The loss of a motorcyclist’s wallet can make the most avid adventure seeker cry like a spoiled baby on a hot afternoon wearing a well-soiled diaper. A slick leather or textile wallet can easily slide out of a jacket or pants pocket while the rider is doing jumping jacks on the foot pegs over rocks and potholes. It can just as easily be left behind in the rumpled sheets of a motel bed, or on top of a gas pump after tanking up while harried, trying to beat the clock to some checkpoint. Compounding the problem of the dark, slippery wallet going walkabout, there is always the chance of meeting one of the sticky-fingered professionals known as pickpockets.

In both cases, reducing the risk of loss can be as simple as a shoelace. My preference has been for long shoelaces with both ends sewn to my wallet, making a loop big enough to slip over my head while wearing a motorcycle helmet. I choose a screaming Hi-Viz green color. When my wallet has been set down I can usually see the green cord. While driving a motorcycle, I can loop the shoelace over my head and let the wallet hang from my neck until I can secure it in an inside pocket or slide it down the front of my T-shirt. The shoelace can also be tied to a belt or belt loop, similar to the dog collar chain popular with certain segments of our motorcycling population; but the shoelace is much less heavy and costly. As for the sticky-fingered professionals, unless they are carrying a pair of scissors or a knife, if they are able to slide the wallet out of a pocket while I am leaning on a bar sipping a glass of spring water while lying to the bartender or another patron, the slipped wallet will come to the end of its rope within a foot or a bit more, and I should feel a tug that shouldn’t be a tug. If feeling the tug fast enough, a courageous wallet owner might even end up a hero for catching a thief—usually good for another round of spring water by supportive patrons.

TIPS: An added deterrent to a slippery wallet (or passport) sliding up, or sideways out of a pocket, is to have it wrapped reasonably tightly by a thick rubber band. Ms. Sticky Fingers will have a harder time carefully sliding the wallet out of its holding place, as the rubber snags on the pocket material. Rather than using office supply rubber bands, I cut my own rubber bands from old inner tubes, giving me a rubber band ranging from the size of the inner tubes and any width I like. Usually, I carry a second or “dummy” wallet in a separate pocket. In it are business cards, dead telephone cards and usually some small money— less than $100. Out of that wallet, I pay for gas (when using cash), drinks and tolls, not letting a sharp-eyed, sticky-fingered professional see where my real wallet is tied and stashed. I refresh the cash pool in the fake or throw-down wallet each day. If the adventurous thief is good enough to steal it, they have had a highly risky adventure while I have had a pretty good laugh, mostly at myself for not being careful.

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