ASK: Locking Up

Any tips on what you do for a bike lock for a solo on road / off road long distance tour? I’m thinking mini Kryptonite U lock, plus 4 foot of cable. But it has a high weight penalty (just over 1.5 kg total I think). I initially thought of just a combination cable but there’s bound to be times when I need to leave it somewhere for a while in built up areas. Particularly on my own, I’m thinking it’s possibly a necessary evil. Any thoughts? Nick.

Compared to some people I’ve met, I’m pretty minimal when it comes to locking my bike on tour.

Generally, I’ll just carry a standard Kryptonite cable and separate padlock, which doubles for securing doors of cheap guesthouses, many of which use shonky padlocks. It wouldn’t do much to slow down a professional thief, but it’s something. The bike always comes with me into a motel or guesthouse, and I never leave my bike locked in a city where I can’t keep an eye on it. For the times when I have spent longer periods in US cities, I’ve managed to borrow something more secure.

For bikepacking, I’ll go even lighter. During my last trip to Ecuador and Peru, I shed at least 500g by replacing it with an even more minimal Abus wire cable lock. I’ve no illusions that it will delay even the most bumbling of professional of thieves… but it’s useful when I’m darting into a grocery store. If I’m camping, I’ll tie the bike to my tent – should anyone tries to grab it in the night, they’ll wake me up…

My other little trick is to fit a ‘handbrake’ – an adjustable cord around the front brake lever. It stops it rolling backwards and forwards when leant up against a wall, Plus, it would slow down an opportunist thief from hopping on my bike and pedalling away…

I know this kind of ‘security’ is not for everyone. If you’re happy to carry the extra heft, Abus’ Granite Futura Mini U Lock comes highly rated by friends in San Francisco, where bike crime is rife. Just 700g, and pretty compact for a bike lock that actually works…


Abus wire lock: it won’t delay a professional thief for more than a moment, but will at least immobilise a bike from the opportunist.


A bicycle handbrake is useful for securing your bike when packing up, and is another method to slow down a potential thief for a few valuable seconds.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.