Imagine this: While traveling by bike, you stop along your route and find the perfect place to camp. The ground is soft and flat… the views are fantastic… and you’re set to enjoy a beautiful night camped out under the stars. But then you give a quick look around and realize there is nowhere in sight to lock up your bicycle. There are no trees around. No fences. No street signs or telephone poles. No picnic tables or barbeques. There’s nothing to lock your bicycle to!
Even though there aren’t very many people around, you still feel the need to lock up your bicycle so it doesn’t get stolen or messed with while you are sleeping in your tent at night. And your tent isn’t big enough for both you, your gear, and your bicycle. What do you do?
Well, you could leave the bike unlocked outside your tent… and simply hope that no one steals it. But that seems kind of risky.
Instead, consider taking my approach when you find yourself in this position… and lock your bicycle to your tent!
In the photo below, you can see how I’ve wrapped my cable lock around the frame and front wheel of my bicycle… and then run that same cable lock through one of the poles on my tent.
Locking your bicycle in this manner certainly isn’t as secure as locking your bike to a much larger, more permanent fixture. But locking your bicycle up like this can actually work.
The obvious downside to locking your bicycle up in this manner is that the lock can be slipped off of the tent pole with a small amount of work. To do this, the perpetrator would have to remove the pole from the tent for a few seconds while he or she slipped the cable lock away from the tent.
But by locking your bicycle up in this way… you would likely be woken up if someone did try and rip your bicycle away from the tent in this manner. And that’s why this technique seems to work so well! With you sleeping just a few inches away, it is going to be hard to find a thief willing to attempt that kind of robbery… and even more difficult to find a thief capable of removing the lock from your tent without you noticing.
There are two main points that should be made here:
1. When you run your cable lock through the tent pole, be sure to wrap it in such a way that in order for the lock to be removed, the pole would have to be taken entirely out of the tent. Do not wrap the lock through only the rainfly or the ground cloth, as these two parts of the tent can be cut away with ease. You need to make it as difficult as possible for someone to remove that cable… and wrapping the lock through the tent pole is usually the best way to do this.
2. Secondly, lean a small part of your bicycle against the wall of your tent. In the photo below you can see how I’ve rested the saddle of my bike against the rainfly of my tent. This allows me to a) see that the bicycle is still outside (even when I am inside my tent), because I can see the outline of the seat pressed against the wall of the tent… and b) I can feel that the bike is still there with my hands, feet, or body (even during the middle of the night when I may no longer be able to see the outline of the bicycle outside).
This is not a full-proof way of locking up your bicycle as it is still possible to get your bicycle stolen using this technique. But this is a great way to add a small amount of security to your bicycle when you are camped out in an area where there is nothing to lock your bicycle to.