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I'm planning to make a trip through Europe this year with my girlfriend. Bikes are going to travel on a roof rack. We are going to sleep on campgrounds in tents most of the time. So my biggest concern is how to store our bikes safe while we're asleep or gone somewhere on foot.

My only idea is to detach front wheels and put them in the trunk of my SUV each time. Also hiding them under some kind of blanket would be necessary not to draw attention of the potential thief (we ride Canyon Nerve & Trek X-Caliber).

  • Why not just chain them to the car? – Daniel R Hicks Jul 9 '16 at 11:15
  • @Moz edited the question cause that was kinda slip of the tongue... but you got the point mate – Jacka Jul 9 '16 at 11:30
  • @DanielRHicks well I wouldn't feel safe exposing them to the public like that on the outside... I bet the thief could find a way. – Jacka Jul 9 '16 at 11:33
  • Well, you can always haul around an enclosed trailer. But, of course, someone might just steal that. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 9 '16 at 11:36
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    take a bigger tent and put the bikes in there with you ? You're car-camping, not backpacking, so weight isn't a big deal. – Criggie Jul 13 '16 at 9:15
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I used to take the family bikes over to western Europe and never had a problem leaving them overnight. This would have been maybe USD3000s worth of bikes at various places in France, Germany and Benelux.

First of all I was able to lock the rack onto the car - it was a pretty Mickey-Mouse lock but would nevertheless deter an opportunist thief. Next I would lock the frames together, and to the rack, using a couple of my regular bike locks. These were much more heavy duty, Fahgettaboudit locks.

This combination worked fine for me. It was obviously enough to put people off. We didn't park in the centre of cities, but nevertheless these were public locations in quite substantial towns.

So I didn't detach the wheels, but I did lock each up with a combination of chains and D-locks. For any would-be thief, their quickest option would have been to steal three bikes and a rack all in one go, which I guess could have happened but fortunately didn't.

I guess the moral is to have some good locks visible and in use, and to be aware of where you're parking.

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Two bikes locked together with a D lock aren't the sort of thing a thief would like to be seen carrying.

A cable lock to a solid object such as a car is a good backup. For securing kayaks, rather thin cables are sold that can be shut in the car doors and either padlocked inside the car or trapped in the doors. With a rear carrier, the towing eye can provide a good locking point.

If you want to leave the bikes on site without the vehicle, there are stakes that screw into the ground to which you can lock your bike. A single stake can be unscrewed by turning the bike, but two stakes close together can't be. Although there are versions for locking bikes to, camping shops sell something similar designed for tying up dogs.

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