Author Topic: Locks/ theft  (Read 10489 times)

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Offline garrett3

Locks/ theft
« on: January 28, 2008, 10:49:35 pm »
I am going to attempt to go solo for about a month. I want to go ultralight and i was wondering what everyone does to keep their stuff from getting stolen. Say, if i go into a grocery store. I don't really want to carry a heavy lock, but i guess if its my only option... Or will i be alright if i just avoid populated areas?

any input would be appreciated. Thanks.

Offline whittierider

Locks/ theft
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2008, 01:53:07 am »
A doctor friend says, "If they weren't lazy, they wouldn't be thieves," and pulls a teensy cable and padlock out of his wallet to lock up his bike.  It won't stop a determined, well equipped thief, but it'll stop the kid on his way home from school from jumping on and being gone in a flash in the few seconds you turn your back.  Anyplace there's a grocery store however, there's enough population to get your bike stolen if you don't do something to slow them down.

This message was edited by whittierider on 1-29-08 @ 10:41 AM

Offline BC

Locks/ theft
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2008, 01:15:12 pm »
Our mantra on our Northern Tier traverse was "If you are far enough away from your bike that you can't lay a hand on it, lock it!" On a tour, your bike and what's on it are everything in your world - lose it and you'll be more "ultralight" than you might want to be! As Whittierider says, a lock might not stop a really determined thief, but at least he'd have to work for it and risk getting caught. I'd encourage you to protect your ride.

Offline staehpj1

Locks/ theft
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2008, 01:29:09 pm »
On the Trans America we never bothered with locking in small towns.  In larger towns we were more careful and used a cable lock.  In the most theft prone large towns we made arrangements to leave someone with the bike or to put it in as safe a place as possible.

In a Wyoming or Montana town with a population of 39 and the next closest town many miles away I wasn't even slightly concerned.

I never worried about the stuff in the panniers, but did keep camera, cell phone, credit cards, and money in the handle bar bag which went with me.

Offline ptaylor

Locks/ theft
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2008, 04:58:10 pm »
From the above replies, I agree most closely with staehpj1. I would add that my cable lock is the lightest/smallest available - easily cut with a 12 inch cable cutting tool.

In the larger towns, I just lock my bike in a highly visible area, where a potential thief or molester would feel highly visible. I've never had a problem.

Having said that, I have had 4 bikes stolen (not while touring). Only once was the bike locked: it was at a suburban Chicago commuter train station, where a thief could depend upon my arrival and departure at set times.


Offline DaveB

Locks/ theft
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2008, 11:12:45 am »
I carry about 6' of plastic coated 3/16" "aircraft cable" and a small padlock.  I had the hardware store where I purchased the cable form a 2" loop in each end with crimp sleeves for the lock to go through.  The whole thing weighs about 200 grams and is long enough to go through the frame, both wheels and around a parking meter or road sign post.

It's certainly not strong enough to stop a determined thief but it stops the casual or opportunistic types since it would require a pair of cable or bolt cutters to remove.

BTW, I recommend a 3 or 4 dial combination lock since you cannot lose or misplace the key.  If you can't remember the combination, you probably can't remember where you left the bike either. :)

Offline biker_james

Locks/ theft
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 07:44:43 am »
You have to accept that you really can't stop a professional bike thief if he wants your bike. However, thats really not where the risk is, the risk is some kid wandering by and just hopping on. Use a light lock when you're in the store or wherever. You can relax a lot more. I'm sure you can find a little coil/combo bike lock for cheap at the hardware store or Walmart that weighs next to nothing.

Offline staehpj1

Locks/ theft
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2008, 08:17:00 am »
True but...
The professional bike thief isn't going to be in Jackson Hot Springs, population 39.  The 5 kids that live there could never explain where they got your bike from and every single person in town would know who took it.

What's more no one in the town locks their doors even if going away for a vacation.  In places like this I consciously avoid locking because I fear that it displays mistrust and isn't the best way to be open and friendly with the local people.

So yes we carry a modest cable lock, but it remains packed away in smalltown USA.

Offline BC

Locks/ theft
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2008, 12:23:33 pm »
The "what ifs" and hypothetical situations involving theft are probably endless. It's reasonable to assume that your bike will be safe in a town with a population of 39. It's also reasonable to assume that another person will leave your bike alone, since it doesn't belong to him. Obviously, people with light fingers don't employ that form of reason. Sadly, light-fingered people can live anywhere, even small-town America.

The original question seemed to center on whether or not to carry a lock when traveling ultralight and solo. If you're alone, there won't be anyone else to watch the bike for you when you're in a store. There might be unplanned contingencies when you're forced to leave the bike, for whatever reason. Personally, I don't worry what others might think if they see me lock my bike. I feel that I can afford to be friendlier and more open knowing that my bike is secure. I'm more apt to linger in a cafe or stay and chat with someone I meet if I'm not thinking about the bike. Going solo, I'd always have at least some means to secure my bike. When and where you choose to use it could then be up to you. Chances are that you'll be traveling through towns where theft does occur, at least occasionally. With some of the light-weight cable suggestions offered by others, I doubt you'd even notice the weight on your bike. And I second DaveB's suggestion of a combo lock. Not only is there no key to lose, you'll save weight by not carrying one! The other deterrent to theft is just using your smarts and being aware of your surroundings.

Offline RussellSeaton

Locks/ theft
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 10:20:03 am »
On tours I carry a lock and cable.  But riding locally I do not and frequently go into convenience stores with the bike unlocked on the side of the building.  If you do not have a lock, there are other methods of making it difficult to ride away.  Undoing the quick releases on both wheels.  Shifting the gears, front and rear derailleurs, when the bike is stopped.  Both of these actions will cause the bike to be unrideable if someone tries to ride it away.  And the quick releases undone will also make it hard to push away.  Putting the helmet straps through the spokes also requires time to undo.  Note, shifting the gears and undoing the quick releases causes no harm or movement of anything if the bike is not moved.  So you can just click back to the right gear and retighten the quick releases when you return to the bike and its ready to go.  No adjustments necessary.

Offline staehpj1

Locks/ theft
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 10:58:31 am »
>  Sadly, light-fingered people can live anywhere, even small-town America.

Perhaps true, but in a town of 39 where my bike is probably the only thing that is locked, I'll take my chances.

Offline dwnptrl_777

Locks/ theft
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2008, 01:04:52 pm »
I'm devout about locking my bike, even in our sleepy little town. I use a
variety of locks, but never a junk lock. I believe you do get what you pay
for in the lock buying department.

This message was edited by dwnptrl_777 on 2-18-08 @ 9:05 AM

Offline cny-bikeman

Locks/ theft
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2008, 10:39:51 am »
I agree that in a lot of circumstances a lock is not necessary, but you don't want to ever find out that you misjudged. I agree with the previous post regarding a length of cable from the hardware store for touring. I used a 4 foot length, with a small loop and one end and a larger loop that the other can pass through. I just loop the cable around a rear stay, pass one loop through the other and then run the end up to my front rack and lock it with a small but good quality lock. If you wish, make it a bit longer and pass it through pannier d rings, helmet straps, etc. Even with this of course don't leave your bike for long periods of time.

Offline Raine

Locks/ theft
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2008, 04:03:42 am »
If someone is really determined to steal your bike, he will no matter what lock you got.

My personal choice has been cable lock for some time. In my opinion, U-lock is faster and more simple to cut with bolt cutters, but if youre going to cut cable lock, you need quality pair of cable cutters (which I think are more rare) or quality side cutters (and with side cutters you have to spend more time). Cable locks are also lighter.

Also park the bike in open place where people can see it.

I have had many bikes stolen that were locked with Kryptonite u-locks, but since I started to use strong cable locks, I have only one cable lock that was partially cutted but the thief did not manage to steal the bike.