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Single Track Mind
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I do a fair amount of road tripping, some of it solo. I'm from Norcal, but travel all about and I don't ever feel good about leaving my bike to even go into a gas station unless I have direct line of vision with it. I even take my bike into the bathroom with me!

A couple things I have learned:
  1. Cable locks are garbage and never to be trusted.
  2. While heavy chains and u-locks are a slight annoyance to thieves, they only buy you like 2 minutes.
    1. but the more of them you use, the more annoying you are to thieves and hopefully they will look for an easier mark.
  3. If an establishment doesn't allow my bike they don't get my money.
    1. this includes grocery stores, restaurants, casinos, hotels, etc. I don't ask permission, I just go about my business and almost never get accosted. It happened in a grocery store once. I had a basket full of food and was walking to the register. Some old guy told me my bike couldn't be in the store and I would have to leave. When I told him I was on my way to pay he said I could pay when I took my bike outside. I set the basket on the floor and left.
    2. This year, I will take advantage of mobile shopping when available.
  4. Even when at a Brewery or something similar, I always leave my bike in the highest gear.
    1. I saw a guy try to snatch and grab a bike once, but when he tried to jump on and pedal, the gear was too hard to push and the owner was on him quick.
This is all I can think of for now. Understand that all locks are just deterrents to keep honest people honest; they will not stop a determined/professional thief. You really just have to be vigilant.
 

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Good tip about leaving it in a high gear. Also a good comment about general risks. I live in Santa Cruz, lots of bike theft, and travel with our bikes all over the West, hitch rack or pickup bed. Usually have at least a “deterrent” lock to keep someone without tools from grab’n’go. But I’ve never had a bike stolen since my Schwinn got taken 40 years ago, and I have been rear-ended twice much more recently, which would have been pretty bad with a loaded hitch rack. So use care but don’t be paranoid.
 

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A member of my local mt. bike club had 3 bikes stolen from his hitch rack in '18 in Moab, 3 separate cable locks, left on vehicle overnight in hotel parking lot. Costly error. The Moab police recovered one and he got it back. NEVER trust when out of your sight for a longer period.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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I’ve never had a bike stolen since my Schwinn got taken 40 years ago, and I have been rear-ended twice much more recently, which would have been pretty bad with a loaded hitch rack. So use care but don’t be paranoid.
I witnessed one of these scenes a few years back. in milliseconds, $40,000 in bikes were destined for the recycle bin...
 

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I do a fair amount of road tripping, some of it solo. I'm from Norcal, but travel all about and I don't ever feel good about leaving my bike to even go into a gas station unless I have direct line of vision with it. I even take my bike into the bathroom with me!

A couple things I have learned:
  1. Cable locks are garbage and never to be trusted.
  2. While heavy chains and u-locks are a slight annoyance to thieves, they only buy you like 2 minutes but the more of them you use, the more annoying you are to thieves and hopefully they will look for an easier mark
This is all I can think of for now. Understand that all locks are just deterrents to keep honest people honest; they will not stop a determined/professional thief. You really just have to be vigilant.
I agree strongly with 1 and 2.

For short stops, I use an Abus 6ks chain and disk lock. Reasonably light and fast, you need a 24” or larger bolt cutter to break it and the lock.

For longer stops, including overnight in emergencies, an Abus 10ks chain and 92w/65 lock and a Pewag high security chain and second 92w/65. These can only be cut with at least a 48" or larger bolt cutter leveraged against the ground (why keeping your chains where they cannot be put on the ground or other strong leverage point is important). I loop the chains through my trailer hitch.

You can get larger hardened chains and locks (such as the 14ks) but they are not worth is. As p0is0n0ak has pointed out they are just deterrents. The goal is to make it be hard enough and high enough risk, the thief goes elsewhere. Even high security chains and locks can be cut with a torch or grinder in less than 2 minutes each, sometimes under a minute. By using two chains and locks, you lengthen the exposure time for the thief using a loud tool.

Whatever you do, don't rely on those crappy cables for anything. They are worthless. Get a 6ks and disk lock for short stops, it goes on just as fast and offers far more security.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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Truth be told, locks etc. only keep the honest out...

Don't lead 'em to temptation but deliver 'em from evil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Thanks everyone. We'll be stopping at small random towns between SF and Portland. Nights aren't a problem, as some of you have said, I would just bring my bike inside with me wherever I'm staying.

My wife and I are traveling with a baby. Stops for hikes, lunch, whatever can happen. I think I'll just leave my bike at home and rent for the days I want to ride. I don't want to attract any unwanted attention to my family, risk my bike, or even just ruin my vacation by worrying about my bike in every town we stop in.

Plus, I get to support a few bike shops along the way, everyone wins :)
 
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