Parking with soft luggage attached

Would you leave your bike like that? I am thinking of something like a roll bag of clothes, where it is obvious it is not anything valuable.

I am imaging a fantasy future in which I am allowed to go outside. The problem with having a bag strapped on the pillion seat is then not being able to leave the bike unattended.

I am thinking as in a car park in Weymouth, rather than the middle of Enfield. Well maybe the car park in Leicester near the mammoth, as I did once stop there for a break when I had luggage and did not want to live the bike unattended. And to go wandering off, not just leaving it parked outside a cafe where you can keep an eye on it.

Obviously nothing will stop those anyone determined, but will a cable lock be enough to deter opportunists? Or am I just being paranoid?

Those who tour with sleeping bags and the like will obviously have to deal with this issue, so presumably they must just leave them attached.

What do you all do?

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I’ve never left softbags on my bike for too long without them being within sight. Mainly stopping for food or sightseeing in a remote place.
Have left them longer when I’ve been abroad but still not keen.
If I knew I had to leave them for some time I’d probably get a PacSafe net to go around the bag.

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I saw those PacSafe nets mentioned on an adventure biking forum when searching for advice. Though they seem to be suggested rather than used, as most people said they had no specific security, other than the usual cable lock through helmets etc., and never had a problem. But being mostly U.S.-centric it felt difficult to feel it would apply here.

The only time I left my bike unattended with luggage was coming home from my dad and stopped at a Sainsbury’s in Northampton, where I was parked by the store entrance in a covered car park. And it made me get in and out as quickly as possible.

But it would be nice though to properly stop off to sightsee on journeys rather than them have to be end-to-end. Maybe even some trips with overnight stops.

Luggage - The only time I leave my tank bag on the toy is if I take out stuff I cannot afford to lose.

Enfield - That’s my home borough. Beer sometime?

Any reason for not having a top-box &/or panniers?

I don’t like to do it but on the other hand I think most people are nervous about nicking from a bike for fear of the consequences if the owner catches them at it. I remember one morning there was a Mars bar on the seat of a bike outside work and it was still there in the evening. Several of us had thought about it but decided against taking it in case the owner came along.

I do have a top box, which sometimes is enough on its own, otherwise I put bulkier items and valuables like electronics in there. The latter always inside a bag, so I can easily take it with me if I leave the bike.

I assume you mean hard panniers, the only ones compatible for my bike are the Givi V35/37 or Kappa equivalents but I would prefer the convenience of something which opens at the top. Although I do have the Givi frames, I bought them for half price in a stock clearance sale last summer. The Givi mounts points can be removed from them, so I had intended to use them to be able to make my own ammo box ones.

But the most suitable size boxes seem hard to find in the U.K., I think it was 20mm. The ones easily found in surplus stores, Amazon, and eBay were too shallow. And then that plan had to be abandoned as my dad became ill and the rest of the year was spent visiting him. Ironically when they would have been most useful.

It surprises me that no one has set up a side business of converting ammo cans as panniers — de-rusting, painting, adding locks and mounts — as I would pay extra to not have to do all that myself.

I’ve done it a few times, most people are not interested in searching though my dirty pants for something valuable.

It’s also not much harder to break into a top box then open soft luggage, so you’ve at least got rid of a false sense of security.

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No but when I look a while ago most insurance didn’t cover soft luggage whereas hard luggage was. I have a PacSafe helmet bag that I can secure to the bike. I can’t remember where I got it, but the lock that comes with it was weak so replaced with an decent ABUS. I used frequently when I’m touring, the last thing you need is to have your helmet stolen several hundred miles from home. Carrying it can be annoying. I also use a tank bag, but that is always removed from the bike as that has everything important in. If the bike get stolen, I can still get home.

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South London a couple of years back Franc and me stood 10’ from our bikes when a scrote on a scooter rolled up and took Francs helmet off his seat and disappeared into the city motor traffic. Another time I had a tank bag taken off the Bonne’ outside Halfords in Colchester, I was in and out in 2 minutes and it was gone. Top boxes are no safer, North Wales in February I almost caught the scrote removing the hinge pins to gain access to my top box, he got one pin out and made off before I got back. Central London passenger door window of Mondeo smashed and attempt to snatch brief case by a 13 year old scrote, he didn’t quite pull it off but did £500 damage to car before strolling off like it was a lazy Sunday afternoon dog walk. If it looks valuable or if they just want it some scrote will be bold enough to give it a go.

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We’ve never had an issue abroad with leaving things in soft luggage (I prefer soft). That said we’d only ever leave our helmet/gloves/jacket in them when popping out to a city/beach for the day. Anything valuable like electronics comes with me in a small bag.

Obviously you’ve got to lock the bags to provide some deterrent/peace of mind. Even if it’s just a small padlock if the luggage doesn’t have lock built in.

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The thing is, if a bike’s got a pannier/topbox on it, it’s not obvious to the passing opportunist scrote if it has anything in it or not. If there’s a bag bungied to the seat it’s pretty obvious if it’s not empty & easy to take on the off chance that there’ll be something in there that’ll pay for tonight’s fix.


There is that.

Cheers all, it sounds like a PacSafe may be a worthwhile investment as a deterrent, after which it is then left to the same hope which applies any time you park somewhere.

I wouldn’t hesitate. I have left my bike with a detachable mini tank bag - with a £350 Sat Nav inside, everywhere I’ve ever been - for years. Also done the same with soft luggage No one has ever knicked anything.

The key (for me) is to have proper tatty luggage. Tatty bike probably helps too. I wouldn’t do it with any luggage and/or bike looking remotely nice / new.


Another top tip for Euro tours - is make sure someone else has more knickable luggage :wink:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Sportsbikeshop have the Givi V35 panniers for £250, a hundred less than the usual price. Still do not like side opening, but just thinking of all that space I am so tempted just to take the easier option.