The Pedalshift Project 066: Bike touring locks and America’s longest rail trails

Kicking off 2017 with a bang, we cover lightweight bike touring locks, the longest rail trails in the US and an overview of what’s to come on the show in 2017!

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Happy New Year!

2017 is going to be a great year for Pedalshift… a few things:
– Last year we had more shows than ever. This year we’ll top that. My intention is to have the 2017 Holiday Spectacular be Pedalshift 100.
– That means we have to have 3 episodes per month, SO…
– The Pedalshift Project will continue as is with episodes every other week, and
– There will be a 3rd episode every month on one of the off weeks covering a single topic… sometimes gear, sometimes tips, but always something useful… whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned.
– I’m also going to try to expand into more interviews… last year I did more than the year before, and I hope to do the same this year.
– Pedalshift, like bike touring, is an escape from the rest of the world… what would you like to hear? Shoot me ideas and topics to
– Oh yeah, new logo too! Seems to be tradition around here to update the look every year… still orange. Because, of course.
What about 2017 touring?
– 2017 will continue 2016’s emphasis on shorter, more accessible tours.
– I hope to mix in a few new spots this year (more on that in a bit)
– A longer (more than 1 week long) ride is hopefully in the cards, but I don’t want to plan anything substantial this winter so I can spend my time more flexibly later as opportunities firm up
– I’m definitely going to integrate Pedalshift Tour Journals and maybe Pedalshift AM into the future rides… more to come when those get going later this year.
– I hope to interview more people who are tackling bigger, more adventurous rides so we can all learn from those too

Gear Talk

Did you get anything good this holiday season? If you got loaded up with gift cards or cash and want some ideas, go check out the holiday gift guide… I listed a lot of my favorites in case you’re in the market for some new gear.

Lightweight bike touring locks

I tend not to tour in spots that have high security needs, so the locks I use in DC don’t tend to come with me. Still, I like to have the peace of mind to lock up outside grocery stores and other spots when I’m leaving my bike outside.
Some people are good with just cable locks on tour… I used to be ok with them, but I think they’re SO easily defeatable with simple tools that I prefer something more secure.
No lock is foolproof… all can be defeated. The trick is to find the right risk management.
New folding lock styles are interesting. I really like my Inbike folding lock as a touring lock option. Only downside is TSA sees it as a multitool every time so you should pull it out of your carry on separately or risk the (often lengthy) wait. Better yet, check it.
I have a new lightweight cinch lock on the way I’m excited to test out (Ottolock) – I hopped on their Kickstarter so hopefully should have it soon. May be a great touring option.

The Journal

Here are the longest rail-trail conversions in the US, as calculated by Rails to Trails Conservancy:
1. Katy Trail State Park — Missouri: 286 miles
2. John Wayne Pioneer Trail — Washington: 253 miles
3. Cowboy Trail — Nebraska: 195 miles
4. Great Allegheny Passage — Maryland & Pennsylvania: 150 miles
5. Soo Line Trail – Northern Route — Minnesota: 148 miles
6. Columbia Plateau Trail State Park — Washington: 130 miles
7. Paul Bunyan State Trail — Minnesota: 121 miles
8. Flint Hills Nature Trail — Kansas: 117 miles
9. Soo Line Trail – Southern Route & Saunders State Trail — Minnesota & Wisconsin: 114 miles
10. OC&E Woods Line State Trail — Oregon: 110 miles
11. George S. Mickelson Trail — South Dakota: 109 miles
12. Blue Ox Trail (Voyageur Trail) — Minnesota: 107 miles
13. State Line Trail — Michigan: 107 miles
14. Wild Rivers State Trail — Wisconsin: 104 mile


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ latest release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And a little birdy tells me Jason’s recording some new music. More when I know…



  1. Taavi Sepp says:

    The Ottolock seems like a good concept, somewhat similar to Litelok. However I’m not sold on the lock head esp the pins protruding out – this seems a weak point along with three digit combination. People tend to be lazy and use simple combinations. Also it takes less time to guess and try three digits than four. I think many opportunist thieves still see big heavy U-locks as deterrent and give it a pass while something this small will inevitably be tried. Time will show how good these are.

    In the UK there’s company called Sold Secure ( that tests and certifies locks of all sorts. They also have big influence on purchase decisions. No doubt professional thieves pay attention to their assessment which may just save your bike from attempted theft.

    I really enjoyed Rails to Trais part of podcast – this has just given a few ideas for the next US trip (hint: Washington State).

    • Tim Mooney says:

      Fair points on Ottolock. I don’t think I would ever rely solely on one lock if I’m in a bike theft area (i.e. like where I live). What I like about it is it’s fundamentally different than a U lock, so if I mix it with a U lock or the folding lock it’s unlikely a single tool can defeat both. Nothing’s foolproof, but we can make our bikes look less easy and hopefully the thief will move on to another. On tour, I look forward to trying it out. Thanks for listening and let us know about your trip when you take it!

What do you think?