Torino Nice Rally Part 4 - Security


We like to think we're safe in wild places.  

Mostly we are, but every now and again someone has an unpleasant experience like the one alongside, shared on our Torino Nice Rally WhatsApp group.  

This reportedly happened in the town of Tende.

I experienced nothing approaching this, but it serves as a reminder that this route passes through a number of towns and villages of different sizes.  

So we're bound to be seen by a whole range of people.  Those shiny bikes, festooned with bike-packing gear, can look very attractive and easy to sell.

Plus who knows what's inside.  

When planning the security side of my ride, I did the usual 'what-if' calculations and ranked them on a likelihood scale.

I considered the larger towns the most like spots for thieves to strike.  

So I aimed to pass through the larger places as fast as possible, not stopping in centres except for unavoidable resupply.

On the occasions when I had to visit a supermarket I felt the greatest risk was someone stealing from my bags, and there was little I could do to prevent this.  

I chose my Rapha Brevet Lightweight Jersey in part because it has a separate, long zip rear pocket - like a poacher's pocket'.  My passport, insurance details and money always stayed zipped in here.  No one could unzip it and get a hand in without me feeling the intrusion.

The second order of risk I felt was someone grabbing and wheeling the bike away.  I didn't want to carry a big bike lock for rare occasions so I took two Z-locks by HipLock.  I could either put one on each wheel or link them to secure the frame to a fixed object (better) and remove the wheel skewers.

The 'riskiest' situation for me was in the town of Briancon, heading into a big supermarket.  It was built above a car park and had a long covered ramp up to the entrance, with the bike stands at the bottom.  Ignoring these, I pushed it up the ramp and secured it just outside the glass doors in the sight of the security guard who I nodded to on the way in - he got the message.  

When staying in towns I always found a room and somewhere to secure the bike (either in the room or a place I felt would be safe) before heading out to eat or resupply.

I understand that some people find camping in wild places a scary prospect.  I've done it for so long that I'm possibly a little too blase about it.  In my experience, most people are too scared to approach you - a wild person in a tent - than you are of them.  

My only hesitation came on my last night.  The photos from that bivi spot are lovely, but I was slightly apprehensive.  I was at a much lower elevation which usually meant more people.  Of particular concern were the four-wheel drive tracks in the rough ground behind my spot, suggesting folk came up here at night and blasted about.  I made sure I camped amid a tangle of trees and branches on the ground where such vehicles were unlikely to go.  As usual, I slept with most things packed and ready to go... just in case.