Originally Posted by rockymountainoyster
I will soon be making my first solo crossing or the US/Mexican border on my moto. Any thoughts on bike and cargo security while I am getting the Visa and TVIP processed inside a building where I can't see the bike. Thanks.
Advice on this is no different whether its parking a bike anywhere in the U.S., Canada, Peru, Mexico or anywhere else. Simply, don't leave anything of value loose that can be quickly walked away with.
If you're going into Burger King in Bayonne or the mall in Manchester, and you leave your Schuberth on the mirror and you come out and its gone, you've learned an expensive lesson. And these stops don't have to be long at all and you don't have to be too far away for stuff to be snatched - it happens all the time. This isn't just Mexico advice.
I have a long cable with loops and an electronic Master padlock and I put the cable through the sleeve of my jacket and through the chinbar of my helmet, and lock it somewhere to the bike, on the GS its through the hand loops at the pillion position. Then I make sure the panniers are locked. If I don't use the cable, I'll take my jacket and helmet inside with me. This leaves nothing for the tactical thief to steal. When the cable is not in use, I wrap it around the pannier at the pillion to keep it out of the way.
Here is my recommended lock, the Master Electronic Combination Lock:
This is a great lock because its fast. No spinning dials to remember or screw you up. Highly, highly recommended.
I got two at Lowes for about 20 bucks each. They'll have cables of varying lengths there too, each end of those will have the loops you need. I have two cables, one for when I want to lock both a helmet and a jacket, and one for only a helmet. The one I take on travel is the longer one, since I often end up locking someone else's stuff to my bike.
I'll say at this point I feel much more vulnerable to theft in the U.S. than I do in Mexico, but that's another thread.
Another tip is to ask yourself what you can't easily do without right away. For example, between a helmet and a jacket, most people would agree that a jacket can more easily be sourced for replacement than a helmet, and a helmet is more critical to safety, so I would tell that person that if they're going to choose between the two to secure, to at least lock the helmet up or take it with you. Your money is more easily replaced than a passport, so pay high priority attention to your passport and don't leave it in your jacket and your jacket left unattended on the bike. A jacket and passport was stolen off an unattended bike in Durango last year of a friend of mine, so its not just a theory. He had to go to the consulate in Monterrey to get the passport replaced.
If you don't have locking panniers and you have loose stuff strapped down to the bike, like duffels etc., I would simply continue to lock the jacket and helmet/take them with you as mentioned above, and just make sure you are happy with where you are keeping your hard-to-replace items.
After you take these basic steps, relax. You've done all that is reasonable and if crap happens, it happens. You can't travel anywhere in a defensive/fearful crouch (not saying this to you, but the general reader) and have a good time. Your job is to take basic, reasonable, prudent risk management measures and after that point, you throw off the mooring lines and head out to sea. Put your face to the wind, and enjoy your ride.