They might look strange as bicycle baskets, but waste bins are cheap and can hold big loads of groceries.
Photo by Cindy Stavehagen
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 years ago in a sale 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 waste bins. 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.