safe places to park bike in cities?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
roseml
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 May 2013, 8:36am

safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby roseml » 24 May 2013, 8:39am

When cycle touring, what are some safe places to park your bike in cities? Many cities seem to be full of kleptomaniacs that will steal anything not bolted down. I'm mainly talking about everything attached to my bike that can be taken like baggage. I tend to camp in forests outside cities so hotels are not really an option. But sometimes I just really want to explore on foot in cities where I don't know anyone else.

Sometimes I'm also a bit concerned that the local government won't take very kindly to me locking my bike to street lights or railings.

So, what do you guys think are generally the best and safest places to leave your bike with your travel rig for the day? I'm talking about western cities; North America and Europe.

Grumpyoldbiker
Posts: 74
Joined: 14 Jun 2007, 6:54pm

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Grumpyoldbiker » 24 May 2013, 10:13am

Hi Roseml

I only have limited experience of this but the best option is to stay in bike friendly accommodation and leave it in the place you are staying if they have room.

Failing that, some cities like London have dedicated secure bike parking, which comes at a cost.

One cheeky option is to go on the forum of the local cycling organisation in the city you are visiting and ask if anyone can store your bike. I have seen cyclists offer this to other cyclists without being asked.

I hope this helps.

Peter

User avatar
Colin63
Posts: 1075
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 9:46am
Location: Lancaster

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Colin63 » 24 May 2013, 10:25am

An initial thought is that it may be worth going to the local railway station to see if they have the large lockable bike storage boxes. Lancaster has them on the platform with easy access, but I don't know how widespread they are.

iviehoff
Posts: 2411
Joined: 20 Jan 2009, 4:38pm

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby iviehoff » 24 May 2013, 11:06am

A difficulty you may have is that in cities unattended luggage is often seen as a security risk, so you can't park up a bicycle with luggage attached, the police will be along to make a controlled explosion. This is especially true at transport infrastructure. But if you can find bike lockers, maybe you can get away with it, though it seems like a major security risk if you can.

If you are trying to store luggage securely, I think you have to take the luggage to an official luggage store, such as at a major railway station, have it X-rayed, and then stored. Since they tend to charge by the item, if you have lots of small panniers, may be useful to have a light kit-bag to stash them all in together to keep the cost down. Then just lock your bicycle to the places people lock bicycles to, for which you will need D-lock quality locking device or similar if in cities. Certainly in London there are plenty of nice bikes locked up un the street, so so long as you used a quality lock (such that bolt snippers won't do for it) you'll be OK for a few hours. For London, I think I once read that if you went in the back entrance of the British Museum, they store luggage more cheaply than railway stations, but don't blame me if this isn't true any more.

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 10235
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby horizon » 24 May 2013, 11:21am

Campsites would be top of the list for me if you are camping anyway. The cost is low, you can leave the tent set up, you take your basic valuables with you (camera, wallet etc) and you can leave the bike locked up at the campsite. A quiet word to the owner or neighbouring campers will also help.

Apart from that I would play it site by site: you leave you bike plus panniers in full sight at each cafe/museum/gallery/shop etc, lock it and ask someone to keep an eye. Much of exploring a city is best done on a bike and you may not need to leave it that often. I haven't felt this to be a risk in the past. ( I remember a burly fully armed security officer watching my bike in Madrid - nobody tried it on :D ).
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Dudley Manlove
Posts: 249
Joined: 18 Jun 2009, 10:41am

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Dudley Manlove » 24 May 2013, 1:48pm

I try to stop in hostels in big cities, so can dump the bike there and go about on foot. I probably would not leave my tourer locked up with the battered commuter bikes outside a station - these are hotspots for bikes to get nicked. The campsite would be the other option - if you've packed and checked out I'm sure they'll have somewhere to put it for the day. Suppose the bottome line is, if I really want to explore a city on foot, I'll stay there the night.

jennings42
Posts: 3
Joined: 8 Jun 2013, 3:34pm

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby jennings42 » 18 Jun 2013, 12:59am

Parking your bike in cities with all your panniers on? Really, believe me, you do not want to take any chances with this since the potential to have your tour wrecked is there as soon as the bike is out of your sight.

If you really want to stop in any city centres find somewhere to stay, such as a hostel or campsite, and leave your gear there. Better to do your touring in civilised areas away from cities where the risk of theft is minimal. If there's a particular place in a city you want to visit, such as a museum, you can always ask if you can put your bike inside or in view of security guards, but if you have any doubts about this don't ignore them.

To answer another point you made, I remember in Vienna you can in theory get fined for locking your bike to signposts, or parking it on a narrow pavement, but I never heard of this happening in practice.

MarkF
Posts: 436
Joined: 4 Apr 2011, 10:20am

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby MarkF » 18 Jun 2013, 8:04am

I've ridden across France, then across Spain, every day I'd lock my bike up, usually to a street post or railing (outside mini-markets is a good place) with full panniers attached and go sightseeing/walking. I've done this in small towns and big cities and never worry, I regard the risk as extremely small and it could happen at home. I've not had one thing stolen, even after being left several times unattended in BCN. Of course, anything of importance I take with me, which is just my money, phone & passport.

Dudley Manlove
Posts: 249
Joined: 18 Jun 2009, 10:41am

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Dudley Manlove » 18 Jun 2013, 9:41am

MarkF wrote:I've ridden across France, then across Spain, every day I'd lock my bike up, usually to a street post or railing (outside mini-markets is a good place) with full panniers attached and go sightseeing/walking. I've done this in small towns and big cities and never worry, I regard the risk as extremely small and it could happen at home. I've not had one thing stolen, even after being left several times unattended in BCN. Of course, anything of importance I take with me, which is just my money, phone & passport.


Mind you it does happen. The other year following the Danube route I bumped into two Japanese lads who'd had their loaded bikes nicked in the centre of Budapest while they were sightseeing. They were camping, so why they didn't leave the bikes at the campsite and head off on foot I dunno. As always when this comes up, I don't think they're any hard and fast rules you just have to use your spidersense a bit.

MarkF
Posts: 436
Joined: 4 Apr 2011, 10:20am

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby MarkF » 18 Jun 2013, 11:25am

Dudley Manlove wrote:Mind you it does happen. The other year following the Danube route I bumped into two Japanese lads who'd had their loaded bikes nicked in the centre of Budapest while they were sightseeing. They were camping, so why they didn't leave the bikes at the campsite and head off on foot I dunno. As always when this comes up, I don't think they're any hard and fast rules you just have to use your spidersense a bit.


Oh, I am sure it does happen, but not yet to me, or anybody that I know. When I tour I want lock my bike up and wander about, so I do, and I don't worry about things because I don't have any choice (if I want to enjoy myself) and the risk is very low IMO. I do usually lock my bike in front of busy shops though, it's not like I leave it in a quiet & secluded spot.

Big T
Posts: 2105
Joined: 16 Jul 2007, 1:44pm
Location: Nottingham
Contact:

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Big T » 18 Jun 2013, 12:41pm

Some British cities are finally taking bike security seriously. i went to the Nottingham Cycle Forum yesterday and was told of plans to have a number of bike hubs throughout the city. These will have secure parking that can only be accessed by a swipe card that you have to register to get, and will also have CCTV, as well as hire bikes available(can be hired using the same swipe card).
My JOGLE blog:
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
twitter: @bikingtrev

MarkF
Posts: 436
Joined: 4 Apr 2011, 10:20am

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby MarkF » 18 Jun 2013, 2:59pm

Big T wrote:Some British cities are finally taking bike security seriously. i went to the Nottingham Cycle Forum yesterday and was told of plans to have a number of bike hubs throughout the city. These will have secure parking that can only be accessed by a swipe card that you have to register to get, and will also have CCTV, as well as hire bikes available(can be hired using the same swipe card).


Big T, do you have a link or can you recall which cities?

andymiller
Posts: 1716
Joined: 8 Dec 2007, 10:26am

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby andymiller » 19 Jun 2013, 11:59am

MarkF wrote:
Dudley Manlove wrote:Mind you it does happen. The other year following the Danube route I bumped into two Japanese lads who'd had their loaded bikes nicked in the centre of Budapest while they were sightseeing. They were camping, so why they didn't leave the bikes at the campsite and head off on foot I dunno. As always when this comes up, I don't think they're any hard and fast rules you just have to use your spidersense a bit.


Oh, I am sure it does happen, but not yet to me, or anybody that I know. When I tour I want lock my bike up and wander about, so I do, and I don't worry about things because I don't have any choice (if I want to enjoy myself) and the risk is very low IMO. I do usually lock my bike in front of busy shops though, it's not like I leave it in a quiet & secluded spot.


As the man says you've got to use your spidersense and limit the risks. In small towns and villages yes maybe the risk is low, but in cities it's higher. Leaving your bikes *and* bags while you go sightseeing sounds like a recipe for disaster. You do have a choice: plan so you can at least leave your belongings in a safe place and then go sightseeing. Yes I know where's the fun in that? But there's not much fun in having your stuff nicked.

Big T
Posts: 2105
Joined: 16 Jul 2007, 1:44pm
Location: Nottingham
Contact:

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Big T » 20 Jun 2013, 1:20pm

MarkF wrote:
Big T wrote:Some British cities are finally taking bike security seriously. i went to the Nottingham Cycle Forum yesterday and was told of plans to have a number of bike hubs throughout the city. These will have secure parking that can only be accessed by a swipe card that you have to register to get, and will also have CCTV, as well as hire bikes available(can be hired using the same swipe card).


Big T, do you have a link or can you recall which cities?


I can only speak for Nottingham, though I know Leicester has a similar bike hub scheme. The Nottingham scheme also has lockers where you could leave your panniers and other valuables.
My JOGLE blog:
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
twitter: @bikingtrev

Ant
Posts: 276
Joined: 13 Feb 2007, 2:05pm

Re: safe places to park bike in cities?

Postby Ant » 20 Jun 2013, 2:28pm

Manchester and Leeds both have bike hub secure parking at the main railways stations, for a small fee. Smaller UK stations (at least in the glorious North-shire) often have secure(ish) bike box type facilities somewhere on or near the platform. These would be ideal for exploring a town or city, but are limited in availability as often used by commuters. AFAIK network rail have information about station facilities somewhere online so that is worth a look for UK touring...