Preventing theft on tour?

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Dave Knott, Apr 22, 2003.

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  1. Dave Knott

    Dave Knott Guest

    Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour? I'm
    planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    panniers being stolen.

    Obviously, one needs to be vigilant, but there are times when leaving the bike unattended is
    unavoidable (while using the bathroom or buying groceries, for instance). I'm considering taking a
    lock, but a U-lock is clearly too heavy. Maybe a padlock and cable?

    Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    later, dave
    --
    Dave Knott | Picks of the moment: Graduate Student | Comic: The Plastic Man Archives - Jack Cole
    University of B.C.| Book: Manufacturing Consent - E. Herman & N. Chomsky
    | Album: Under the Bushes Under the Stars - Guided by Voices
     
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  2. Dave Knott <[email protected]> writes:

    > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour? I'm
    > planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    > panniers being stolen.

    It really depends in which country you plan to ride, and even in which region of the country, for
    some of them.

    I have left my fully loaded bike, sometimes unlocked because of laziness, outside of supermarkets in
    France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and The Netherlands and never ever got
    anything stolen.

    My impression is that a fully loaded bike is not appealing to a bike thief, it's too hard to carry
    or even ride for someone with no experience. And the contents of my panniers never seemed to be of
    interest to anyone, even though it's easily accessible.

    I've read stories of stolen panniers from people doing very long trips (world tours mostly), though,
    so it happens. But I think it's mostly in countries where a tourist on a loaded bike is considered
    as a rich person. (I think Claude Marthaler, a world tourer, said something like "When I was in the
    US, people thought I was poor because all I had was my bike and the luggage it carried; When I was
    in South America, people thought I was rich for exactly the same reason".)

    Michel.
     
  3. Ed

    Ed Guest

    Dave Knott <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour? I'm
    > planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    > panniers being stolen.
    >
    > Obviously, one needs to be vigilant, but there are times when leaving the bike unattended is
    > unavoidable (while using the bathroom or buying groceries, for instance). I'm considering taking a
    > lock, but a U-lock is clearly too heavy. Maybe a padlock and cable?
    >
    > Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    >
    > later, dave

    The real important stuff (keys,wallet, etc.), I keep in my handlebar bag and take with me where ever
    I go. I managed to work out a system using a cable lock to secure my rear panniers. Try to find a
    fire/ police station near your shopping areas where you can leave your bike. If I find a rest room
    with a hadicapped stall, I take my bike and gear with me, more than enough room in the stall if its
    designed for a wheelchair. Why not take your bike in a supermarket? If they allow wheelchairs and
    baby carriages and strollers, bikes should be no different, especially if there is no sign stating
    you can't. Same for malls. I have found that in tourist areas, people traveling on tours buses make
    excellent bike "watchers" while you use the can. I use a cable and lock made by the same people who
    make "the Club" for cars. I also use a "U" lock. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Amh

    Amh Guest

    Dave Knott <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour? I'm
    > planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    > panniers being stolen.
    >
    > Obviously, one needs to be vigilant, but there are times when leaving the bike unattended is
    > unavoidable (while using the bathroom or buying groceries, for instance). I'm considering taking a
    > lock, but a U-lock is clearly too heavy. Maybe a padlock and cable?
    >
    > Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    >
    > later, dave

    HI Dave,

    I'm usually more worried when I'm away from the bike for a long while sightseeing rather than buying
    groceries.

    I've got a cable lock but I have seen more heavy duty locks in use on other's bikes. While a U-lock
    may be heavy think about how much trouble the theft of your entire bike will be. Always leave your
    bike where it will be visable to pedistrian traffic. Carry all your valuables (camera, wallet,
    computer, pump, etc.) in a bag when you leave your bike unattented. If someone wants to steal
    panniers then they'll steal them. I'd focus on making sure the bike stays put.

    my $0.02 Andy
     
  5. Dave Knott <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour? I'm
    > planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    > panniers being stolen.
    >
    > Obviously, one needs to be vigilant, but there are times when leaving the bike unattended is
    > unavoidable (while using the bathroom or buying groceries, for instance). I'm considering taking a
    > lock, but a U-lock is clearly too heavy. Maybe a padlock and cable?
    >
    > Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    >
    > later, dave

    I can tell you what I did. First, I carried a U-lock. My "loaded" tour bike was lighter than some
    but the U-lock is worth the weight. The simple cable is not. Most can be snipped with quality bolt
    cutters in a second.

    When I went into a supermarket I would lock the bike and remove the panniers and sleeping bag and
    place them in the shopping cart. It was a little bit of a hassle but not a big deal. In small
    convenience stores I would sometimes leave everything outside locked, sometimes bring it in with me,
    depending on the situation. At night I would lock the bike to whatever was available and have my
    panniers inside the tent.

    The time it takes to do this never was an issue. When on tour time seemed to not be too important.

    Enjoy your tour, Tom
     
  6. Dave Knott wrote:

    > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour?

    I remember your previous note. Touring the US west coast should be no problem.

    > I'm planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    > panniers being stolen.

    Keep your thing inside your tent at night. When you get to the campground, say hi to the
    other people in the hiker biker camp site. Go take a shower. Come back and have a beer with
    your new friends.

    (There are some campgrounds near San Francisco (just north and just south) which have warning signs
    about theft. Use your cable and extra vigilance there - or even better - pass them by.)

    > Obviously, one needs to be vigilant, but there are times when leaving the bike unattended is
    > unavoidable (while using the bathroom or buying groceries, for instance).

    Don't worry too much. I've traveled down the west coast twice - once "solo*" - and I never got
    concerned. You're usually in a small town environment. And once you see how the fully loaded bike
    feels, you won't worry about someone riding off with your bike. You'd most likely find them under
    your bike in the parking lot struggling to get up.

    (*solo touring the US west coast in summer is nearly impossible. You will meet fellow cyclists all
    along the way.)

    Use common sense for valuables - perhaps carry your camera with you - maybe string the cable through
    the wheels and frame.

    I always wear a compact fanny pack - sort of like a money belt - for all my valuables.

    If I'd had a lock, I would have felt - in most cases - like I was insulting locals by
    locking my bike.

    > I'm considering taking a lock, but a U-lock is clearly too heavy.

    I agree - - - absolutely.

    > Maybe a padlock and cable?

    Bring a cable lock (keep the weight down) to give you more peace of mind when you must take the time
    to buy groceries in a place that makes you nervous - or if you end up in a campground that seems to
    warrant it (very rare).

    You'll rarely be alone on the west coast tour. You will meet other cyclists. At grocery stops and
    such you will see other cyclists already there - probably people you have met.

    Leave the heavy lock at home.

    --
    **********************************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Tolerance is recognizing that other people
    have different ideals and needs than you. Compromise is acting on that knowledge.
    ***********************************************************
     
  7. Mike Euritt

    Mike Euritt Guest

    I have bought a product from "Alarm It" called "Lock Alarm" 800-765-8577. It is a cable lock, with
    different length options for the cables. The electronic are in a stainless steel box.. Run the cable
    through the bike and set the alarm. If the cable is cut, car alarm sounds.

    http://www.kiramek.com/english/products/alarmit/

    I bought mine at People Movers in Orange, California, the only place i've ever seen it.
     
  8. J Walen

    J Walen Guest

    > Dave Knott <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a
    long-distance
    > > cycling tour? I'm planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm
    worried
    > > about my bike or the contents of my panniers being stolen.
    > > > > dave
    >
    > HI Dave,
    >
    > I'm usually more worried when I'm away from the bike for a long while sightseeing rather than
    > buying groceries.
    >

    Agreed - although usually there's an official folk (guy at information booth, ranger at front gate,
    etc) who's more than happy to watch the bike for you. I've been invited to store my bike in many a
    staff storeroom, etc. simply by telling the worker "I'm riding from X to Y; is there a place I could
    safely put my bike while I visit your....?"

    I use lightweight cable lock, removable fanny pack for wallet/notebook/other valuables, panniers
    uinder tent rainfly at night, etc. Still seems to me, outside of big urban areas, that the greatest
    risk is from teen joy-riders rather than from thugs w/ bolt cutters & a van.

    J.W.
     
  9. Dave Knott

    Dave Knott Guest

    Dave Knott (that's me!) <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Does anyone have any advice for preventing theft while on a long-distance cycling tour? I'm
    > planning a long (solo) trip this summer and I'm worried about my bike or the contents of my
    > panniers being stolen.

    Hello again.

    Thanks for all the great comments and advice! Sorry I didn't respond sooner. Super-busy.

    After seeing what others have to say about the theft issue, and talking with a friend who has toured
    extensively, here's what I've decided to do:

    I absolutely must take a lock with me, but I still think that the U-lock is too heavy (taking it on
    a couple of warm-up rides, so we'll see...) But I definitely need a cable of some kind. This will
    allow me to lock up the frame and wheels (and even the panniers, for very short periods). So I'll
    probably end up buying a good cable lock. It's not the most secure, but should be good enough for
    my purposes.

    A friend of mine actually has a light, but voluminous backpack, that he can put all of his gear
    (panniers and all) into when off of the bike. This strikes me as overkill and exceedingly
    uncomfortable, so forget that.

    For valuables (keys, camera, wallet), I'll probably be getting a handlebar bag or something similar
    that I can easily carry around away from the bike.

    In camp, the bike is locked up, and panniers go into the tent. For groceries, dump the gear into the
    cart! For longer periods away from the bike (hiking, etc.), hopefully there'll be friendly park
    wardens, or security officers or something of that sort.

    Thanks again, everyone!

    later, dave
    --
    Dave Knott | Picks of the moment: Graduate Student | Comic: The Plastic Man Archives - Jack Cole
    University of B.C.| Book: Manufacturing Consent - E. Herman & N. Chomsky [email protected] | Album:
    Under the Bushes Under the Stars - Guided by Voices
     
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