Here's the Scenario: You've been disciplined in your training. You've eaten properly, you've selected all the gear you need to suit your podium pursuits and you've put in your sweat equity hours on the road, trail or track. You and your team pack up your gear bags, bikes and you are on the road, traveling hundreds of miles to hit the ground rolling at a competitive event.
Locked away safely in the tag-a-long trailer are your beloved steed, your gear and your hopes of glory. Night falls and you crash in your hotel room, snuggled into bed as dreams of podium spots and medals dance in your head. As the sunrises, you spring out of bed and practically do a time trial getting dressed. Then you race out to the truck to get in a fast warm up for your event.
Arriving at the truck, you are wrecked like a trailer park in a hurricane...
A crime has been perpetrated. Under the cover of night, thieves have broken into the trailer and stolen not only your bikes and gear but, your dreams and aspirations along with them. We'd like to think that this could never happen to us. But, the sad truth is that it can and it does.
One example is the team of teenage competitors who shared our hotel. Excited to attend The Sea Otter Classic for the first time, their team mother had traveled with them from several states away, driving, supporting and helping to nurture their athletic spirit. She made certain they retired early ready to wake up early the morning of the event. They did, only to see their aspirations shattered by thieves who struck in the night.
The team had packed their bikes and gear into a tag-a-long trailer pulled behind the team mother's SUV. Everything was tucked neatly away inside the trailer with a sturdy padlock securing the gate. This all seemed secure enough. But, what the team didn't count on was the resourcefulness of the thieves. Instead of trying to cut the sturdy lock, the thieves went for the soft spot and defeated the trailer. By smashing the flimsy latch on the trailer gate, they were able to bypass the lock and pilfer the contents of the trailer.
How to Protect Yourself:
A sufficiently motivated thief will defeat any lock or security measure eventually, but by adding delaying factors through levels of security, you can dissuade the casual thief through the professional with each additional measure. One bit of added security would be to cable lock all of the bikes, wheels and gear together to the chassis of the trailer. The thieves may be able to cut the cable (eventually) but the time it takes to do so increases the chances of getting caught and is prohibitive. Additionally, if multiple cable locks are used it just makes it extremely difficult and not worth while to attempt to steal the bikes.
A second option, is to book an extra hotel room for all of the equipment. This might seem like an expensive way to protect your bikes but, when you take into account the cost of the bikes with the costs of the taking a long trip to an event against not being able to compete, it easily balances out. The team soigneurs, team mechanic or team manager (or team mom/dad) can be placed in that room to increase security as well.
Sometimes this type of crime is commited by calculating criminals who know the value of a decent bike and scope out the scene to get the most valuable rides. Other times, (like this one) the culprits can be just petty thieves who could really use a bike. In this particular case the police found a trail of expensive bike parts that lead led them to a local camp of homeless people. It was a sure bet that the homeless people didn't own those expensive downhill bikes, mystery solved.