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Solo Touring Lock?

BananaboyBananaboy Posts: 7
edited December 2009 in Tour & expedition
What type of bike lock do experienced solo touring cyclists recommend. I'd imagine there will be lots of time when you have to leave the loaded bike on it's own. I have a very strong Kryptonite shackle and cable lock but it's very heavy so unsuitable for taking on a tour. Any suggestions?

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  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    There's no ideal solution. I think there are three main options:

    - a gold-rated d-lock through the rear triangle onto a Sheffield stand (or something similar) is the most secure option. But Sheffield stands are pretty rare outside the UK. If you are stopping for lunch you can put the lock on the bike without attaching it to anything, for overnight storage you need to hunt around for something to lock the bike to, which may mean leaving it away from your tent. A d-lock is obviously heavy, but not impossible to carry;

    - a cable lock. More flexible ('scuse the pun) than a d-lock but less secure. The really light weight ones are better than nothing, but not by very much: they can be quickly broken with a screwdriver or cable cutters, so they offer some protection against a casual theft. Heavier duty cables offer more protection, but still vulnerable against someone with tools;

    - an alarmed cable lock (ie the alarm goes off if the cable is cut etc). these may be the best overall combination. I bought one on eBay that is relatively heavy-duty (which unfortunately also means heavy).

    I wouldn't particularly recommend it, but it is possible to live without a lock (and many people do) by taking basic precautions like sitting outside at restaurants/cafes (or sitting near a window), hiding the bike at night. Unfortunately that still leaves the problem of what to do with it at supermarkets.

    I've seen a number of discussions about bike theft on tour, but I think only once read someone talking about thieves targeting bikes at a campsite. I suspect that theft is likely to be more of a problem in urban areas.

    If you're tempted to rely on insurance check the small print - the chances are there's something requiring you to lock the bike to an immoveable object with an approved lock.
  • There is the option of trusting to fortune. :D

    It may feel to be counter-intuitive, but the watchword on my solo continental touring was unlocked 'Total-Abandonment'( ..alright, two words). That is, when wanting to foot it to see the sights, pad around town or enter a museum/gallery etc., just ..., leave it.

    In many a thousand miles over the years in Europe I've left it all fully loaded in many a corner, of many cities and towns and just trusted to luck. Similarly, in the few campsites I felt compelled to use. Nary a problem.

    Still, if insecurity troubles you, perhaps a simple, super thin wire-lock might be just as effective as a brutish Kryptonite thingy, or any of the other thief proof devices that all appear to be frighteningly weighty. Remember, you have to lug that thing around with you, on top of the surfeit of stuff that you overloaded with at the start of the trip. :oops:
    "Lick My Decals Off, Baby"
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,277
    mercsport wrote:
    There is the option of trusting to fortune. :D

    It may feel to be counter-intuitive, but the watchword on my solo continental touring was unlocked 'Total-Abandonment'( ..alright, two words). That is, when wanting to foot it to see the sights, pad around town or enter a museum/gallery etc., just ..., leave it.

    In many a thousand miles over the years in Europe I've left it all fully loaded in many a corner, of many cities and towns and just trusted to luck. Similarly, in the few campsites I felt compelled to use. Nary a problem.

    Still, if insecurity troubles you, perhaps a simple, super thin wire-lock might be just as effective as a brutish Kryptonite thingy, or any of the other thief proof devices that all appear to be frighteningly weighty. Remember, you have to lug that thing around with you, on top of the surfeit of stuff that you overloaded with at the start of the trip. :oops:

    Hmmmmm......

    Several years ago the German guy who toured the world on his bike, landed in Portsmouth, took his eyes off his bike and it was promptly stolen :evil: . Welcome to Britain. The Brits hate cyclists but are more than willing to nick your bike.

    And then there's this guy on CGOAB whose bike was stolen in Turkey when he momentarily turned his back on his bike to purchase a train ticket. He lost eveything except the clothes he stood in.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... 2k4#115505

    It's a tricky one to know what to carry as andym rightly says that often there may be little to lock your bike to. Plus the weight issue. Personally I carry a D-lock, but just one Abus Granit X-Plus as opposed to the usual two. So weight is still reduced.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    Besides a good lock you can also use this cheap alarm system that I use and works great http://www.bike-journeys.com/2008%20Maastricht%20to%20Santiago%20de%20Compostela/week_2/photos/w2d1p1.jpg
    I just hook up a black (unseen at night) paper clip to one of the spokes and connect it to a 120db purse alarm (+/-8 euros) with a fishing line.
    It works great. I made the mistake and forgot one morning (06:30) and kinda woke the camping :lol:
    But I sleep good at night.
    Maybe you can hook it up between pannier and spoke or under the saddle and spoke unseen somehow. If it goes off there is a good chance they'll leave the bike and run.
    I will be looking into that myself for our upcoming tour this summer.
  • PHcpPHcp Posts: 2,748
    I have my touring bike insured, it's the only way I'd feel comfortable leaving it while I go off sight seeing. A condition of that insurance is that it's locked with a Sold Secure Gold lock. When I bought this 4 years ago the lightest was a Squire Paramount Urban D lock at 970g, there might now be an Abus a bit lighter. When I consider my camping weight, the lock doesn't really make much difference.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    xilios wrote:
    It works great. I made the mistake and forgot one morning (06:30) and kinda woke the camping :lol:

    I was going to mention 'waking the whole campsite' as one of the disadvantages of alarms.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,277
    xilios wrote:
    Besides a good lock you can also use this cheap alarm system that I use and works great http://www.bike-journeys.com/2008%20Maastricht%20to%20Santiago%20de%20Compostela/week_2/photos/w2d1p1.jpg
    I just hook up a black (unseen at night) paper clip to one of the spokes and connect it to a 120db purse alarm (+/-8 euros) with a fishing line.
    It works great. I made the mistake and forgot one morning (06:30) and kinda woke the camping :lol:
    But I sleep good at night.
    Maybe you can hook it up between pannier and spoke or under the saddle and spoke unseen somehow. If it goes off there is a good chance they'll leave the bike and run.
    I will be looking into that myself for our upcoming tour this summer.

    Cool ......... Sounds a neat device. Can it deliver 240V as well?
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
    Need more than one lock..Nothing less than a U lock but then also small cheaper cable ones for the wheels just as a deferent cos bike bits,wheels saddles etc go also
    jc
  • blorgblorg Posts: 1,169
    I tend to use a VERY small, light lock and make sure the bike goes inside at night. So far, so good but must look into insurance.
  • StuwwStuww Posts: 203
    I just ordered one of these http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.23633 a Vibration Activated 120dB Anti-Theft Security Alarm with Remote Control Keychain.

    Someone reviewing further down the page mentions that they use it when leaving their bike outside their tent!

    I'll have the usual wait for delivery from Deal Extreme, but at that price it's worth a punt!

    Took a risk on this light from DX http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.30864 it is awesome, my back lane commutes in the dark have been turned to daylight! Cars flash me to dip my beam...

    Anyway I digress !

    Stu
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Personally I think a cable alarm is a better bet - so thieves have to actually cut through a cable or force the lock and you aren't relying on the alarm as the primary line of defence.

    If I were a thief stealing a bike with an alarm attached to it I'd be tempted to simply lob it as far away as possible - on the basis that people are likely to go in search of the source of the noise - while I snuck off with the bike in the opposite direction.

    A quick search on eBay suggests that there is a range of different locks available.
  • StuwwStuww Posts: 203
    I'd definitely use the vibration alarm in addition to a cable or u lock.

    If your asleep in your tent and someone moves your bike to try and cut your locks, at least you will be woken quickly.

    Hopefully this will give you time to tackle the miscreant and teach him the error of his ways!
    :twisted:

    Stu
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Stuww wrote:
    Hopefully this will give you time to tackle the miscreant and teach him the error of his ways!

    I'm not really the have-a-go-hero type. I suspect that by the time I'd worked out WTF that f***in noise was, extricated myself from my sleeping bag, and stumbled out of the tent, any thief would be long gone.
  • StuwwStuww Posts: 203
    I'd probably try Shock & Awe style tactics.

    Basically get out of my sleeping bag and chase after him stark bo**ock naked!

    Enough to scare anyone into letting go of my bike.

    I wonder if anyone's developed an electric shock based anti theft device!!

    Now there an idea!

    Stu
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