17 March 2011

Some Touring Rules

1. Roadside camp where the headlights of passing cars cannot reach you. Do this by choosing the high ground over lower. Never camp in a valley. The high side of a turn is excellent for camping and you can camp very close to the road discreetly. Sometimes your tent will be visible to truckers, due to the height of their headlights or from their cabs. Truckers are the more trustworthy men on the road and being seen by them should not be considered a serious breach of security.

2. Follow the Dennis Coello method of bungee cord “locking” your bike. Most thieves will try to hop on the bike and ride away. This stops such thievery instantly. (from Touring On Two Wheels, a classic of the literature)

"bungee cord lock"

2.a. Even if someone were to try to ride the bike without the bungee cord “lock” they would certainly have difficulty. A fully loaded bike is very different to handle. You should have time to run out from wherever you are and jump on them and beat them senseless.

2.b. When camping slip a bungee cord through the wheel and around one of the corner tent poles. You will feel or hear it if someone is trying to take the bike. The bike should also be visible through the window of your rain fly.

3. Bring your bike inside supermarkets whenever possible and speak with a security guard or cashier about watching it.

3.a. If you cannot bring your bike inside a supermarket or cafe lean it up against the glass so you can see it through the window. The aisles of the supermarket must be arranged so that walking down them you are able to see the bike.

3.b. If you cannot see the bike from inside do NOT go inside the supermarket, café or restaurant. Pay more for whatever you need somewhere else or go without it. Your bike is your life and should never leave your sight.

4. If someone tries to touch your bike without your permission you should curse them out loudly in your native language. Everyone on the street should hear it and your cursing should go on for far longer than might be expected, even if they do not understand what you are saying.

4.a. If someone should try to mount the bike you must use extreme violence against them. You must not hesitate on this point. Mounting the bike is attempted theft. The bicycle is your life. The Hell’s Angels are known to slaughter a man for simply touching their motorcycle. You must project this extreme violence and be prepared to act.

4.b. You do not allow anybody to sit on your bike and slip his feet into your pedals. Nobody. Not ever. Not even the prettiest girl.

5. Put your passport, credit card, currencies of countries you are not currently in, and the larger bills of the currency of the country you are in, inside the secret pocket of your pants. Do this when riding every day and not wearing your pants. Keep your pants with these valuables deep inside your pannier. Keep your driver’s license and the small bills and coins you use to purchase things for the next couple of days in your money belt. If robbed just give up the money belt. Your jeans containing your credit card, passport and larger bills remain deep inside your pannier. You will lose at most 2 days worth of food purchases and your driver’s license.

5.a. Expect that your netbook computer, camera, and cell phone will all be stolen from you, damaged or broken. It should surprise you pleasantly if these items survive a tour.

6. Choose a girl that you can sense is attracted to you to entrust with watching your bike. Old ladies who want to mother you can also be trustworthy. But be careful, when the mothering instinct wears off they will only be concerned with their own security and will cheat you out of whatever they can. Men are not to be trusted under any circumstances. There is no reason for a man to be of any assistance to you whatsoever. I have even heard of a scam whereby a man dressed as a road racing cyclist tricked an American girl in Colombia into letting him watch her bike. She watched him ride away on it and never saw the bike or the man again.

6.a. A smile and a brief conversation is usually sufficient to get the right person to look out for your bike--to speak up if someone approaches it-- for the few moments it is out of you sight. At campgrounds do this with the campers around you. Make it clear you are traveling alone.

6.b. Avoid hostels with dormitory rooms. You will be separated from your bike and your panniers can be easily taken. Do not trust locks, yours or someone else’s. All your gear is essential. The camera and computer, the most valuable items, are ironically the least essential.

7. The drive train side of your bike is most sensitive if you have a derailleur. Always lean your bike up with the drive train side facing a wall or railing to protect the derailleur.

7.a. Keep your valuables inside your drive train side panniers. Because the bike is leaned up against the wall it will be more difficult to access these two panniers containing your money, computer, camera, etc. The outside panniers should contain clothing on top, specifically a pair of dirty underwear.

8. Take things out of your panniers one pannier at a time. Replace items in a pannier before opening up another pannier.

8.a. Do not get in the habit of placing items on your back rack or on top of your tent and sleeping bag. It is easy to forget those items are there. Similar to putting something on the roof of your car, you risk driving off and losing it.

8.b. Only empty your panniers inside your tent. One pannier for each corner of the tent. Repack the panniers inside the tent when you plan to leave. Do not spread out the items from your panniers outside your tent. If everything is kept inside the tent it cannot be lost.


omegaforest said...

Started reading yr post from Day one and Really enjoy reading especially this post. Could be common sense to many but I am sure it all the experience that counts!have a safe journey!

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