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-   Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-advisories-safety-security-road/)
-   -   How do you keep your bike safe? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-advisories-safety-security-road/how-do-you-keep-your-49751)

blunosr 18 Apr 2010 23:52

How do you keep your bike safe?
 
Hi, I was wondering how you keep your bike safe while travelling? When you stop at a restaurant, stop at a park/tourist attraction, etc.

What do you do with your bike when you stop for the night? Hotels vs camping?

I've done searches on this site to see what folks are doing, but only come up with finding a lockup for the night. Any other advice?

Thanks,

Troy

markharf 19 Apr 2010 01:03

Varying combinations of: tatty cover, battery-powered alarm, steering lock, disk lock, chain and padlock, ride bike up stairs into hotel lobby, remove baggage and ride directly into motel room, secure parking with guard carrying pistol-grip shotgun, insecure parking with absolutely nothing to stop four large men from tossing my bike in the back of a truck and leaving town while I sleep soundly.....and many more.

I try to leave the bike indoors or under guard, but basically take whatever I can get. Usually some sort of secure parking is available, but sometimes not. A cover helps. A chain helps if there's something to chain it to; thieves in most areas are not up to London/New York standards of operation.

All my baggage locks, so I usually leave it on the bike (after removing documents, netbook, camera, toothbrush, etc.), but I've parked in places where I literally ran all my hard cases (that would be five) and locking soft bags (that would be two) up multiple flights of stairs to my hotel room, so fearful was I it'd get stolen as soon as I turned my back. But I've noticed that the more I travel with the bike, the less I worry and fret; this also has something to do with having met people who don't even lock their panniers, plus one guy in Mexico who didn't even have lids for his cases, which were full of professional-grade video equipment.

Hope that helps.

Mark

Lisa Thomas 19 Apr 2010 05:27

everything ...and more
 
we do everything that markharf say's above.
we only use a hotel/gueshouse if we are happy with where the bikes will be. the proprietors usually ask.."would you like to see the room"...we say 'no' but we'd like to see where we can park the bikes! I often have sleepless nights, checking every hour or so if we are in a dodgy area.

camping for me is best.....as you can hear everything that goes on at night. during the day if we are unhappy with the security one of us will stay with all of our stuff whilst the other goes and does whatever job etc is needed. if there's just one of you, you just have to make sure that stuff is as secure in your tent as poss. we often use packsafes and then lock them together or/and lock to the front wheel of the bike under the material of the tent. not fail-safe but awkward if someone wants to take something, meaning the thief would have to stay (we hope) longer than he'd want in order to sort out all the chain links and locks.

when we are in a cafe/restaurant etc and our bikes are fully laden - its simple - we just dont park them anywhere where we cant see them. This is the time when they must always be in full view. if we cant see them - we don't go into the cafe and choose somewhere where we can!

we also carry a disc lock each and a chain. locking the bikes together nose to tail also works well.

this all seems to have worked for us so far as we have only had 3 items taken from us in the 7 years we have been on the road......fingers crossed it remains this way.

however, don't let this stop your enjoyment of traveling - not everyone is 'out to get you or your things'!

cheers

Deolali 19 Apr 2010 08:22

Disc lock with a bright yellow plastic wire coil up to the handlebars so I dont forget it is there and so its presence is obvious to anyone thinking of trying to steal the bike.

Usually when travelling overseas the bike is so filthy that no respectable thief would want to take it anyway!

We use a pacsafe to lock the helmets, jackets and boots to the bike when we are parked and sightseeing on foot.

If camping in a dodgy area I take the panniers off, put them on the ground and use the cable of the pacsafe to lock them to the bike. The whole thing is then so unwieldy that a potential thief would surely go and look for something easier to move.

If we are at a hotel that has a night porter or night receptionist and the bike is parked outside I make sure they know it belongs to me and ask them to kindly keep an eye on it during the night. Despite language problems they always seem to get the message and are generally very helpful. I think they are usually so bored they welcome something to do.

We have never had a problem anywhere (17 countries so far).

Cheers

John

pecha72 19 Apr 2010 08:35

I usually carry 2 exta locks: a sturdy disc-lock, and a relatively light cable-lock. A bike cover is also a surprisingly effective way to ´hide´ it from view.
But none of these will help, if a professional thief decides to come and take it, and if there´s a gang of them and they have a van, it´ll be gone in seconds. So in my view the # 1 thing will be deciding the place, where you´ll keep it in the nighttime.

Any place, where there are some obstacles, so it´ll be impossible (or time-consuming) to get a van just next to the bike, will help. Being out of sight from the road, in the backyard, for example, will also. Thieves basically hate to spend time stealing vehicles, because there´s a possibility they could be caught while doing it. So if yours is put in a place, where it will likely take some time to get it out of, then it is more likely they go and find an easier target.

Fortunately hotel and guesthouse owners & staff in many parts of the world understand your worry, and wont mind, if you first ask politely, and then push your beloved bike to a safer place. In more expensive places, it is also common to have a guarded parking.

I could be wrong, but I believe that most of the thieves will not be able to deal with the (good-quality) disc lock in a very short time, so wont be able to push it or ride it away. Lifting the bike into a van remains my biggest concern - any cable lock can be cut in the blink of an eye, and even those that could possibly resist for a few seconds, weigh too much for me. This is why I never leave the bike on the street for the night, if I can avoid it.

When leaving the bike in the daytime, to go walking to some sights, etc., I just use the disc lock, or both extra locks, and then just hope for the best. If there´s a ticket booth, I´ll try to park next to it.

With the disc lock, it´ll also be important to always make sure that you have taken it off, before you continue your trip, or you will have a quick and embarrassing stop!

Threewheelbonnie 19 Apr 2010 08:57

The biggest thing with security to me is deciding what the threat is. Some street kid in Morocco wants your GPS or helmet, not the the bike. People in Colombia or Southern Africa who want the bike just show you their gun and you give them it (not that many do). There just isn't the layer upon layer of scum ranging from liquid nitrogen equipped steal to order types down to druggies who'll just take what can be picked up with zero effort like you'd get in say London.

In London I use a huge chain to fasten the frame of the bike to the chain down points the councils provide, I leave nothing on it and never use the ignition lock (scum will screwdriver the ignition then set to work on the big chain which only a few will be able to break). Overnight the cover keeps idiots guessing.

In places like Morocco I simply carry away anything that might be useful like cameras and GPS and leave the bike secured with a disc lock that'll blow the minds of the sort of people who might fancy a quick ride round the block at your expense.

I always try and have one more level of security than the next blokes bike (sorry, it works). I don't do electronic alarms as these are the biggest single cause of vehicle breakdowns in the western world.

Andy

barkingbiker 19 Apr 2010 14:16

I'd agree with all of the above, especially that alarms are a no-no. You can however fit a fake flashing alarm led that'll only cost pence (e-bay) and may just deter someone.......

BB

markharf 19 Apr 2010 14:41

I use a battery-powered alarm (3xAAA), not one wired into the ignition in any way. Of course, its not loud enough to deter a real thief--but that's not the goal. In theory, I can put it in a jacket pocket or similar when I leave the jacket cabled to my bike, but in truth its main function is to help me relax when away from the bike.

Obviously, I'm nowhere near as fussy as some here. I often leave the bike out of sight for long or short periods, and I'm traveling alone anyway, which means there's no chance of one person to watch while one looks for hotels, buys food, negotiates borders, etc. But I haven't found that a real impediment, although note again that everything on my bike locks up and is at least slashproof. If I'm worried, I make friends with a shopkeeper, market woman, traffic cop, bank guard or whoever and ask them whether my bike will be safe parked directly in front of them. They always say yes, then take a proprietary interest. This can be done without benefit of language skills, just by lots of smiling, joking and gesticulating.

In about a solid year and a half on parts of five continents (over the course of several trips) all I've had go missing was a pair of shoes while I napped just ten feet away...and it's perfectly possible I merely forgot to bungy them into place properly before leaving. But now I lock my shoes away with all the rest.

Mark

MountaineerWV 20 Apr 2010 08:56

My number one protection is...theft insurance. That along with a cover and removing anything vital (documents, passport).

A determined thief is going to steal your bike. I'm not going suffer sleepless nights because I'm afraid it will be stolen. Hell, if it gets stolen I just get a new bike!

pecha72 20 Apr 2010 09:36

Yes, but do note that once you leave the nice comfort of your home, and go to some faraway places, your theft insurance may not be valid at all. In fact your European bike-insurance may not be valid in any way.

European insurances typically cover countries that are in the Green Card system, and if you go outside them, the vehicle will be 100% your own responsibility. There are also countries in the Green Card system, where your vehicle will not be covered in exactly the same way as it is, when you are at home.

There are companies, that offer insurance to many countries, but usually this means 3rd party (gives you cover that´s required by law, in case you crash into someone)... in my experience it is not easy to find anyone to cover your vehicle everywhere, and even if you found someone, that could be very expensive.

And insurance or not, your trip will most likely be ruined, if you lose your bike.

Not going to lose sleep over it, but I´m willing to give a little effort to keep my bike.

Scrabblebiker 21 Apr 2010 00:49

All the suggestions so far are great.

One more:

I carry a backpack full of camping gear on my passenger seat. Use your riding gear to form a "straightjacket" around a pack that's on the outside, then lock it to the bike with the chain/cable going through the jacket sleeves. Not Fort Knox, but it does make it more inconvenient for a thief. I haven't been able to find a small enough packsafe for my pack.

The only theft I've had so far on my Central America trip was not from my bike. A moment of inattention and the tank bag I had slipped into my helmet was gone while I was filling out customs forms at the Costa Rica border with Nicaragua. Horrible spot filled with tons of people and very pushy "helpers" who I had to "bark" at to leave me the bleep alone ...could have been one of them getting their "revenge" for all I know.

MountaineerWV 22 Apr 2010 16:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by pecha72 (Post 285870)
Yes, but do note that once you leave the nice comfort of your home, and go to some faraway places, your theft insurance may not be valid at all. In fact your European bike-insurance may not be valid in any way.

European insurances typically cover countries that are in the Green Card system, and if you go outside them, the vehicle will be 100% your own responsibility. There are also countries in the Green Card system, where your vehicle will not be covered in exactly the same way as it is, when you are at home.

There are companies, that offer insurance to many countries, but usually this means 3rd party (gives you cover that´s required by law, in case you crash into someone)... in my experience it is not easy to find anyone to cover your vehicle everywhere, and even if you found someone, that could be very expensive.

And insurance or not, your trip will most likely be ruined, if you lose your bike.

Not going to lose sleep over it, but I´m willing to give a little effort to keep my bike.

This go me thinking, so I went back to my policy to double check and called up my insurance company...

My comprehensive policy does cover theft, luckily. I specifically asked if theft was covered in every country and if any countries were excluded. I have in writing that every country is included. I also asked about parking/security concerns. They responded that unless I left the bike running with the key in the ignition on the street while I was asleep, it was covered.

pecha72 23 Apr 2010 07:45

Have you checked, what does "every country" mean in this context?

It means every Green Card-country - or it means every country on the planet, including every country in Asia, Middle East, Africa & the Americas? If it´s the latter, then I think you have a very, very rare and comprehensive policy, that´s for sure!

MountaineerWV 23 Apr 2010 08:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by pecha72 (Post 286297)
Have you checked, what does "every country" mean in this context?

It means every Green Card-country - or it means every country on the planet, including every country in Asia, Middle East, Africa & the Americas? If it´s the latter, then I think you have a very, very rare and comprehensive policy, that´s for sure!

Good point. I specifically asked about every country, but the agent may have been responding with the green card in mind.

markharf 23 Apr 2010 14:34

I've never heard of an "every country" policy, but that doesn't mean someone didn't make a mistake and guarantee you one in writing. I wouldn't bet my house on its viability, though. Even homeowner's policies which cover theft in all sorts of remote locations have exclusions which can start to look rather large when you're on the road in a place where the State Department/Foreign Office might have a few concerns.

Mark

(from Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil, where no one has any sort of worries at all)


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