I teach design at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). It’s a large campus in the heart of the city which means that crime is a little more elevated. A student of mine told me the other day that bicycle theft was higher in the ‘Ham than most cities of it’s size. Fantastic, just what I needed in life!
More bad news, you can do everything you want to protect thieves from stealing your bike but if they want it bad enough, you’re getting your bike stolen no matter what.
On the Divide, Fixie Dave Nice got his bike swiped from him while he was sleeping one day. This has bothered me because that’s all I need is to be out in the middle of nowhere next year and wake up with miles to go to the next town and my bike is gone.
Given that a thief can snag your bike at any given time whether you have it guarded by a pitbull or have industrial sized bike locks on it, there’s very little you can do. But “would be thieves” can be easily deterred by a few easy methods.
While a thief can easily use bolt cutters to chop through any of your bike locks you throw at them, most “would be” thieves do not lug those around. But bike locks are bulky, heavy and a pain the ass to drag around generally. On the TourDivide I’m going to be trying to be as lightweight as possible which means that anything like bike locks are out of the question.
I do have one exception to that rule which is if something can act as a duel purpose, then I’ll have consider carrying it.
There’s a series of bike locks by a company called Paksafe and they make one in particular that I like which is the “WrapSafe“. It’s a little convoluted but it does the job well enough and also it can act as a clothesline which is fantastic for bikepacking since my clothes could stand to dry a bit as much as I sweat. It’s fairly inexpensive and works pretty well. It also comes with a little bag to store it in and a lock.
This gives me relief at UAB on the very rare occasions my bike is out of my site and it’s high on the list of things I’ll take on the TourDivide with me (or at least I’m heavily considering). Sure bike locks won’t stop a thief if he/she wants your ride bad enough, but as I said, bike locks may do the trick to stop someone from snagging your bike and taking off with it.
Remember, thieves generally take the past of least resistance.