As dear old dad was fond of saying, “Locks are mainly to keep honest people honest. A skilled and determined thief will often find a way to overcome locks and alarms.” Having acknowledged that, though, there are many effective strategies for helping to “keep honest people honest” and preventing a theft from ruining your motorcycle touring vacation. Here are some of the best ones that I’ve found, starting with those that are the most obvious:
- Lock the bike’s ignition and remove the key
- Attach a lock to one of the front brake discs
- Use brightly colored locks in easily seen locations so potential thieves will be more likely to see them before approaching the bike
- Add an alarm to your motorcycle
- At night, park the bike in a lighted area, near the front entrance of the hotel and, if possible, in view of the hotel’s surveillance camera
- When stopping for food, if feasible, park the bike where you can see it out the window from your table in the restaurant
- If you’re using a chain type of lock, attach it through the spokes of your bike to an immovable object, like a light pole, or to a riding companion’s bike
- Remove any unlocked luggage and take it into your hotel room at night
- Keep insurance and licensing information on your person, not on the motorcycle
- Leave the bike’s title in a safe place at home
- Take valuable items, like cameras, into your room at night
- Remove electronic gear (GPS, radar detector, etc.) from your bike at night and any other time the bike will be out of your sight for several hours
- When trailering a motorcycle, chain-lock it to the trailer, lock the trailer that the bike is hitched to, and back up next to a wall in the evening so your bike cannot be rolled off the back of the trailer
- Take a photo(s) of some unique identifying mark(s) or feature(s) on your bike and keep it with you to aid authorities with identification, in case the bike is stolen and later recovered.
With the replacement cost of touring and custom motorcycles climbing to new heights, it only makes sense to take preventative measures that will help protect your investment. And, when you’re on tour in the hinterlands, you don’t want your only mode of transportation to suddenly disappear. The above list isn’t intended to be all-inclusive, but it’s to get you thinking about risks and ways to discourage thieves when you’re on tour.