But no system is foolproof. There's always a chance of loss, no matter what you do.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2014, 02:43:35 am »
i used to go into macdonalds for breakfast a lot to use the internet. almost all of them have a railing right next to the entrance which i locked the bike to and then sat near the window.

i kept a small shoulder bag at the top of my panniers with my most valuable items in which could easily be removed and taken with me, but as most people mentioned, there is very small risk in rural areas. even in the cities i left it unlocked at gas stations when i went inside.

never once had a problem in 5 months of touring in the states. i found that people i met on short tours tended to be quite paranoid about theft and safety, but you tend to chill out as you relax into life on the road. :)

and yes those pesky raccoons!! there's a reason they are dressed like cartoon bank robbers!! ;)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 02:45:13 am by bobbys beard »

Offline Ben the Slow

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2014, 03:41:50 am »
Thanks for your responses.  I did not want to buy a 5lbs D-lock, you have confirmed thru experience the need to provide protection against casual theft with a lightweight cable lock.  Thanks!!

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2014, 03:55:26 am »
Carry a light cable lock to keep people honest, perhaps, and a detachable handlebar bag with ID, camera, cash, credit cards, etc. stays with you all the time. 

+1 Also be aware of what nice gizmos are on your handlebars because they can attract the eye. The only theft I experienced was with a device on the handlebars. I ride with a GPS. When I'm off the bike, the GPS goes in my handlebar bag, and the bag stays with me.

Offline DaveB

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2014, 06:17:06 am »
About 5' of 3/16" plastic coated wire cable with an eyelet in each end and a small combination lock (so you can't lose the key) will provide adequate security against casual theft and is both light and compact.  Run it through both wheels and the frame and around something like a tree or light pole or parking meter to secure the bike.  It won't stop the dedicated thief but, if you keep you bike in sight, it will be adequate.

If you tie the bike to a parking meter run a complete turn of the cable around the shaft so the thief can't lift the bike over the top.

Offline sanuk

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2014, 11:58:04 am »
All of the above advice is very valid, however, I also have a lockable rear wheel clamp which is fairly unobtrusive and fixed to the frame just in front of the rear brakes.  The clamp has an attached key which only comes off after you set the clamp.  Easy and quick to use and stops the bike from wandering.  The clamp adds a slight bit of weight of course and I'm not sure if they're available in the US.  I got mine with the bike in Europe where they're more common.  That plus a medium weight stretchy Abus cable lock is my basic travel security.  Otherwise when camping always trying to keep the bike out of sight and/or within sound.

Offline litespeed

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2014, 02:57:08 pm »
I pack a beefy Bell cable lock. I generally lock my bike to something if it will be out of sight. I sometimes don't bother if I am just zipping into a convenience store. In campgrounds I lock it to the bench on the picnic table and place the tent so I can see it while inside. The more I bicycle tour, the more casual I have gotten about security. A loaded touring bike is a very specialized item. Some 99% of the population would really have no use for my bike or gear. What would Joe Average do with it? Sell it on ebay?

Still, it is the most valuable thing I own that isn't cash or real estate so I guard it well.

Offline RandomGuyOnABike

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2014, 07:54:52 pm »
I have a D-ring sitting in my garage that I've never used  :o  I have been wanting to get just a simple, lite-weight combo lock. Sure, they're hardly secure, and are more of a "keep the honest guy honest" device.

It truly does boil down to where you're going and where you're staying though >> Out in the woods, out of site (usually where I pitch a tent), you might be more worried about the 'coons running off with your stuff rather than those bipedal organisms.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: solo bike security
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 10:53:57 am »
I live my in a small western town and know of several bike thefts here over the years.  I always lock my bike when going out of sight even for a few seconds.  When I know I won't be able to see it for any more that a few minutes, I double lock it with a medium and a light cable and, if particularly worried about the situation, remove the front tire and lock it to the rest of the bike or take it into the building. The idea is to make it a hassle to untangle the bike and get away with it.

My son had his bike stolen in Seattle.  He had leaned it against a large window outside a building and was inside talking to a client on the other side of the window.  A thief jumped on the bike and my son chased him of foot until they got to a downhill and the thief was able to speed away.  If he had just run his helmet strap through the rear wheel (another thing I do to increase the hassle for potential thieves), the guy would never have been able to get on the bike and get away that fast.
May the wind be at your back!