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This might take a little explaining.

I've got stuff on my bike that removes easily and could be stolen: head light, tail light, cyclometer. If I'm riding to a concert or something, I don't want to lug that kind of stuff around in my pockets, but I don't want to leave it sitting out on my bike for thieves, either.

I've been looking for some kind of small bag or pouch made from a tough material (like those locking bags banks use for deposits) that could be locked to the bike. I'm imagining something with a sturdy strap that would fit through an opening on the other side, so you could then feed your U-lock or chain through the loop, thus locking the bag shut and to the bike at the same time.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? Is this overkill for a problem with a simpler solution?

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Perhaps something like a handlebar bag that locks? –  Neil Fein Sep 14 '10 at 21:15
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6 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Do you mean something like this from PacSafe it's got a secure steel mesh inside:

alt text

I remember using one of their bigger backpack bags when travelling to New Zealand a few years ago, and the only complaints I had were from the TSA when we went through the US.

Alternatively if you have a rack on the back, then it may be possible to attach a lockable box to that in some secure way. Although my worry would be that anyone who noticed such a box, would immediately wonder what was locked up inside and decide to break it open.

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It's remarkably simple to remove most racks. Do they make racks with more secure attachments? –  Neil Fein Sep 14 '10 at 22:18
    
security through obscurity is your friend for sure. Getting to crazy with the items being locked up just makes it look more desireable. –  curtismchale Sep 15 '10 at 0:20
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@neilfein A fair point. I suppose you'd need to make sure your locking chain loops through the rack too. –  Amos Sep 15 '10 at 6:10
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We've run recumbent bikes with a lockable box on the back for, erm, well almost decades - never had the box attacked (in the UK where opportunist theft is not uncommon). It seems to me that the point of any lock is to discourage casual walk-by theft, very few things will stop a determined or professional thief. –  Murph Sep 16 '10 at 8:09
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I've used zip ties to secure four panniers to the back of my Kona Ute. It's cheap insurance against opportunistic snatches of the panniers themselves, but the unattended contents are vulnerable.

Someone before made the point that heavily secure-looking panniers make the contents appear more desirable. I'm thinking that secure panniers ought to have a rigid shape, so it's hard to tell whether or not they contain something.

As for easily-removed racks. There are utility bikes on the market, such as my Ute, in which the storage rack is actually part of the frame. With such a bike, one only has to concentrate on how well the locking pannier is attached to the bike, and the quality of your usual bike locking strategy.

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I've seen a couple of lockable boxes that mount to your rack. Here's one. And another

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Maybe you can get/addapt a hard saddlebags for motorcycles. alt text

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+1 for the idea, but I think that this would be very heavy. –  sixtyfootersdude Sep 15 '10 at 2:18
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My first thought was to use a bug that has a reasonably strong handle and just pass the bike lock though the handle – this will stop most opportunistic snatches. Given the correct handle design it could also stop someone opening the bag. (I have done this with my panniers)

Then I thought that fixing a very load rape alarm in the bag, with the scrap locked to the bike lock would be good. When (if) the bag is stolen, the rape alarm will activate as it’s scrap will be pulled out – at that point if the bike has been left in a good parking spot a lot of people will know the theft is going on.

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For my panniers I took some lightweight aircraft cable and ran loops to the screws that secure the bike to its frame. These loops are long enough to run my regular lock through them, and they're stuffed in the bag when not in use. In my case the purpose is to prevent "opportunistic" thefts by stupid kids, but the technique could be used with heavier cables to discourage more "professional" thieves.

Obviously, with any sort of fabric bag the fabric can be cut, so there is a practical limit to the amount of security provided by this technique.

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