Three fully loaded touring bicycles leaning against a tree, a bench, and standing.

Choosing the Right Lock for your Touring Bicycle

Because Pam and I tour as a couple we always have one person to watch the bicycles while the other runs to the store or bathroom. However, if you want to leave your campsite and hike, or take a day trip somewhere else, a lock can do wonders to ease your mind. Last tour we brought a tiny portable lock on tour with us, which a pair of scissors probably could have cut through. We basically would just lock our bikes together to keep honest people honest. However, there were a few times I wished that I had brought a more substantial lock.

After some research I decided that a frame lock (which attaches to the rear triangle of the bike and stops the rear wheel from moving) is the ideal touring lock. While a frame lock alone is not going to prevent someone from picking up your bike, the fact that it is fully loaded and said person would have to carry 50+ pounds where ever they wanted to take the bike might be enough of a deterrent.

Another benefit of a frame lock is how easy it is to engage the lock, you simply partially twist the key while pushing down on the lock lever and the bike will not roll away. If a bit more security is needed a plug in chain or any cable with loops can be attached to a fixed object. But there isn’t any fiddling with getting a lock out of your bags and finding an appropriate place to attached it. The lock is always on your bike ready to go.

Additionally when the lock is engaged your rear wheel won’t turn. Since neither of us have kickstands, engaging the lock means we can lean the bike against anything we want and it will stay upright and not roll away.

If someone really wants to steal my bicycle they will; no lock can stop that. But this will give me peace of mind that someone can’t just ride away with my life, and it is so easy to use that it is unlikely for me to not lock the bike. It may even allow my wife and me to spend more time together (in case being on a tour wasn’t enough time together anyways).

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Matt Emerson

Matt has ridden over 5,000 miles bicycle touring around the United States, and countless of miles training and riding around town. When not riding he enjoys computers and working around house. Getting the most out of his time alive is one his major priorities.

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