Why do you leave your car keys on your tire?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Why do you leave your car keys on your tire?


This topic contains 15 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  Slee_Stack 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #213735

    Did it ever seem weird to anyone that mountain bikers sometimes hide¬†their car keys on their vehicle tire back at the trailhead? I don’t do this myself because I’m afraid my car won’t be there when I arrive back. ūüôā

    I also don’t get the utility. Like, if something happens to me and my buddy needs to jump in my car to go get help, he should just grab the keys from¬†my pack before heading to the car. I suppose it’s possible I might lose my keys during the ride (which would suck really bad!) but if I’m really worried, I use the little key hook thingie in my pack to make sure the keys stay with me.

    Can someone explain to me why this is a good idea and¬†why it’s become a habit?

  • #213738

    I’ve seen riders at the trailhead doing that. ¬†They’ll look around suspiciously, set their keys on their tire, look around suspiciously some more, then head into the woods for their ride. ¬†Makes no sense to me.


    I keep all that stuff on me. ¬†I’ve had more than one break-in happen at a trailhead and the risk of losing those items on the trail seems less likely than someone popping my window and making life a real bummer.

  • #213742

    The people that I’ve personally seen¬†do this the most are also experienced boaters. With boating especially, this makes sense–you could easily lose your keys in the river.

    Also, for a river¬†run you’re always running a shuttle, and you may not know who’s going to be grabbing what vehicle–so, if you leave your keys with the vehicle, anybody that you tell where the keys are can pick up your vehicle.

    So in that sense, it makes more sense for me in relation to a shuttle–to make sure the keys are always with the vehicle. You also don’t risk leaving your keys at the vehicle at the top of the descent, and having no way to get back up there.

    But for just riding a loop in the woods? Nah, not so much.

  • #213745

    Yeah, trailhead or boat take-out.¬† An empty vehicle is there for probably one reason; on the river, or on the trail.¬† And advertising that “I will be gone for a couple of hours”.¬†¬†I would want my vehicle as secure as possible…JMO

  • #213747

    I am fortunate to have a truck with the keypad entry. I just lock the keys in the cab and go on. I always do this not just when riding. Center right right center left ha!

  • #213955

    Thanks for blowing up the spot Jeff!

    I think it’s a useful tool if you carpooled to the trail with other people. Let’s say something does happen and your buddy has to get into your car. What if in the heat of the moment, he forgets to get your keys from you? That’s precious time lost.

    Or way more commonly, what if someone in your group has a mechanical or just a really bad day and wants to head back to the car early? They can get into the car and start drinking beer while they wait for the rest of the crew.

  • #213968

    “They can’t get into the car and start drinking beer while they wait for the rest of the crew.”

    Valid point!  : )

  • #214143

    It makes sense to leave the keys at the car but on the tyre is too obvious. I have another place that I share with anyone with me but not here!

  • #214146

    I’ve never done this but¬† have seen others who do; almost always it’s with a rusted beat down POS that’s simply not a “high-value” target.

    Now, if that guy with that brand new BMW X5 would leave his keys on the tire…..heh, heh, heh (just kidding). ūüėČ

  • #214247

    I usually have a firearm on my person, or in my vehicle, so leaving keys (to the car, or to the lock-box) anywhere near it is a huge no-no.

    Situations like this are what make the whole “that’s 100 grams lighter” conversation incredibly stupid to me…¬† I keep my car keys (and basic bike tools) in a tail bag, under my seat.¬† If the weight is having an adverse effect on my riding, I haven’t noticed it.

  • #214256

    Sometimes I’ll ¬†stash¬†them in the gas cap compartment

  • #214268

    In very remote spots when I would be away from my truck for days, I have placed a key under a random rock somewhere near the car.  But in general I carry my car key in my bag clipped to a D-ring.

  • #214269

    Having a pack is way more convenient and practical to store things. Never seen anyone here leave their keys on the tire.

  • #214435

    And when someone does leave their keys, with such suspicious glances around to be sure no one saw; did they leave the real keys, or decoys just so they could say, “Hah! made ya’ look!”?

  • #214437

    That used to be a thing back in the late 90’s, but I don’t know anyone who still does it. I hate wearing a pack, unless I am on a 3+ hour ride (maybe) but I still wear traditional cycling kit so I can just put them in a jersey pocket. The better question may be, why do you wear “mountain bike” clothes instead of a more functional traditional cycling kit?


  • #215160

    I’ve never observed this behavior. ¬†Guess I don’t pay enough attention in parking lots.


    Seems silly.  Why not just leave them under the mat with the car doors unlocked.  About the same level of risk.


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