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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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Gear on the bike.. security



I was doing a great job of convincing my GF about going on our 2 week holiday for the first time this summer on the bike around Europe.....

There's a problem.... she's too damn smart, a psychologist with a law degree... she's so damn objective, and sensible ( could just be a female thing but i didn't want to say that! )....she came up with something i hadn't thought of, about 8 minutes into the sales pitch....

" So if we're touring around with all our kit strapped to the bike. What happens if we get to a town and want to wander around etc, going into a supermarket. What about the gear? How do you keep that safe while the bike is unattended?"

I instantly replied " no problems" I said " You've got the lockable alu panniers and a roll bag on the back with a pacsafe over that, safe as houses"

(hhmmmmm....)

It certainly seems like potential ball ache, finding somewhere safe to park the bike for an hour or two every time you want to have a look on foot.

What are your experiences? Tips/Ways of dealing with this? It's no doubt something that most of you have dealt with.???
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Last edited by stevesawol; 10 Feb 2008 at 09:02.
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  #2  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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I've only once had my gear "interfered with" (!) and that was in England.

The general advice is park in the busiest part of town with lots of people walking/sitting near the bike, like a market square. Take anything that's really irreplaceable like your GPS, camera and money/passports etc and enjoy yourself. If you need to lock your helmets and jackets away consider the train station lockers (if they're wide enough). Have a meal/coffee in a cafe and ask the owner if you can leave your gear there. Remember most people are honest, most of the time.
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  #3  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
Have a meal/coffee in a cafe and ask the owner if you can leave your gear there.
Works every time. Just ask any shop owner, they are usually happy to keep your stuff for a short time.
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  #4  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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Put a cover over the bike!

It works so well, you wouldent belive it.

I am riding through central and south america now and everytime I get to places where I need to leave the bike (shopping, bordercrossings etc.) I just throw the cover over it.

Out of sight out of mind really works, and down here everyone notices your bike, but the minut you throw the cover over it looses its apperance and people ignore it.

Have a long steelwire cable (buy the components in a DIY) to lock jackets, helmets and other stuff underneats the cover.
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  #5  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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We travelled thousands of kilometers, over several months, in Europe and left the expensive/important stuff (computer, important papers, etc.) locked in the top box, the helmets locked inside Lidsafes from pacsafe, the GPS in my pocket and a halfcover over the bike. The waterproof bags with our sleeping pads, sleeping bags and tent were strapped on the panniers and topbox. We parked on streets in towns and cities and in lonely parking lots at some tourist trap out in the country. We never had a problem with theft. Maybe we were lucky, but we have found the Europeans, no matter what country, to be friendly and honest. The place we have worried the most is around other motorcyclists. They have more use for the items on our bike, most cagers don't. But it has been unwarranted worry (so far). We'll be back at it again this summer, and hoping for the best.
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  #6  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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If you do leave your stuff in a cafe, try to remember where it is so you can find it again. I tend to write it down now!
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  #7  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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When I am on the road, I NEVER leave my papers on the bike. Always have them on my body in a special wallet that I wear under my clothes

BTW, to find the cafe with your belongings back, or to find your parked bike back, put the location in your GPS as a point of interest (if you have a GPS that works if not on the bike, like a Tomtom or Zumo).
A long time ago, I spend some time searching where I parked my bike in London, Engeland.........
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  #8  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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Parqueros

Many cities have parqueros where you pay a fee and an attendent or attendents are on duty. The fee is relatively cheap for the peace of mind. If they are in a booth, insist on parking near the booth. "They" should sugguest this or I would go to another parquero. You could argue that the attendent may rip you off, but I've never had this happen. If you intend on using them again, a small tip to the attendent is not out of line. As you become more familiar with an area, you may find secure places to park by word of mouth. If I stay in a motel for example, there are many family owned motels (cheap to reasonably priced) throughout mexico and C.A. in which you drive through a gate into a courtyard and can park right in front of you room ( I've driven the bike right into the room on some occaisions and I'm sure other's have done the same thing). This gives you the peace of mind to walk around the city without worrying about the scoot. The family owned motels employ just that. The maids and staff are usually related and theft is an affront to their reputation. Then again, some may argue this point, but I've had good luck sticking with this program. Another sugguestion, if you are in any large city or urban area where there is a greater chance of getting ripped off, take the bike to the local dealership or motorcycle shop and have an oil change done. I left my bike in New York City at Manhattan BMW for 5 days getting the oil changed. This left me free to travel around the city without the worry of the bike getting ripped off (and I got an oil change out of it). They didn't have a problem with me doing that as I was upfront with them about it. Anyway, keep an eye on your stuff (it's a jungle out there). Smitty
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  #9  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkat View Post
The place we have worried the most is around other motorcyclists. They have more use for the items on our bike, most cagers don't. But it has been unwarranted worry (so far).
Most motorcyclist are in/have been in the same situation and so respect your gear. They don't respect your ideas and will look at the things and way things have been done on your bike ... at least I do

In europe .. I've had stuff stolen .. but it was near to the asian route .. and people travelling westwards were finding things expensive and so thought steeling some one eles goods to finance their trip would be OK. They stole a pair of shoes, a travel bag (gift from my mother) with some food in it. Would not have been worth much money. Oh and a helmut! I forgot that .. ended up with a cheap Greek one .. very unsafe hat that.
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  #10  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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I love the idea of leaving your bike at the dealers for security, priceless! If you needed to fly home for a week or go on a trip somewhere else off the bike. I'll have to remember that one. Thanks.
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  #11  
Old 11 Feb 2008
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I have always lean on the side of paranoia, be it bike touring or backpacking. On the bike, we use metal panniers and topbox and we never leave anything of value on the bike. When we stop we take all camera, passports..ect with us the helmets go in the topbox and jackets (if we are leaving them behind go in to a waterproof pacsafe StuffSafe 80 Secure Waterproof Pack Black, Pacsafe - Money Belts and Wallets @ Just Sport and Leisure UK
(not purchased from there just the first link that came up with a nice pic).
Bike usually gets a lock though it and to something else like telephone pole. And the alarm goes on.. (even though I think that in really out of the way places i will not do this after hearing Grant's story about the kids and his alarm..i'll let him tell it.) I have not had any issues (except in the uk, and that was me on a day trip and CHAVs, not real people, being well CHAVs). But i figure that paranoia is easier then dealing with re buying stuff..

As for the dealers.. not all of them can be trusted.. I droped my bike off with a satnav on it.. picked it up with no satnav (even the ram mount was gone..) but i had no proof so scratch a few £ there... so even at the dealer take the valuables with you...
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  #12  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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For travelling around europe we travel fairly light, but still with full luggage. This means we keep the topbox empty and use it for storing away the lids, GPS and other little things. It also means it's empty on the last haul back to the UK and we usually stop somewhere like Reims and pop a box of Champers in, so it's not wasted space...... Also tank bags make great manly handbags.

The only things we take with us on our "wanders" are money, passports and bike docs. I agree with the above, your more likely to have your bike tampered with in the UK.
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  #13  
Old 28 Feb 2008
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I've been traveling through Europe now for the past few months and here's what I've been doing. This has been through Germany, Belgium, France and Spain so far...



This is my bike loaded. The top black bag is my backpack with all important items in there. The grey bag is my clothing, toiletries etc. Whenever I enter a new city, I park my bike among the other bikes parked on the sidewalks and lock it up. I take my backpack with me and the rest is under my half cover, which covers the tank bag and rear duffel as well as my license plate. (NY plate I don't want to be a souvenir for some local) I have yet to have any issues. Oh and I have a Kryponite disk lock that also locks me to something nearby with my chain.

You will realize that every city, atleast the more southern ones are infested with bikes. No one will pay attention to yours.

In gas stations/markets or at rest stops, I leave everything in place. Never a problem. And smaller towns and villages crime is so seldom I rarely worry.

I highly suggest doing it. Taking my bike through Europe so far has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. The other day I was traveling down the A5 from Madrid to La Alberca, Spain and saw this wonderful little castle village. I swung off the highway, drove up to the castle wall and ate lunch with my feet swinging over the edge. Can't do that from a traincar.
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  #14  
Old 28 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by wile e View Post
I've been traveling through Europe now for the past few months and here's what I've been doing. This has been through Germany, Belgium, France and Spain so far...




.
I'm just slightly curious about touring Europe in winter: how have you found it to be, what sort of accommodation have you been using (camping??!) and how have you "liked" the lack of daylight hours - improving by the week now?

Cheers,
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Old 28 Feb 2008
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The Beemer blends in nicely with the wheelybins!
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