Locking Up Your Bike – Bicycle Touring Professional

by touring-bicycle

I can’t inform you what number of occasions I’ve seen totally loaded touring bikes left at campsites, fully unguarded, not locked up… simply sitting there! Even worse is after I see a motorcycle with a lock round it, however the lock is thrown over a three-foot excessive publish – a publish that anybody might merely elevate the bike over and stroll away with the bike in a matter of seconds!

Immediately I need to speak about some methods to lock up your bike and your gear in order that your possessions don’t get stolen.

To start with, you want a very good lock. I like to recommend a keyed cable lock just like the one proven above.

There are two primary issues to search for when searching for a motorcycle lock. The primary and most necessary is that the cable is thick sufficient that it can’t simply be reduce. Prior to now I’ve emerged from the financial institution, publish workplace, and grocery retailer solely to seek out that there have been massive chucks of plastic reduce from my bike lock. Luckily, the bike and lock remained intact as a result of the cable itself was thick sufficient to face up to whoever occurred to be making an attempt to chop it free.

Secondly, you want a cable lock that’s lengthy sufficient to wrap round your bike, rear tire, and the article you are attempting to safe the bike to (i.e. a phone pole, picnic desk, tree, or bike rack). The longer the cable, the higher. However needless to say the longer your cable is, the extra weight you’re going to be carrying in your bike. My bike lock is lengthy sufficient to simply undergo the body of my bike, the rear tire and the article I’m locking my bike to. If I actually needed, I might run the lock via my entrance tire as properly – which could turn out to be useful if I had been in an particularly dodgy space.

One other necessary function you would possibly need to search for is the kind of key used within the lock. It’s greatest to purchase a lock that makes use of an actual metallic key. Some locks have a plastic trying sort of key that they use. I don’t like these as a result of I’ve had them break on me… and when that occurs, you’re screwed!

I additionally don’t like to make use of these big U-Locks as a result of they’re heavy, exhausting to pack in your panniers/trailer, and don’t offer you lots of attain when making an attempt to safe your bike to uncommon objects. U-Locks might be nice for different functions, however they’re removed from supreme on a bicycle tour.

As an alternative, listed here are a pair locks that look promising and I’d advocate you employ:

OnGuard Doberman 5028 Bicycle Coil Cable Lock

Grasp Lock 6-Foot Versatile Cable Keyed Lock

Now that you’ve got a lock, it’s essential know how you can lock up your bike. That is the actually necessary half!

Immediately I’m going to be discussing the 5 primary objects you may be locking you bike to: Poles, timber, picnic tables, bike racks, and nothing (that means you don’t have anything to lock you bike to).


If you’re going to lock your bike to a pole (i.e. avenue signal, phone pole, constructing help, and so on), make it possible for the pole is tall sufficient that the bike and lock can’t merely be lifted excessive of the pole. The pole needs to be at the very least 10 toes tall (or taller), as this may forestall any regular human from with the ability to elevate the bike to freedom. I’ll normally by no means lock my bike to a pole except it’s at the very least 20 toes tall, however that’s simply my very own paranoia attending to me I believe. It’s as much as you to resolve what’s going to be most secure.

Secondly, make it possible for the pole is definitely caught within the floor. Many cease indicators, streets indicators, and industrial poles are set within the floor, however might be simply lifted out of the earth and carried away. The very last thing you need to do is lock your bike to a pole like this, solely to come back again to you bike and discover that not solely is it gone, however so is the pole you had secured it to!

Lastly, be sure the pole is thick sufficient that it can’t be reduce, hammered, or bent misplaced. I as soon as talked to a bicyclist who had locked his bike to a PVC pipe that was protruding of an outdated shed, solely to return moments later and discover that his bike was gone and the PVC pipe had been smashed to bits.


Like locking your bike to a pole, make it possible for the tree you might be locking your bike to is tall sufficient that the bike and lock can’t merely be lifted excessive of the tree.

Additionally, make it possible for the tree itself is thick sufficient that it can’t be simply sawed, kicked, or hacked down. I’d in all probability by no means lock my bike to a tree that had a diameter of lower than 5 or 6 inches.

Additionally, make it possible for the tree can’t be simply uprooted. In contrast to metallic poles which can be most frequently submerged in concrete, timber are sometimes occasions present in moist soil and the tree itself can generally be pulled out of the bottom with a easy “heave-ho.”

Lastly, ensure you lock the bike across the trunk of the tree and never only a department or root. I hope I don’t need to inform you why this can be a necessity!


In case you’re tenting at a campground, metropolis park, or different out of doors area, it’s very probably that there’s a picnic desk in you neighborhood. In that case, this is a wonderful object to safe your bike to!

Just be sure you lock your bike across the heart of the bench, in an space the place the lock can’t be merely lifted over the sting of the desk. I’ve seen this error numerous occasions and it’s ruined many bicycle expeditions.

Secondly, be sure the desk itself is secured to the bottom. This isn’t a completely necessity, but it surely undoubtedly provides an additional layer of safety. That is particularly necessary if you’re touring alone, as a picnic desk and your connected bike can simply be moved my two or extra evildoers. You probably have two bikes connected to the desk, it’s unlikely a would-be thief would try to transfer the desk with two or extra bicycles locked to it.

Lastly, in the event you’ve obtained your bike locked to a picnic desk in a public park or campground, try to place your tent as near the bike as doable. This may will let you see or hear something that may be taking place to the bike throughout the night time. The nearer the bike is to you, the higher!


In case you’re making a cease at a financial institution, publish workplace, or grocery retailer, it’s probably you’ll discover a bike rack in entrance of the shop/enterprise. Be grateful that the shop has supplied you with a spot to lock up your bike, however don’t at all times assume you will need to lock up your bike there.

Many occasions I’ll refuse to lock my bike to a motorcycle rack… and listed here are some the reason why you would possibly make the identical choice:

To start with, many bike racks are small, light-weight metallic loops caught into the bottom with a single bolt. Some racks usually are not secured into the bottom in any respect… and these are the racks you need to keep away from! In case you can choose up the rack with two fingers, then it’s essential discover one other place to safe your bicycle. The very last thing you need is to lock you bike to a motorcycle rack and discover that the bike and the rack itself had been hauled away when you had been contained in the constructing.

Secondly, I’ve seen many bike racks made out of such skinny or rusted metallic that you might break the rack aside in a second in the event you occurred to have a hammer with you or had been merely robust sufficient to interrupt aside the metallic. By no means lock your bike to a severely rusted or broken rack.

As an alternative, you need to lock your bike to a rack that’s secured to the bottom (or constructing), that’s product of thick, impenetrable metallic, and that’s in a location the place folks passing by might see a possible thief tampering together with your bike. If the rack appears to be like good, use it to safe your bike and kit. You’ll want to again the bike in and safe each the body and rear tire to the rack. By no means lock your bike solely round your entrance tire – as that is the best a part of the bike to take away and later exchange.


There are numerous occasions when you may be unable to seek out one thing to lock you bike to. No posts, no timber, no bike racks – nothing! If you end up on this scenario, don’t quit and go away your bike open for potential thieves. As an alternative, here’s what I like to recommend.

In case you are going right into a retailer, try to discover one other bicyclist that you could workforce up with. Ask in the event you can lock your bike to his or her bike. By locking your bike to a different, you’ll forestall a would-be thief from merely selecting up your bike and driving off. With two bikes locked collectively, most thieves can be unable to select up and stroll away together with your belongings. There may be energy in numbers! The extra bikes you lock collectively, the higher!

In case you are in a campsite and there’s nothing to lock you bike to at night time, lock the bike round a number of of the poles in your tent. If somebody does tamper together with your bike at night time, your tent will begin to rock and the thief will both run away or you’ll awaken and be pressured to make the thief run for his life.

You probably have a remark or suggestion about how you can lock up your bike when on a bicycle tour, please use the feedback type under.


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