Author Topic: What to do with your stuff on days off??  (Read 7189 times)

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Offline rjones35

What to do with your stuff on days off??
« on: July 28, 2011, 04:44:02 pm »
I haven't done any self-supported tours yet, YET, so I'm not sure how it's supposed to work, and maybe it's a dumb question anyway.  I've been reading some blogs and journals of some people that have done or are doing some long tours and I was wondering, what do you do with your campsite, bike, bags, etc. when you go to the store or go see sights or whatever?  Has anybody had any problems with theft or vandalism or anything or are you far enough removed from everything that that's not an issue?  A bike you can lock up, and some of the panniers have a cable lock I think, but what about a tent, or does everything come with you all the time?  Thanks! I enjoy reading everybodies stories!!!

Offline LexieCali

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2011, 09:41:07 pm »
Hi rjones35:
I have been venturing on my own for mini-tours since I was 17. I am 26 now, and I have had something stolen once, and I am pretty sure it was someone I knew and not a passerby.
I am a girl rider, and pretty slender, so I always have to be cautious. Here is some of the things I learned to practice over the years. They are common sense, but still I like to remind myself once in a while.

1. Observe, observe, observe. Some cyclists sort off get into this trance and forget to pay attention. There are a lot of unpleasant incidents you can avoid by just observing your surroundings.
2. Don't make it easy. Cables and locks are only good against a casual theft, not that I am saying they are pointless. But if someone is determined to rob you, they will watch you and will have tools. Or, they will take your whole bike. So observing comes in handy here. Fortunately, we cyclists either tow things which usefulness other people cannot easily judge; or, they are bulky and difficult to transport on-foot. So my strategy is to remove or hide all small easily removable and identifiable things like pumps, tools, chargers, handlebar mounts, etc.
3. If you cannot watch it, just hide it. It is rare when no one is around if you want to go site seeing in a touristy location. I usually secure my bike near an entrance to a market, information booth, or a ranger's station. That way, the would-be-thief assumes that I am inside and can see my bike. On some rare occasions when there was no one and nothing around, I just hid my bike. If it is not visible, nobody is going to go look for it.
4. Never ever flash your wallet or show your money. Get a bicycle wallet that goes around your neck. Keep only limited supply of cash, ID, and a credit/debit card in it.
5. Don't be afraid to make some noise. My rule is, if you think something is off, it is definitely off. Scream, make noise, be rude and obnoxious if you have to - you can always apologize later, but you will likely discourage anyone whose interest in your bike goes beyond just simple or admiration curiosity.

What I am going to say next is kind of sad - and perhaps many will disagree with me - but mostly we get our things stolen by those who have use for them - fellow cyclists. :-\  The good news is that most cyclists are decent helpful people that you would enjoy meeting on your tours. So just observe and be vigilant, and you and your staff will be fine.

Happy Riding!
Lexie

Offline rjones35

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2011, 09:48:40 am »
That makes sense, I guess it is mainly common sense kind of stuff.  It is sad that a cyclist would steal something, but you're right, they're probably the ones that would need something we have, or know how to work a release or something.  I have a friend that had his bike stolen on RAGBRAI a few years back.  It was a bummer for him, and with 10,000 or whatever,  other people around, makes you wonder.  Now he's VERY protective of his bike!!  Thanks!!

Offline staehpj1

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2011, 10:43:01 am »
I haven't done any self-supported tours yet, YET, so I'm not sure how it's supposed to work, and maybe it's a dumb question anyway.  I've been reading some blogs and journals of some people that have done or are doing some long tours and I was wondering, what do you do with your campsite, bike, bags, etc. when you go to the store or go see sights or whatever?  Has anybody had any problems with theft or vandalism or anything or are you far enough removed from everything that that's not an issue?  A bike you can lock up, and some of the panniers have a cable lock I think, but what about a tent, or does everything come with you all the time?  Thanks! I enjoy reading everybodies stories!!!

I use a light weight cable lock for the bike when I feel the need.  In small rural towns I typically do not bother.  In large bike friendly cities I try not to leave my bike out of my sight even when it is locked.  Mostly I avoid big cities when I can.

As far as gear goes... Mostly I just don't worry about the stuff that isn't in my handlebar bag which goes with me (everything else stays on the bike or in camp).  I figure that it is mostly only dirty clothes and used camping gear any way.

I have had two minor incidents where some item went missing.  One was a cell phone that was left charging in a campground bathroom and the other was a pair of Crocs.  Given that I have left the stuff in the panniers in many campgrounds, town parks, trail heads, outside stores, and outside restaurants I figure the risk was acceptable.

I ride a relatively inexpensive bike ($599 delivered) and use mostly fairly inexpensive gear.  If necessary I can afford to replace it all.  I figure that worst case I will be a couple days replacing enough stuff to continue if it ever all were to go missing.  I figure that is possible, but unlikely.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2011, 10:45:09 am by staehpj1 »

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2011, 11:38:18 am »
I really don't worry much about the bike or gear unless I am in a more populated place or camping in a place that the public can easily access.  For example, last month, during a nine-day trip in MT, our camp in Darby (a small town) was visible from the sidewalk. When we walked into town during the evening, we put our panniers and trailer bag out of sight underneath the tent fly and locked our bikes together behind a cabin so they were out of sight.  Things like pots and the stove we hid behind the tent so they were not readily visible to a passer by.  Did the same the next morning when we went into town for breakfast. In that case, however, we saw a jittery, red-faced guy walking really fast on a path that would take him right past the campground. I instantly thought "meth-head." We stopped and followed him at a distance until we were pretty sure he had other plans. A while later, we saw him outside the cafe smoking.  He then came inside for coffee and was talking to the locals. We figured he must have been on a mission to get a pack of cigarettes from the store that was a block beyond our campground.

Someone did once try to steal my stove in Dubois, WY.  I left it visible outside my tent when I went to use the campground’s laundry facility. There was a road along side the tent camping area and only a low, meager fence separated the two. Two teens drove by, stopped and started eyeing up the stove. After about 30 sec., I jumped out of the car.  I was lucky that I was outside the laundry room reading and saw what was going on. I jumped up and started walking very quickly towards my tent. The kid jumped back in the car and the two sped off. By creating an easy opportunity for petty theft, I was asking for trouble.

Several times during our recent trip we left our campsite unattended without locking up our bikes or taking any steps to hide our gear. And in a few places, both of us went inside stores, restaurants, etc. without locking up the bikes. The chance of theft simply seemed to remote to worry about.  In the relatively high crime city of Butte, however, we kept an eye on our bikes when we went inside a café to use the computer.

Of course, I always take valuables like my money, card and ID with me. That takes no effort. And I try to position the bike in a place visible to me when I go inside to eat, shop, etc. In the end, what precautions you take in each situation will be driven by an assessment of your surroundings and your personal tolerance for risk.

Offline staehpj1

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2011, 11:53:59 am »
Someone did once try to steal my stove in Dubois, WY. 
Probably the same guys who stole my crocs outside the grocery in Dubois.  Actually they may have just wanted the nice 'biner that was attaching them to the bike.

Offline rjones35

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2011, 01:24:15 pm »
I've done some multi-day supported rides that went through small towns, rural roads.  On those I generally didn't even think about leaving my bike unattended down the street when I went to eat or whatever.  Mainly small towns and on those rides there were a bunch of other bikes around.  But, if it was a bigger town by myself I probably would just try to keep an eye on it.  And like you guys said, try to hide stuff.  I guess you can't worry about that kind of think too much, otherwise you wouldn't have any fun, you'd be too busy worrying about your stuff!!  Thanks again!

Offline litespeed

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2011, 02:04:25 pm »
I have never had anything stolen or, to the best of my knowledge, has anyone even attempted to rip me off. Generally speaking, if my bike will be out of sight for more than a few minutes I lock it up with my beefy cable lock. I always take my wallet with me when I leave my bike. I never camp in the wild - stay in campgrounds or the occasional motel. Thievery is not a problem. In the campground I lock the bike to a picnic bench or tree. I charge my cell phone at the campsite (if there is an outlet) or in the lounge while I read, eat or whatever.

What we touring cyclists have going for us is the fact that we have little of value to others. It's not like we are packing jewelry, expensive electronics or much cash. Also, people really don't know what to make of us. To most people we are strange beings.

Offline happyriding

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2011, 07:20:50 am »
Quote
or does everything come with you all the time?

Yes.  You get up in the morning and you pack up your camp and strap all your stuff on your bike.  Then you try never to let the bike out of your sight.  At night, you unload your stuff and set up camp.  When I went to get a shower, that was the one time my bike and campsite were left alone, but there were always other cyclists around, so I felt pretty comfortable.  I did lock my bike to a picnic bench when I arrived in camp, and I had a small luggage lock for my tent zipper.

indyfabz,

Where did you camp in Darby?  

I did a short hop from Jackson, MT to Darby, which included the climb up Chief Joseph Pass and the crazy descent.  I camped at an RV park in Darby that had a grassy area for tents.  ESPN was in town for a national logging competition, which was set up across the street.  The cyclists got to hear the post competition concert for free.  At midnight the warm breeze caressed our skin as we listened to the last lonely twangs of country music waft across the valley.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 07:31:34 am by happyriding »

Offline staehpj1

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2011, 03:20:45 pm »
Quote
or does everything come with you all the time?

Yes.  You get up in the morning and you pack up your camp and strap all your stuff on your bike.  Then you try never to let the bike out of your sight.  At night, you unload your stuff and set up camp.
Different strokes, but...
I would think it quite a shame to not go on hikes, see tourist attractions, eat in restaurants, and so on when on tour.  There are places where I try hard to not let my bike out of sight, but mostly I tray to avoid such places where I can.  There are also places where I don't give my stuff a second thought.

As far as a lock on a tent zipper...  That seems like an invitation for someone to cut the mesh.  I'd just skip that lock.  Most likely the only stuff in my tent is my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow, and a few clothes.  If someone were to burgle the tent they would likely be disappointed to find nothing they wanted.  It would be a shame if they ruined my tent in the process.

Offline rjones35

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2011, 09:16:56 am »
Yeah, my thought, having never done it before, was the whole idea was to go hiking, see the sights, go explore!!  And it just seemed like it would be a total bummer to either not be able to because you were worried about your stuff or, on the other hand, to go do something and get back and all your stuff was gone!  I guess, like someone said, just common sense and being aware of your surroundings.  Thanks for all the feedback!!!

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2011, 09:22:12 am »
Quote
or does everything come with you all the time?


indyfabz,

Where did you camp in Darby?  

I did a short hop from Jackson, MT to Darby, which included the climb up Chief Joseph Pass and the crazy descent.  I camped at an RV park in Darby that had a grassy area for tents.  ESPN was in town for a national logging competition, which was set up across the street.  The cyclists got to hear the post competition concert for free.  At midnight the warm breeze caressed our skin as we listened to the last lonely twangs of country music waft across the valley.

Traveler's Rest.  Sounds like the same place you stayed. The grass is nice, but the  place needs a picnic table. Cooking a full meal on the ground is a pain.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2011, 09:32:06 am »
Completely forgot that I did once have something stolen from my tent.  Took a day off just north of Hyde Park, NY.  Rode into town to take a tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion and buy groceries. When I retunred to the campground and opened my tent, I found that a squirrel had gnawed through the mesh and scarffed down some of the bread I had stupidly left inside.

Offline ronnie421

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2011, 02:13:46 am »
There have been several times on a short tour that I have actually asked for the manager on duty at a Luby's Cafeteria or Furrs Cafeteria. I wait for the manager to come to the main door (he sees my bike) and explain to him that I am hundreds of miles away from home and my whole LIFE is on that bike.  I ask if it would be possible to find me a table WAAAAY off to the side where I am out of everyone's way if I could please bring my bike in with me. (Lunch rushes are not good times to attempt this).  I explain to him that I will be quick and promise not to hang out at my table when I'm done eating.  Of the fifteen times or so that I have attempted this, I have only been turned down 3 times and gotten 2 meals "on the house"!  Most of time, its the manager HIMSELF that keeps talking to me, asking me about my trip, etc.  A couple have actually sat there with me while I eat and just chat about my tour. 

Offline rjones35

Re: What to do with your stuff on days off??
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2011, 03:25:55 pm »
Ronnie421 - I like that idea!! And the free meals help too!