Technical > Luggage

Do I take a lock on a world tour??

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Sinnerman:
My assumption was YES, OF COURSE!!

However, I have since spoken to a few people that said they didn't take a lock because they didn't leave their bikes out EVER!!

Whilst I took on board the sense of keeping my new bike very secure - ideally in a locked room, I am still wondering what is the best solution.

Undoubtedly there will be times that I will want to jump off my bike to grab a bottle of water, roadside snack, ticket to somewhere or just to take a leak.  Surely I don't have to take my bike into the bathroom with me!  And what about camping?  I know there's less chance of theft in the sticks, but still, I think I'd want to lock my bike up, no?

Also, I am getting the Ortlieb roller plus bags.  Whilst I am not getting them for their anti-theft device capability, does anyone have any views on whether this is something they would use.  Does it work?

Perhaps being from Oxford, (arguably the bike theft capital of the world) has made me paranoid, but I'd love to NOT lose this bike.

As you can gather, I am new to world touring on a bicycle, so any advice would be greatfully received.

Thanks in advance

Tom

neil_p:

--- Quote from: Sinnerman on August 17, 2011, 07:48:32 AM ---My assumption was YES, OF COURSE!!

However, I have since spoken to a few people that said they didn't take a lock because they didn't leave their bikes out EVER!!

Whilst I took on board the sense of keeping my new bike very secure - ideally in a locked room, I am still wondering what is the best solution.

Undoubtedly there will be times that I will want to jump off my bike to grab a bottle of water, roadside snack, ticket to somewhere or just to take a leak.  Surely I don't have to take my bike into the bathroom with me!  And what about camping?  I know there's less chance of theft in the sticks, but still, I think I'd want to lock my bike up, no?

Also, I am getting the Ortlieb roller plus bags.  Whilst I am not getting them for their anti-theft device capability, does anyone have any views on whether this is something they would use.  Does it work?

Perhaps being from Oxford, (arguably the bike theft capital of the world) has made me paranoid, but I'd love to NOT lose this bike.

As you can gather, I am new to world touring on a bicycle, so any advice would be greatfully received.

Thanks in advance

Tom


--- End quote ---

Personal preference can vary of course... as can location.  I'll share with you my annecdotal evidence...

When I cycled LeJog (my first touring trip), I was utterly paranoid, so always locked the bike when in shops/garages, taking panniers in with me, etc etc. Now, 5 years older and more chilled, I realise that a lot of people in the UK would steer clear of a heavily laden bike, both in terms of the bike and it's luggage.  Plus, it is impossible to secure the entire bike whilst in a shop.  Nowadays, I would still lock the bike up whenever possible, take bar bag with valuables in, and leave it at that. I would always lock the bike into a shed etc overnight though, as vandals could wreck a trip, even if just through botched attempts to steal a component.

I think I would do the same as above for most westernised countries (Europe, Oz, USA, etc).  I can't speak for more remote countries... I imagine the same applies - take a lock for use when popping into shops, and take the bike into your room whenever possible overnight.  You always run the risk of inquisitive kids in Africa, India, etc stripping the bike for souvenirs... not sure how to avoid that!?!?

Something I have heard recommended is to leave bike in top gear when parked outside shops... that way any thief would have trouble getting away (at least until they managed to change gear).

Danneaux:
Hi Tom,

I find myself with much the same question.  (You have already found my query wondering how to best secure a SON28 dynohub under the Lighting section).

My big problem is I tour solo, so there is not another person to watch the bikes while the other goes into a grocery to restock and resupply.  In nearly all cases, I stealth camp, and the bike is laid on its side for minimal visibility behind the tent, which is low and green/grey/black and also behind at least a screen of brush.  Of course, I also tour largely in wilderness areas where theft is a minimal risk, but I don't like being surprised at night.  I take a Kryptonite Evolution U-lock to secure the frame/rear wheel and a small cable to secure the front wheel at present, and lock it whenever I am in or near civilization.  I am not happy with this solution.  The problem is, the loaded bike means the panniers place considerable standoff between the frame and most secure posts or bike racks at the rear.  I am thinking of going with a frame-mounted wheel ring-lock for the rear, and securing the front wheel/fork/frame to a secure post using the U-lock.  The small cable would then be used to secure the saddle rails to the ring-lock.  The trouble is, all this security hardware weighs a lot, and that adds considerably to the load.  Everything else I carry does at least double-duty; the locks only serve that one purpose.  I did add Ortlieb security cables to my front panniers, which always seemed more vulnerable to a quick snatch, sitting out there alone on the Thorn Low-Loader front racks.   The release handles for the rear bags are buried under the rack-top load, so would take a little longer for  a thief to snatch and grab.  On the rare occasions I do book a motel here in the States, I lock the bike in my room when I leave on foot to buy groceries and resupply.

I do always place a wedge (Blackburn Stop-Block from the early 1980s) in the front brake lever to hold the bike steady whenever it is stopped.  That helps.  Also flipping the shift levers to achieve a cross-chain effect for a thief starting out on the bike helps.  Another bike of mine is equipped with cantilever brakes.  On it, I have two front brake quick releases -- one on the straddle cable (Dia-Compe product, again from the early-1980s) and another on the headset-mounted cable hanger/adjustable stop.  They are adjusted in such a way that when I stop, I just flip a lever and the brake blocks firmly clamp the front rim.  Everything looks normal except the bike won't move.  This, with a lock, has made me feel a bit more secure on day rides when leaving the bike to enter a store. Sadly, this solution won't work with V-brakes.

America presents a different case than Europe.  When cycling through all of The Netherlands, Belgium, a corner of western Germany and part of Bretagne in 2008, I was with a partner for much of the time and I pulled guard duty while he shopped for groceries and supplies.  It gave me a lot of time to observe other cyclists' locking habits. I concluded Continental solutions wouldn't necessarily work here in the States largely because we have a great prevalence of pickup trucks.  It is simply too easy for a thief to stop and quickly hoist a bicycle locked only to itself into a pickup truck and be gone.  This is especially true in rural areas, where pickup trucks are the exclusive franchise of drunk, mischievous high-school kids on Saturday nights.

In the end, I may well go for a Pitlock to secure my Sherpa's rear wheel, and use the U-lock to secure the front wheel and frame to a post as the lightest, most wieldy solution.  The threadless headset is a new thing for me, and has greater vulnerability for theft than the older threaded/quill stem variety -- a 5mm allen key and three bolts are all a thief needs to remove the front wheel in the fork, then take things apart elsewhere at his leisure.  The main thing, I think, is to *always* lock the bike, and I do.  It is a good habit to develop and one I've never regretted.  Simply leaving the bike unlocked in any situation invites problemsa nd provides no theft deterrence at all.  It seems to me something  -- anything -- is always better than nothing.

Looking forward to others' solutions and approaches; great topic!

Best,

Dan.
Eugene, OR -- USA

Danneaux:
One further point in reply to your question, Tom...

Yes!  I *do* take my bike into the bathroom with me, whenever possible, and lock it inside if the facility will accommodate more than just myself.  The only time I had an item pilfered from the bike was when I was in the restroom and the bike was parked outside.  When one is occupied thusly, it is the equivalent of a million miles between you and the bike, and that's when it is most vulnerable because it is out of my sight and I cannot immediately dash out to reach it.  Thieves know this, and exploit the situation more than you would think; lots of car drivers lose items at highway rest stops here in the States.  Getting the bike past spring-loaded restroom doors is a challenge when alone, and hard on fenders if you don't get it right.  That's why one essential piece of touring gear for me is a small rubber wedge door-stop, carried in my handlebar bag, which also always, always, always goes with me whenever I leave the bike.  The HB bag carries my essentials -- wallet, cash, credit cards, passport, phone, meds, emergency contacts, etc. -- and is the one means I have to get home/out of a situation in case the worst happens and I lose everything else.

Best,

Dan.

JimK:

--- Quote from: Danneaux on August 18, 2011, 04:45:42 PM ---  The threadless headset is a new thing for me, and has greater vulnerability for theft than the older threaded/quill stem variety -- a 5mm allen key and three bolts are all a thief needs to remove the front wheel in the fork, then take things apart elsewhere at his leisure. 

--- End quote ---

Pitlock makes a locking top cap for the headset. You can get all the pitlocks with the same key so you only have to haul around one.

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