Last spring, we moved to an area that is only one and a half miles from a grocery store and slightly farther from the public library and other shopping areas, allowing me to do some errands by bicycle. The nylon bicycle panniers I picked up from a sale bin had worn out. I wanted practical, lightweight and low-cost carriers on my bike that also wouldn’t bruise my shins. The usual options — baskets, panniers, a box strapped to the back rack — all failed on at least one count.
I decided to try small, rectangular plastic wastebaskets. I drilled quarter-inch holes under the rim along one side and a few more in the bottom for drainage in wet weather. My husband, an old sailor, knotted the bicycle baskets to the rear rack with nylon rope. The baskets rattle a bit when I hit a bump in the road, but that’s no problem, and they can tilt up to be emptied of leaves and other debris. I use 16-quart bins, which seem to be just the right size. With these baskets, I can carry a dozen library books or a couple days’ worth of groceries.