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I ride regularly in the city with my a few valuables with me. My purse, phone, keys, company ID card etc. I hate having a bag on me while ride so I am looking for a solution to have these few items in a bike bag, but also have them safe if I stop somewhere to run into a shop or a cafe for 15 minutes.

My original idea was to look for a small saddle or top tube bag that is lockable and also safely locked to the frame, and I can simply leave it there. As it turns out there is no such thing! Or I just did not find it?

My second idea was to search for a similar bag, but which is easily detachable and I can take it with myself as a waist bag for example. Same story, I couldn't find anything like this on the market.

Do you know any bag that could work for me? Or do you have an alternate suggestion for my conundrum?

Thank you very much if you take the time to answer! Ride safe! János

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    I voted to close, as this question boils down to a product recommendation, which is off topic here. However, Topeak do a range of bags that are designed to be quickly removed to take with you. topeak.com/us/en/technology/22-quickclick%E2%84%A2 – Andy P Mar 6 at 14:53
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    You need pockets ! How about Cargo pants? – Criggie Mar 6 at 21:49
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    Just learn to carry a bag. Besides, the item you list doesn't even need a bag but should fit nicely in the pockets of most jackets. Problem solved. – d-b Mar 7 at 12:43
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    The OP is asking for a technical solution not common sense or something a parent would tell their kid ... I’m assuming as this is a technically oriented platform. – j.a. Mar 7 at 19:05
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    How do you intend to pay for your shopping/food/beverage if both your purse and your mobile are securely locked in a bag on your bike? – DavidPostill Mar 9 at 19:35

12 Answers 12

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Leaving valuables on the bike sounds like a very bad idea. Bike luggage just isn't going to be robust enough to resist theft if left unattended, and the whole bike itself may be vulnerable to theft.

What you want is a bag or caddy with a quick release so you can easily detach it and take it with you when you leave the bike. Many saddle bags have a quick release and come in a range of capacities.

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  • It is not even a good idea to leave valuables in a car for any period of time, as even they are not designed to be secure against (descructive) opening, just reasonably seucre against unauthorized use. Much less a bike. – I'm with Monica Mar 9 at 8:22
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safely locked to the frame, and I can simply leave it there.

Summary To answer your question about the existence of locking bags - they are out there. As an example (not a recommendation) Ortlieb makes a handlebar mount and bags that can be locked to the mount. No locking bag system is secure.

Best Option
A handlebar bag with a quick release mount enabling you to take your bag with you is the safest option.

Here is an example of mounting hardware for a locking bag
enter image description here

Here it is installed
enter image description here

The handlebar mount clamps to the handlebar with a steel cable (mount instructions). The bag slides into the mount and then the lid and bag are locked to the mount (bag instructions).

One of several bags Ortlieb makes that works with this mounting system is the "Ultimate Six"
Ortlieb says that their handlebar mount is compatible with any bag that uses the "Rixen&Kaul KLICKfix" system. Googling "klickfix" will bring up a variety of products. This is just one system as an example.

But....
As everyone has pointed out, leaving something on the bike - even if locked to the bike - is not safe. A cloth bag can be cut open.

Echoing the recommendation of the other answers...
A handle bar bag or pannier (or other bag type) with a quick release mount so you could easily take the bag with you is the safest option and it's often less expensive than bags with locks.

Recommendation
Use a handlebar bag that has a quick release system so you can easily take the bag with you. Searching "quick release bicycle handlebar bag" on Amazon brings up a variety of options.

Things to keep in mind
Panniers usually require the installation of a rack on the back of the bike. A quick release handlebar bag usually requires the installation of some type of mount on the handlebar. It's nice when the bag comes with the mount - Ortlieb bags do not come with the mount.

With a handlebar bag it's important to keep weight below 5 kg because too much weight on the handlebar can affect steering. Panniers can handle more weight with less effect on handling.

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    if its cloth, it can be cut. A razor blade would make short work of the shell. I've seen these carriers left wide-open while parked, to show they're empty. – Criggie Mar 6 at 21:47
  • @Criggie I agree, the bag can be cut - "As everyone has pointed out, leaving something on the bike - even if locked to the bike - is not completely safe? – David D Mar 6 at 21:54
  • True - I'm pointing out that the larcentiously-minded won't try to avoid damage to get to the possible prize inside. Simply having something on the bike that MIGHT hold stuff will attract the wrong sort of attention. We've heard of unsecured saddles and wheels go missing, and I even remember someone stealing a chain (?) from a parked bike. – Criggie Mar 6 at 22:11
  • @Criggie I agree they (the possible thief) won't try to avoid damage to the bags but the would be thief (often opportunism I think) would have to be carrying a (stanley) knife with him/her which would drastically decrease the items in the bags being stolen. Also cutting open a bag might draw more attention than simply zipping one open (even though it could still be done quite stealth like) so that might deter some thieves from trying). That being said your suggestion of mounting quick release bags is still the safer option. – Maarten -Monica for president Mar 7 at 10:53
  • The question mention leaving things on the bike for 15 minutes. IMO the lockable handlebar bag is perfectly fine in this case. I am actually using this and I parked for way longer than 15 minutes in various capitals in Europe while traveling. – Puck Mar 9 at 9:24
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This is a major reason for me to wear bike jerseys for commuting - all those things go in my back pockets. (Ideally) zipped trouser pockets are another option, though jeans pockets are usually secure enough against things falling out.

A belt bag (either bike specific or otherwise) is preferable in many ways to a backpack or shoulder bag. It doesn't swing around or cause to much extra sweat.

On many of my longer rides, when we stop at cafes, my bike is securely surrounded by others on the ride, with better kit than me. I still take phone+money+keys with me when I stop. Money and keys are in my jersey pockets, but I take the time to take the phone off the bike. Around town, even a decent set of bike lights can disappear quickly.

If you really did want to secure something to the bike, I suggest a cheap toptube bag, and punch holes in the bottom for a steel cable with loops on the end. Then inside the bag padlock your stuff to the steel cable (possibly using an inner bag). This is subtle, unlike an obviously locked outer bag, that will attract attention as holding valuables. I still wouldn't use this approach for things of personal value or that would cause a lot of trouble if stolen (like ID, phone, keys or credit cards), but for cash or a cheap camera it would be viable.

Alternatively, stuff them in an opaque water bottle and leave that in a bottle holder. it would be possible to fasten the bottle to the bottle holder to further inconvenience an opportunist, but it's probably not worth it.

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  • Around town, any set of bike lights can dissapear quickly. I've lost count how many I've had stolen yet. The weirdest thing was, once I attached a (not particularly high quality) light really securely, with lots of wire an rubber encasing, so it was basically impossible to remove it without seriously damaging the light. (The batteries could still be removed easily.) Guess what, that light was stolen anyway... – leftaroundabout Mar 7 at 22:21
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    @leftaroundabout yes, I've only left my battery lights attached when I haven't had time to remove them, or forgot they were fitted. One front light that I screwed on with anti-tamper screws was destroyed in the attempt to remove it. But dynamo lights seem fine – Chris H Mar 7 at 22:29
  • What type of "bike jerseys" are you talking about? Googling only comes up with tight shirts that racers use, and I've never seen back-pockets in shirts. – gerrit Mar 9 at 8:41
  • @gerrit that's the one. They all have pockets on the back, usually 3. Those racers will stuff their pockets with gels, bananas, pumps/CO2 cartridges etc. They don't have to be skin-tight. Race-fit ones are, club-fit are a bit more relaxed (or have room for actual flesh rather than skin and bones). My commuting ones aren't available any more but are very similar to these cheap ones on ebay – Chris H Mar 9 at 8:59
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Unfortunately I think the answer to "Do you know any bag that could work for me?" is no, if you want to leave it on the bike. I don't know of any bag that would be impervious to a quick slice with a sharp knife to either open the bag, or remove the bag from the bicycle.

You may be able to find a metal pannier / saddlebag of some sort, but now you are adding weight, pointy angular edges, and it still likely would succumb to a quick hit with a hammer or quick removal with a wrench.

So I think your best option is either an open pannier or basket where you can quickly drop things in and get them right back out, like this: open top pannier

Or you can use a standard pannier or rack mounted bag with a quick release so you can easily take it off and put it back on the bike.

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    I have seen panniers made from ammo boxes. The could be made quite secure, and the enormous weight would be a deterrent against just stealing the whole bike – Chris H Mar 9 at 9:24
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I have seen a lockable hard-shell case that mounts to a rear rack, but it's a specialized item and I'm not sure where I would find it.

There are handlebar bags that have quick-connect mounts so they'd be easy to snap on and off and carry as a shoulder bag when off the bike.

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  • Sounds like the hard-plastic cases that a motor scooter might have on the back, for protecting the rider's helmet when parked. – Criggie Mar 6 at 21:45
  • Like this? A friend has one, but apparently it needed a little modification to fit – Chris H Mar 9 at 14:04
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There are light jackets available, with deep pockets, you can go for these if climate is not an issue at your city :)

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  • That might not accommodate a purse very well, but would work for phone/wallet/keys. More form-fitting is better so the contents of your pockets aren't flopping around. – DavidW Mar 6 at 22:04
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    @DavidW "purse" in UK and some other English is a wallet, often a woman's wallet, unlike in the US, where it's what we'd call a handbag. I suspect the former meaning here. – Chris H Mar 9 at 16:47
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    @ChrisH Fair point, but my wife's "wallet" is not something that could ever reasonably fit in a pocket. :) – DavidW Mar 9 at 17:05
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Some panniers have straps so that they can be worn as a back-pack, for instance these reviewed ones, (no endorsement; found on a quick search). This will allow you to carry it on the rear rack when cycling, but then on your back when walking.

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  • Now that you mention it, I've seen a couple of people with messenger-type (over-the-shoulder) bags that appear to clip onto a bike rack. Don't know where to find one, though, or how well it would work in practice. – DavidW Mar 6 at 22:46
  • The Altura Morph is certainly a nice design, and can be converted while walking along, holding it in one hand. Unfortunately the main zip on mine couldn't handle my habit of overstuffing it. I got it replaced under warranty and it only lasted just over a year after that – Chris H Mar 9 at 9:24
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There are handlebar bags from multiple manufacturers that have both quick release attachment and shoulder strap. These can be carried as shoulder bag when you're away from the bike. When the bag is attached to bike, you can stuff the strap inside the bag.

This was already buried in another answer that started with big photo of lockable bag (bad idea), but I think it deserves its own.

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My second idea was to search for a similar bag, but which is easily detachable and I can take it with myself as a waist bag for example. Same story, I couldn't find anything like this on the market.

In the United States, I have heard of this sort of product being called a hip pack (e.g. this model by Patagonia, not cycling specific). An informal term appears to be bum bag, e.g. this one by Hoot Ventures, or this one by Swift Industries. However, terminology could vary by country, and such products might not be in fashion in all countries. To my knowledge, I haven't seen a lot of commuter or adventure cyclists with hip packs yet.

Our FAQ asks us to refrain from asking for product recommendations and from giving them. The above are merely offered as examples of items that fit the description in your quote. In one case, this was the first hit on Google, and the other two companies were just at the top of my memory. I don't endorse (or dis-endorse) any of these items, and I have no experience with hip packs at all.

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    Those are also often referred to as a "fanny pack" since it sits above your fanny. – FreeMan Mar 6 at 20:34
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    I used a fanny pack when I was backpacking around Europe <cough/><cough/> years ago. You still see them around occasionally, but I'd say they're not ideal for cycling. Unless you have a very upright riding posture they tend to rotate around in front of you and interfere with pedaling. – DavidW Mar 6 at 22:01
  • @DavidW I've seen them with a lightweight shoulder harness, so that they sit very low and relatively aero.. – Criggie Mar 6 at 22:13
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    Pro tip : you do NOT want to call it a "fanny pack" on the East side of the Atlantic. – Brian Drummond Mar 7 at 11:39
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I ride a Brompton, which allows me to leave the front bag on when folding. I’ve often folded it partway, leaving the handlebar up, and the bag on it which lets me push it like a shopping cart. Or I squeeze the catch, pop the bag off, fold the bike, and carry both in with me. Only once in five years has anyone asked me not to bring it in with me. (I assumed they didn’t want my business, so I didn’t give it to them.)

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Panniers that have been with you since the 1980s, to hell and back, camping in all weathers, and ridden on muddy roads and through farmyards. They don't offer perfect security but few people will want to touch them for fear of catching something.

Even then I had a small camera bag (with an extra pocket for passport etc) near teh top, that went with me everywhere, even when the other bags didn't.

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  • hehe, downvoted by the style gurus, no doubt. – Brian Drummond Mar 8 at 13:48
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I am actually designing such a device at a Hacker space at University. If you would like to give input or collaborate please let me know.

It is basically a secure aluminum polycarbonate lockable box ...

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  • What do you think the main challenges are, and how will you resolve them? EG Sharp corners in a crash - round off all corners and edges. Making it hammer and boot-proof without adding undue weight ? – Criggie Mar 9 at 19:12
  • Polycarbonate is very tough and light, same for aluminum. There are special rounded connectors I can use as well. – j.a. Mar 9 at 19:56

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