What to do with bike when camping?


New Member
Hong Kong
I'll do my second tour later this year, my first was a 2 week trip last year to Belgium and France, along the Western Front of WWI. The same riding partner and I are planning to visit Normandy and then he's heading back to the UK and I'm carrying on for several more days. Doing what exactly I'm not sure, but if I fly from Hong Kong to France, I want to get my moneys worth, so I'm going to do another 2 weeks or so.

Now to the point of my post, last year we stayed in hotels and B&B's and will do the same for the Normandy portion of this years trip. However, after he leaves I'm thinking of camping most if not all the rest of the time. I've been looking at tents, but this isn't really an "advise me on a tent" post - I am curious what does one do with their bike when camping. Especially if its raining; one of the options I'm leaning towards is two weeks in Brittany and from what I've read, Brittany can be wet in August (when I would be there). It doesn't appear most packable tents have room for a bike (I know there are a few with vestibules that will work).

So what do you do?
Generally I lean it against a tree - Bikes do not come to any harm in the rain - Campsites in France are pretty safe so unless you are going to go out without the bike in the evening locking it is advised but generally unnecessary - a reasonable long cable lock is better than a U lock when locking to trees


Legendary Member
What psmiffy does:smile:
On the very rare occasions that I feel I may be in bandit territory I lay the bike down beside the tent with the rim of one wheel under the fly of the tent.

Then before falling asleep I imagine the scenario if someone comes and pinches my bike. I unscramble myself from the sleeping bag, unzip the tent doors and set off naked in hot pursuit of the two thugs who have taken my bike. Aye right.:smile:

Gerry Attrick

Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant
As Snorri says, keep a bit of the bike in the tent so you can see or feel if anyone moves it. As an added precaution and provided the weight is not too much, you can use one of those corkscrew dog tethers. Screw it into the ground inside your tent then use a cable lock to attach to your bike outside.


New Member
A top tip I read somewhere was this gem.....
Tie a piece of line (fishing line or thin strong cotton) to your bike and the other end to one of those lady alarms, you know the ones that they pull a pin out of if they are attacked.
The alarm you keep in the tent tied to your sleepy bag and next to your ear 'ole.
If the bike moves off the pin is pulled (via the line) and your eardrum is burst waking you up.
Result, you are then able to join the rest of the campsite in chasing the yoofs away from your pride and joy.
Just might work?
I have never considered putting the bike anywhere near the tent after reading about someone who had their bike stolen and had most of the tent removed when the bike was grabbed

On two occasions though I have brought the bike into the porch of the tent - it is a big tent - once when wild camped in a very open car park by a beach in Spain and there was absolutely nothing to lock it to and nothing to put it behind - however I was perfectly safe as there was a Police car doing frequent circuits in the night - as the Policeman said next morning over coffee - he thought it would be a good idea if he kept an eye on me - The other time was so that I would not have to dig it out of the snow in the morning


Toronto, Canada
I've been using a widish (it was labelled as MTB specific) U-lock, usually I was able to find a suitable tree to fit it over with:

... and a shower cap to keep the Brooks from getting soaked during the night:


Senior Member
As said - lock it to a tree if you can. If you can't - turn it upside town and set it next to the tent with the lock on and if possible a bit of cable wrapped round the tent pole. A cable is a good thing to carry anyway when you are on your own. Wherever you stop you can lock the bike and twine the cable round the panniers etc. A determined thief wouldn't be deterred but an upside down bike or twined cable offers a certain deterrent factor which makes the difference between it being nicked or not nicked. It's a psychological thing.


New Member
Hong Kong
Thanks to all.

I was more worried about my Brooks saddle than my bike being stolen, I'll use samid's suggestion of a shower cap on the Brooks.



What we do for two or three bikes when camping is:

One 2m long kyriptonite cable
One small lock (like a mini D lock/Large padlock) for said cable
One Dog Screw (Like a big cork screw, available in any camping or pet shop)
One 'Bike Pyjamas' (Basically two sheets of tarp sewn together on 3 sides)

Whole lot weights about 1KG

We then park bikes near tent using their own stands,
side by side, facing oposite directions.
Put dog screw in ground between them
Put the cable through everything including dog screw
Padlock on the end
Pyjamas over both the bikes

The bikes are then secure, dry in their own tent, panniers, tools, lights, saddles can all be left in place.
It would take a lot of messing aroud, noise, time and a pair of bolt cutters to move them.

The Bike Pyjamas also double up as a picnic blanket, an emergency shelter for bikes or humans, a sheet to put all the suff on when to collapse down the tent, and even in a town, covering up the bikes (with panniers left aboard) means than no one takes much notice as they look like a parked motorbike and without removing the cover you can't see the goodies underneath
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