Author Topic: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip  (Read 1838 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline ian123running

Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« on: February 06, 2017, 12:04:36 pm »
Hi all,

We're from the UK and planning to bring our nice Co-Motion tandem to cycle camp the Southern Tier starting early March.  In Europe we always end up taking a good D lock and cable - these weigh a ton and it always pains us to carry them but gives us peace of mind and I'm sure we will again.....

But as this Forum is full of wise and experienced tourers...  we're interested in what do you do for bike security on cycle camping tours in the USA?    And Is this route more or less average in terms of risk (compared to say Europe, or other parts of the USA?).

Thanks,

Ian

Offline aggie

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2017, 01:10:36 pm »
About the only time I locked my bike on the Southern Tier was when I went into a restaurant in a "larger" town.  Then I used a thin cable with a small lock.  Just to keep them honest.  Anyone with some wire cutters could have cut the cable but it was light and served its purpose.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2017, 02:16:00 pm »
Primary bike security on my trips has been eyeballs on bike at night, and some degree of isolation at night (i.e., do camp in a campground or the back of a picnic area; don't camp in a field behind a casino parking lot next to an interstate exit!).  Backup plan is a 1/4" or 3/8" cable with a good lock.  In larger towns, we usually get a motel room for better bike security while eating out plus ease of doing laundry.

After a week or so on the road, you'll start to develop "cyclist radar" where you can sense a situation that might be a little off.  Pay attention to that radar.  For instance, in one small town one of us stayed with the bikes and gear while the other did grocery shopping; in most other places, we felt comfortable going inside together.

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2017, 06:55:53 pm »
Hi all,

We're from the UK and planning to bring our nice Co-Motion tandem to cycle camp the Southern Tier starting early March.  In Europe we always end up taking a good D lock and cable - these weigh a ton and it always pains us to carry them but gives us peace of mind and I'm sure we will again.....

But as this Forum is full of wise and experienced tourers...  we're interested in what do you do for bike security on cycle camping tours in the USA?    And Is this route more or less average in terms of risk (compared to say Europe, or other parts of the USA?).

Thanks,

Ian
Here what I use. A coated steel dog-tieout cable. I forget how long it is, 12 ft maybe? I split the clips off that came attached to it originaly... Bought it for maybe $5.00!
I used to have a more robust key-lock on it, but that froze up on me.

Here what you see in the photo. I pass one end loop, through the frame and around the seat-post then through the loop at the other end. I secure the trunk bag to the rack with it by passing the end through the rack, over the top of the trunk, around the rear light mount then back over the top and back through the rack.

When riding, I store it coiled up inside the loop of the trunk bag's handle, and around the rear light mount and the D-Ring that a shoulder strap would clip to, the end loop locked to the D-Ring in a way that prevents it from uncoiling as I ride.

When I deploy it, I snake the loose end first through the rear wheel, then around a tree or sign post, through the frame, through the front wheel, back through the frame, put a loop through the slot in my tire pump pass the end through that loop on the other side then wrap the cable around and around (see photo) and finally loop through the seat.

Why all this trouble? Because yes, people might steal ONLY your seat (I've seen it), people will steal your wheels (had it happen) and leave your bare frame hanging from a tree. I assume they'd steal an air pump if they'd steal a seat.

Moreover, my goal is to make it as much of a pain in the butt as possible. If they've got the tools to cut a cable this size, then that same tool will probably also cut the bigger cable... So why carry the weight and not be able to secure your bike completely when you're an entire continent (or further) from home?





Sent from my SM-T817V using Tapatalk


Offline jimbo

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2017, 02:45:35 pm »
Interesting question.  The ST ( Start 3/1) will be my 4th crossing and I am fairly trusting and pretty casual about locking my bike but for whatever reasons my gut tells me to be more careful and lock up..especially at night..for the ST.  I plan to lock it at campgrounds for this trip. We usually leave one person outside at grocery stops etc.

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2017, 07:42:45 pm »
Interesting question.  The ST ( Start 3/1) will be my 4th crossing and I am fairly trusting and pretty casual about locking my bike but for whatever reasons my gut tells me to be more careful and lock up..especially at night..for the ST.  I plan to lock it at campgrounds for this trip. We usually leave one person outside at grocery stops etc.
Other security concerns:

Aside from locking up the bike itself, I wear a waterproof fanny pack with add-on toolbelt pouches. In the pouches I keep my wallet, keys, pen, knife, cellphone, USB brick and charging cords. In the fanny compartment, are the most commonly needed tools, so I don't have to dig through all of my gear... And if it rains I move my wallet and cellphone into there too. Primarily, this is so I don't have to remember to take it all with me, and maybe have it all stolen while I'm in a store... Instead I'm already wearing it. If I get a flat, everything to fix it is right in my fanny pack.

I got the idea while looking for pouches for my work belt. I do retail inventory for a living, and didn't want to leave my wallet laying around or carry in bags that have to be checked at the end of the event, and I normally keep everything I need for work in there too. So yeah, it's my man-purse!

Sent from my SM-T817V using Tapatalk


Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 09:34:02 am »
I carried a minimal cable lock and used it only rarely.  In bigger more risky towns I took my bike inside. 

Offline raceboy1

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 11:32:47 pm »
I've had too many of my bikes stolen so I'm gun shy. I lock my bike up even if I am leaving it for 3 minutes to go into a store to grab a diet Coke. I'd use something more secure than a cable lock but they become a PITA to use.

I also pretty much never let the bike out of my sight if I can help it.

Offline ian123running

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2017, 04:03:16 am »
Thanks guys - some great suggestions.  For me it's partly about peace of mind..  If we don't lock the bike I lie awake in the tent imagining someone walking off with it.  We will check out lighter alternatives to our big D lock and thick cable, but it sounds like we are a little more risk averse than some.  Good point about wheels / saddles we do have nice wheels and I have become a bit lazy about locking through them.   Plus as you say it's not just the value but the impact on the trip as we could be miles from anywhere.  The other problem we sometimes have is finding something immovable to lock it to.

On the other hand we've toured / camped with a company in France who hire out dozens of bikes (good quality tourers) for over two decades with no locks, and I don't think they've ever had a theft.  But we still lock our tandem in France!

Thanks,
Ian


Offline adventurepdx

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Riding bikes in and around Portland, Oregon
Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2017, 01:48:19 pm »
For me it's partly about peace of mind..  If we don't lock the bike I lie awake in the tent imagining someone walking off with it.  We will check out lighter alternatives to our big D lock and thick cable, but it sounds like we are a little more risk averse than some.

I think this is the heart of the matter. While theft on tours (at least States-side) doesn't happen often, you still have to be okay with the idea of a lesser locking system if you go that route. If it makes you more comfortable bringing a U-Lock (which is what we call D-Locks this side of the pond) with you, then do it and don't sweat the extra weight.

Me? I bring a U-Lock, the same thing I use in the city. I don't worry about theft on tour as much as I do in the city, and I try to feel out the situation first. But it is there if I need it, esp. if I go into a bigger city or college town.

And theft does happen. A tourist I met had their bike stolen from their campsite overnight while they were asleep. That's not a great way to end a tour.

Offline hon_cho

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 12:37:22 pm »
One thing in your favor is that you'll be touring with a tandem.  Bigger,  more unwieldy,  easier to spot and harder for a thief to sell quickly.  Of course,  riding a tandem doesn't make it immune to theft so the advice on locks and other strategies should be given due consideration.  We ride a Hase Pino and while we do lock it up when we can't keep it in site,  I fret over our panniers and such more than the bike itself. 

Offline Manilishi

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 10:35:53 pm »
I always lock my bike no matter where I am. I feel like if I don't lock it and I go in somewhere someone may have been watching and now my unlocked and unattended bike is a more than a target of opportunity - it's begging to be stolen. I use a small lightweight cable lock " keeps an honest person honest"  I also believe when locking your bike up it shows your on your " A game "  You're mindful and alert of your surroundings and you have an eye on it even if your not right there with it. I've had people remark on my locking it in small towns and such. I make a joke " My bike's so fast I have to chain it down or it'll be halfway down the street without me !!" In campgrounds I'll lock it to a tree or picnic table and put a cover over it. I have the black Arkel cover that covers the panniers and bike all the way to the ground. It's sort of "out of sight, out of mind" I also believe it conveys- if they took the time to cover it they probably took the time to lock it and took the valuables out. I see these precautions as street smarts for bicycle touring.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 10:59:41 pm by Manilishi »

Offline hon_cho

Re: Bike security - Southern Tour camping trip
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 09:25:23 am »
Manilishi's post pointed out some of the paradoxical issues of bike security on tour.  One,  you want to make it harder for casual thieves to take your bike and using a lock or some other device to deter them accomplishes that goal.  He mentions covering the bike to minimize the visual profile.  I personally have mixed feelings on this tactic because if it's worth covering some people may feel attracted to it to see what it is and discovering that it's worth taking.   Security by obscurity only works when the bad actors don't have a clue that something valuable is there.  If they find your bike,   then obscurity may provide them with the cover they need to do their dirty deeds.   

1. One type of security will not cover all situations
2.  Know your environment, adjust and adapt.   Urban vs rural, etc... I've read some harrowing tales of stolen bikes in impoverished areas of the world, rare but scarey.  I've read tales of bikes (usually not laden touring cyclists) stolen in cities when left unwatched for seconds, less rare and, to me, less scarey. 
3.  Remember,  anything can be stolen and as long as they don't steal health or life,  whatever taken--less time lost--can be replaced.  It's just stuff!
4.  Don't let irrational fear get the better of you.  People fear flying but it's much safer than driving.  Shark attacks are a scarey thought but a bee sting or lightning is more likely to harm you.   Bikes and personal items are stolen from bicycle tourists,  but the vast majority of cyclotourists have crime-free journeys. 

Have a fun and safe journey