Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
SarahRSmith
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Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby SarahRSmith » 6 Jun 2020, 3:31pm

Hi all

Husband and I are just starting to put plans together to do a 2 months cycle through France, transferring by bus to the Danube. I am planning on taking it really easy, topping wherever I feel like stopping. However, if we have all our gear on our bikes I'm concerned about safety if I want to stop and visit a castle/museum. Not sure I'd be comfortable locking our bikes and just leaving all our kit unattended even though Europe is preety safe. What do cyclists do in this situation? Perhaps we should consider some form of assistance for our gear?

Thanks
Sarah :D

RobinS
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby RobinS » 7 Jun 2020, 11:32am

We tour in Europe for months at a time with full camping load. We have security cables for locking the bikes, and if we feel the need we have a long thin cable for securing the panniers as well, though this would be very easily cut. In general we make an assessment of each location - some places we never leave bikes unattended, but most places are fine - how many people at a tourist attraction want to steal a pannier full of dirty clothing! Also remember France is much more cyclist friendly than the UK - if you ask many places will find somewhere safe for your loaded bikes - in Avignon for example one of the many outdoor restaurants got our business by offering to take our loaded bikes indoors and store them by the kitchen while we ate on the terrace.

Tom_B
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby Tom_B » 7 Jun 2020, 12:09pm

What RobinS says. In rural and small-town France, I was never concerned. sightseeing at larger places, I would either ask at a cafe etc or leave large bags at a campsite and ride light to the attractions.

PH
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby PH » 7 Jun 2020, 12:18pm

I don't like leaving my kit on the bike for very long wherever I am. Regardless of value it would be a huge inconvenience to lose everything I carried, more so than losing the bike. It unlikely that someone is going to stand next to your bike looking to see if they're anything in your panniers worth stealing, they're more likely to take the lot to go through it elsewhere. There's several websites that find you places in large towns and cities that locate businesses that will store your baggage for a fee. I've used four and they've allowed me to explore a city without carting all the kit around, it's convenient as well as secure. Or I'll just make those places of interest close to the nights stop, either staying an extra night or arriving early/leaving late. My touring does seem to fall into two distinct types, either where it's all about the cycling and I don't do much sightseeing off the bike, or where it's all about the sightseeing and the bike is the most convenient mode to travel. For the latter I'll often spend more than one night at each stop, riding out to places of interest from there.

Jdsk
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby Jdsk » 7 Jun 2020, 12:21pm

What RobinS says, except for the additional cable for panniers.

Plus cameras, wallets, documents, keys etc are in the handlebar bags which come with us all of the time.

Jonathan

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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby Cyril Haearn » 7 Jun 2020, 12:24pm

With two or more people it might be best if someone stays with the bikes
Not everyone is interested in musees :wink:

I sort of like the idea of getting robbed at the end of the trip, the tealeaf opens the bags.. to find them full of soiled underwear
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simonineaston
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby simonineaston » 7 Jun 2020, 12:36pm

With respect, I think it naive to assume that rural France - or anywhere else for that matter - is devoid of petty criminals. Leave your loaded bike locked up in public places and in plain sight and you are taking a risk. It's all about minimizing that risk. In the past, I've employed various tactics to reduce risk when touring in said rural France, like:
* If planning to visit a museum or church, say, while in the town where I've overnighted, I might consider visiting while my bike is still safely locked up where I stayed (having checked first with the host)
* If visiting midday, see if you can spot anywhere you can shut the bikes away, out of sight, while you visit - many French town houses have court-yards. Invest in a coffee or two in a suitable nearby cafe and get chatting ;-)
* If you must leave the bikes locked up, make sure they're in a busy place with lots of onlookers and consider covering them with a tied down tarp.
* always take the high-value, highly portable stuff with you (obs.). Ideally you might take all the luggage with you but that commits you to a) finding a safe place for it or b) lugging it around all morning... Attach the stay-on-the-bike luggage with a cable lock. No deterrance at all to a pro, but will put off the grab-and-run type.
* minimise the risk by returning to the bikes as soon as you can. Insurance is unlikely to be much help - who's going to pay out when it's revealed that you left items unattended and in public view?
On the day, you'll find yourself doing exactly what you're anxious about and will come back every time to find both bikes and all your gear still there... :D
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Jon Lucas
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby Jon Lucas » 7 Jun 2020, 12:52pm

I've cycled in France many times and have never been that worried about leaving all my belongings on the bike, though it would be sensible to follow simonineaston's suggestions whenever possible. I did once visit one of the famous caves in the mid south, which had a visitor centre, and locked the bike up outside to itself (there wasn't anything to lock the bike to). I was down there for an hour, and when I came out my bike had gone. I had a quick panic, and then the visitor centre manager came over and said he had moved my bike to a safer place where he could keep an eye on it. It must have been heavy for him to move, as all 4 panniers were loaded.

Thehairs1970
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby Thehairs1970 » 7 Jun 2020, 1:35pm

It's interesting how people worry about their kit on the bike but will happily leave it in a tent at a campsitefor the day.

We have a teenager who doesn't like shops etc so will happily stay with the bikes, particularly if we feed him coffee or coke. At other times, we lock the bikes. As said above, people are likely to take the bike, not just the luggage, so secure the bike well. Handlebar bag then comes off with valuables. We have sometimes arranged the bikes and panniers so that all of them are inside the group rather than outside.

My tendency is to trust that most people are honest. It's not naive, it's true. However, in certain areas, I would play it a bit safer.

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mjr
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby mjr » 7 Jun 2020, 2:22pm

Thehairs1970 wrote:It's interesting how people worry about their kit on the bike but will happily leave it in a tent at a campsitefor the day.

People can't see no-one's in a tent, plus a thief playing "tent lottery" and checking lots on a site is much more likely to attract attention than one pulling panniers from a racked bike.

So far on tour, one of our group has stayed with the bikes while others look around, sometimes swapping halfway through the time, or the bags have been left at the accommodation. A benefit of group touring.
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PH
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby PH » 7 Jun 2020, 5:29pm

Thehairs1970 wrote:It's interesting how people worry about their kit on the bike but will happily leave it in a tent at a campsitefor the day.

I've had a tent gone through at a campsite and a few things taken, powerbank, headphones, torch and Ti mug. I was particularly annoyed about the headphones as I'd intended to take them with me. I bought a replacement powerbank and managed the rest of the tour fine without the other stuff.
The point is, it's unlikely someone will come to a campsite and pinch everything, but they would take your panniers, not because they want the contents, but because they want to go through them.

st599_uk
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby st599_uk » 7 Jun 2020, 7:59pm

In Germany, a lot of stations have relatively cheap luggage lockers, hundreds in a big station.

Does France have similar? (Haven't been for years). I'm pretty sure other countries on the Donau do.
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simonineaston
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby simonineaston » 7 Jun 2020, 9:04pm

a lot of stations have relatively cheap luggage lockers
That's not a bad idea, plus the restaurant at French railway stations always used to be fairly good bet for a good-quality inexpensive meal, although I haven't done that for a decade...
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

50sbiker
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby 50sbiker » 8 Jun 2020, 9:38am

I think I would be leaving my stuff at a hotel or somewhere to visit the museum, or give it a miss...As said,even if you take valuables with you,it is a huge inconvenience to have panniers full of stuff nicked...

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simonineaston
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Re: Bike touring- What to do with bike at museum

Postby simonineaston » 8 Jun 2020, 10:38am

It's a hard one to call, isn't it? Part of the experience is to visit as many museums, wine / cheese makers, restaurants & cafes etc.etc. as one can cram in (or at least as many as the wallet allows!). At the same time, the threat of loss of all kit - or even just all luggage - stands to turn the trip into a mini-nightmare... I've walked that plank now & then - spent too much time, trying to find a suitable hidding place for my bike and my kit, getting increasingly hot and frustrated the while... only to give up, lock the bl****y thing to the railings in the town square, only to return one meal later & Bingo! - everthing still in its place. Almost makes you want to take the dog with you!
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)