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I’m not generally paranoid about someone stealing my bike, but my worry meter rises when I’m on the road, and particularly when I stop for the night in unfamiliar territory.
When I stop at a motel, I try and park my bike (whether I’m riding or it’s in the back of a truck) as close to my motel window as possible. My operating theory is that I’ll immediately wake up at the slightest indication someone’s trying to steal my bike, which I know is just wishful thinking. I’ve never had any trouble, but I think about it every time I travel.
Last October, I headed out with friends for the 2015 Barber Vintage Festival, an almost 800-mile drive with an overnight along the way. Before the trip, I happened to be in contact with Jeff Cranny, inventor of Lockstraps locking tie-downs, and he offered to send out a set for us to try.
Lockstraps, if you haven’t seen them, are heavy-duty, 1.5-inch nylon web tie-downs with a stainless steel cable running down the middle for the full length of the strap. Ostensibly, the cable is strong enough to thwart thieves interested in stealing your bike, and with its twin locks and hefty appearance Lockstraps will certainly give the casual thief cause for pause. Making a thief think twice is important, because generally they’ll move on to easier pickings, and in that regard they’re a good first line of defense. As good as we think they are, however, Lockstraps won’t stop the dedicated thief. Bolt cutters are the tool of choice for thieves, and they will cut through the stainless steel cable, as we found. We had to slice the nylon to the cable so our bolt cutters wouldn’t bind up in the strap, but after that it was pretty quick business.
Yet even if they’re not the ultimate in protection, they are a comforting security measure. They’re also impressively constructed, with riveted loops and built-in soft tie extensions. The locking carabineers are generously sized and easy to use, and the hefty cam buckles and strong straps give excellent piece of mind: They’re not going to break.
We used the Lockstraps to secure three bikes. With a 500-pound load rating they’re plenty strong, and at 8.5 feet long each they’re plenty versatile. We also used a 24-foot Lockstrap extension, running it through all three bikes, reasoning that the more impediments we put up to an easy steal, the better. There’s no question we all slept a little better knowing our bikes had at least one level of protection between staying put and being stolen. Are they worth almost $80 a pair? That’s your call, but if you’re looking for an extra layer of protection we’d say they’re definitely worth considering. Go to the Lockstraps web site for more info.