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Old 16 Dec 2013
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Bike & Equipment Security On The Road

I am planning my first long range solo bike trip around the USA and I am sure there will be times when I will need to leave the bike and gear unattended for an hour or so. Does anyone have any advice on how I might secure my equipment to prevent theft. How do you solve the problem? - or do I always have to take the gear with me when I leave the bike unattended.
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Don't take anything you cannot afford to loose ($, emotionally or otherwise).

Insure. You can replace everything other than photos, notes... make duplicates and post the copies home from time to time.

Take reasonable steps .. you don't want to spend half your time doing security things, most people are honest. One of the simplest and more effective things is a simple cheap cover, the cheaper the better, must cover the entire bike with luggage.
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Get some Pacsafe mesh and cables.

I have used those for years, in all my travels. I put our soft luggage inside the mesh, securing bags to the bike. I also like to use the cable to lock my jacket to the bike, passing the cable through a sleeve, and/or locking my helmet to the bike.

It won't s top professional thiefs but will definitely stop the litle opportunists! You can also use the Pacsafe mesh to secure your bag and possessions in hotels and campsites!

Pacsafe Anti-Theft Bags & Travel Security Products | Home Page

See below the yellow bag.

Again see bags in this picture.


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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Use a tank bag and keep the really important stuff in there and ALWAYS take it off when you leave the bike. One with a shoulder strap will allow you to easily carry it with you. Don't get too paranoid though, most people are honest.
1997 R1100GS, 1985 Laverda RGS, IBA 44014
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Originally Posted by reggie3cl View Post
Use a tank bag and keep the really important stuff in there and ALWAYS take it off when you leave the bike. One with a shoulder strap will allow you to easily carry it with you.
That's the biggie - keep the stuff that's really going to cause you a problem if it's lost in there - passports and other documents, bank cards, phones etc. I always keep it in front of me on the road as well, either in a tank bag or in a small rucksac on a front rack on the bike. That way I know it hasn't fallen off.

As far as the rest of the stuff is concerned, practical precautions like using steel mesh etc might help on the margins but just about everything I've had stolen over the years has happened despite precautions - for example, panniers and top box locks smashed and just about everything of value taken when parked in an expensive (Spanish) hotel's overnight walled and guarded compound. (the guard "saw nothing"), luggage left alone but bike battery stolen (Venice), gloves stolen in "ride by" (on a bicycle) theft while I was loading up outside the hotel in the morning (Laayoune, Morocco) etc.

On the other hand I've left bikes in some very dodgy (feeling) areas overnight etc and had nothing happen. Lots of hotels (outside Europe anyway) have insisted that I bring the bike into the hotel foyer rather than leave it outside. On one occasion I came down next morning to find the manager had one of his staff sleep underneath it for protection.

Moral of the story - take the essentials with you everywhere, take sensible precautions against opportunists with cable locks etc but essentially believe that most of the time nothing will happen.
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Where are you from?
I'll assume you're not from the US and already know this stuff.

Originally Posted by reggie3cl View Post
Don't get too paranoid though, most people are honest.
I'd agree with that.
And if you can, stick to 'small-town America'. It seems to be crime-free.
And just as interesting as big-city America.

About 10 years ago I did a 4-month bicycle tour around 'small-town', 100% camping, and had no problems at all leaving stuff on my bicycle for visits, lunch, tea stops or whatever.

It was brought home to me in a small town somewhere in Idaho or Utah. Spotting a camping-outfitters shop I thought I'd pop in for a browse.
My bicycle insurance said in event of theft they'd want to see a broken lock and some evidence it was locked to something solid. So I U-locked it to a lampost.
As I did so, a full-dress leather and chrome Harley pulled up outside a grocers across the road. The rider dismounted and disappeared inside, leaving his engine running.
This was a quiet place, hardly anyone on the street and no traffic. Not the sort of street where you'd think - 'there are enough people around, no one would try to steal anything'.

I sure felt an idiot chaining my bicycle up while this Harley stood in the road, unattended and engine running!

Further south in a small Utah town I bought a local newspaper. The big crime story that week, on the front page, was a football stolen overnight from a residential front-garden.
The sherriff had commented 'It might have been borrowed, if so, please return it'.

Definitely no need to get paranoid.....
TTR250 - London to Cape Town
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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I'm in the "don't be so paranoid" camp. I have often left things unattended, even in so-called dodgy places.

But I don't suggest doing that. It's a good idea to be vigilant. Thefts occur usually when you least expect it, oftentimes in places you wouldn't think it could happen.

More often, people simply lose things, usually because they're not properly attached to the bike.

Do you know what kind of bike you're taking? I've always felt that hard luggage is best, even if I rarely lock it up. When I leave my bike unattended, I take out anything that's irreplaceable (or expensive to replace) and put the tank bag inside a hard case. My helmet and jacket usually get left right on the seat. Sometimes I'll stow it under a bungee net so that at least it appears a little less stealable.

So... my advice is first to make sure you don't lose things. Then, make sure you don't make it easy for someone to simply walk off with something important. And then, don't worry about it.

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Old 23 Dec 2013
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Security ?

I find the Pac Safe security unnecessary and cumbersome for practical use.
For those items that cannot be replaced at the moment, CARGO PANTS, jackets with lots of pockets and a rain cover for the bike at night. The cover is also great for those moments in a rain storm when you cannot find an overhang, such as a car wash.
Do try to pack light enough so that all of your gear can be carried with you at once.
It took a few trips to qualm my fears of leaving my helmet on the bike at pit stops.
Security story: Having just spent the day crossing the Andes in Peru, I was exhausted as I finally found a hotel in Espinar. The Sierra Alta is a hotel that is quite narrow but five stories high in the town square. The hotel did not have security, so I told the manager to just leave it in front of the hotel. I did not think that the rental bike would be at risk in the busy square right in front of the hotel during the night.
At midnight, I get up to pee, looked out the window and the bike was gone. Oh !@#$%^! I race down the four floors and lo and behold, there, in the tiny foyer with only a few cm. to spare is my bike. How they got it inside???? My point is that people are mostly good and who wouldn't want to look out for a solitary pilgrim and all the more so on a bike?

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Old 23 Dec 2013
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Wrong Pic

less is more...
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equipment security, safety, theft

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