I’ve never been able to get comfortable with locking my bike to a rack and leaving it unattended. If you have a nice ride, no matter how nice of a lock you have, it always seems like you’re just asking for someone to rip it off or monkey with it. A bike securely-locked but stripped naked to the frame is someone’s really bad day.
The latest trend among bike aficionados here in Minneapolis is camouflage. The tactic is to try and out-ugly everything in sight, making other rides more appealing to the predator. It has the anti-theft advantage of riding a super-crappy, completely undesirable bike, but it’s just a facade. In many instances, layers of duct tape, rust stickers, a nasty fender, and crackled paint are hiding a couple thousand dollars worth of high-performance machine.
MAKE Volume 11 had a comprehensive article on the subject, which is available in an online format. The photo above is from the bikehacks site. They’ve written on the subject a couple of times and have a few useful tips, including an “undo” feature: wrapping the frame in saran wrap before applying stickers and paint.