The Chainlink

Maybe this is just me and my jaded city ways, but how do people lock up their belongings on a tour?  I'm used to locking my frame, wheels, and stripping the lights/computer whenever I lock up in the city.  That, and unloading and carrying around panniers full of clothes while stopped for lunch seems next to impossible.  

I'm planning to do Chicago-Muskegon-Milwaukee-Chicago sometime sooner than later and will probably go the motel route rather than camping.

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Cables locks in general. When you are away from metro areas, criminal aren't prepared to take bikes. Crime rates are a good bit lower also for the lack of a populace for those crimes to happen to.
That is a good question. On the past tours I've done, I've taken my regular U-lock+cable extension, but since there was often no good skinny pole to fix the u-lock around, I've ended up securing my bike with just the cable and using the u-lock as a padlock for the cable. Next tour I think I will leave the heavy u-lock at home and take a cable lock.

The people in small-town America are good people, I've even sometimes left my bike unlocked outside the store for brief periods(!). For lunch, get a window seat and lock your bike in view.
It is a really good question and one I've thought about often while preparing for a tour. Since you're trying to travel as light as possible, the thought of a heavy u-lock does not sound nice. I do think it depends on your situation though - what types of places you'll be staying at and stopping by. In the smaller country towns of say WI and MI, I have no problem leaving my unlocked bike, fully loaded, in front of the general store while I stop in. And when I'm not sure, I usually rationalize that no one in their right mind would even think of, let alone know how to deal with, stealing a bike that looks like I have every belonging I own strapped to it!

However, on my last trip for example, we stayed in Grand Rapids for a night and rode our stripped down bikes to (the most excellent I'll add!) Founders brewery and it was nice to have a u-bolt to lock our bikes. We always at least cable lock our frames overnight at camp sites, don't lock anything while stopping in smaller towns, but when in larger cities always take the same precautions as in Chicago. It's kinda a very situational call but I will say that it's always nice to not worry that your bike is not going to get stolen, especially while on tour! So the extra couple lbs may be worth the peace of mind.
I don't see myself ever not locking the frame and wheels with a cable and ulock in the standard Chicago mode. It might be my Chicago cynacism, but I'd rather carry a few extra pounds than be stranded without a bike.

I was mostly concerned about the panniers. I might get a little seat cable and mini padlock just to feel safe. It sounds like people don't steal panniers or their contents. It would suck losing my clothes and stuff, but realistically, my wardrobe sucks and can't be appealing to anyone. Replacing some old clothes and inexpensive panniers isn't the end of the world I guess.

To Annette: Founders is freaking awesome. Michigan is awesome for beer. Founders, Bells, Dark Horse, Kuhnhenn, New Holland, and many more. Now that I think about this. Screw my family, I want to do a beer tour!
Don't get me started on the state of Michigan's beer! Got a great sampling at the Michigan Beer fest in Ypsilanti! Favorites: Dark Horse, Founders, Blue Tractor, Right Brain, Jolly Pumpkin. Went totally overboard with paraphernalia: tshirts, pints glasses, stickers and of course, beer! And working your way east through the lower peninsula, the breweries fall oh so convienently 25-50 miles apart oftentimes. Lunch at Arcadia-dinner at Dark Horse... :)

Joel said:
I don't see myself ever not locking the frame and wheels with a cable and ulock in the standard Chicago mode. It might be my Chicago cynacism, but I'd rather carry a few extra pounds than be stranded without a bike.

I was mostly concerned about the panniers. I might get a little seat cable and mini padlock just to feel safe. It sounds like people don't steal panniers or their contents. It would suck losing my clothes and stuff, but realistically, my wardrobe sucks and can't be appealing to anyone. Replacing some old clothes and inexpensive panniers isn't the end of the world I guess.

To Annette: Founders is freaking awesome. Michigan is awesome for beer. Founders, Bells, Dark Horse, Kuhnhenn, New Holland, and many more. Now that I think about this. Screw my family, I want to do a beer tour!
Went up to Illinois State Beach Park last weekend for Friday and Saturday night.  I got up there and found out that I'd left my keys at home (OOPS!), so the first night I took off my front wheel and wedged it under the picnic table, second night I just left my bike leaning against the table.  No one messed with it either night.

I've always just run the guy wires of the tent through the frame or one of the wheels when camping.

Depending on distance and terrain, and whether you're likely to pass through any urban areas, the weight and bulk of a U-lock is sometimes better foregone.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:

Went up to Illinois State Beach Park last weekend for Friday and Saturday night.  I got up there and found out that I'd left my keys at home (OOPS!), so the first night I took off my front wheel and wedged it under the picnic table, second night I just left my bike leaning against the table.  No one messed with it either night.
I like that method.  Thanks for the advice Howard.

H3N3 said:

I've always just run the guy wires of the tent through the frame or one of the wheels when camping.

Depending on distance and terrain, and whether you're likely to pass through any urban areas, the weight and bulk of a U-lock is sometimes better foregone.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:

Went up to Illinois State Beach Park last weekend for Friday and Saturday night.  I got up there and found out that I'd left my keys at home (OOPS!), so the first night I took off my front wheel and wedged it under the picnic table, second night I just left my bike leaning against the table.  No one messed with it either night.

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