Security

I am no security expert. I write this only because people express concerns about personal safety when considering touring. I write from about 100,000km of travel by bike with no incidents where I was in any serious danger. There has been the occasion deliberate close pass by vehicles, but that is all.

Australia is a safe country— really. Especially in country areas. People are more likely to be admiring than wanting to harm you!

I think polite, conciliatory behaviour helps, as does keeping the finger to myself. My one shouting match in all that time came from when I gave someone the finger.

Keep a Low Profile
1. Don't be flashy. When it comes to money, I use small change, usually not greater than twenty dollar notes. (Some folk recommend keeping a hundred dollar note in your shoes under the insoles— we have plastic bank notes, after all, and having a single touring credit card somewhere else on the bike. I've never bothered.)

2. I camp with people— caravan parks, motels, or well out of sight. Roadside camping which is visible from the road is asking for trouble. Tucked up in a sleeping bag makes us very easy to attack.

3. Camp early, not late.  When approaching a remote town with legendary social issues I made sure I had enough water and food on hand to camp before the town, and stocked up in the morning. It seems to me that stocking up big at 4.30pm and riding out of town with supermarket bags on your handlebars is asking for visitors. If I must camp rough, I try to set up without being observed. Remember light travels a long way at night: camp early so that you are all setup and dark before the sun goes down. It also helps avoid anthills and thistles!

Don't invite trouble
I have all the seriously important paperwork and phone etc in a handlebar pannier that simply clips off when I leave the bike for shops etc. I lift off the GPS and go.  Tailights on the panniers are also clipped on with cable ties. It makes nicking stuff that little bit less convenient. I put the cable through the wheels and frame if I'm going into a supermarket of eatery.

Where does violence happen?
Most violence in Australia happens in the home. After that, it's around pubs etc at night.  Choose where you will be. Lower the risk.

Instinct
In my job we have occasional violence issues. The word is: Trust your instinct— if you feel unsafe, you probably are. Leave. Because of my job, I have my phone on me at all times. SAPOL is on speed dial, and I keep that habit when touring.

Keep moving
My instinct is that a moving cyclist is a harder target. Just keep riding.

Conversations
It's ok in the shops, but consider what you are divulging and to whom. If a car slows when I am on the roadside, I give them a thumbs up. Outside of town I keep conversation short unless I am very comfortable.

Tell the right people
I make sure someone knows where I am supposed to be and when to start worrying if I don't ring in.


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