How to Make Bicycle Baskets out of Wastebaskets

Reader Contribution by Lindsey Siegele

My husband and I live in a small apartment. We adore our modest space, and it provides nearly everything we need for the time being. However, when I write blogs about How to Build Your Own Reading Nook or how to Make Your Own Homemade Hammock, I can only glance around at my small home and longingly think, someday.

“Someday” came a lot sooner than I had expected, when I finally found a Do-It-Yourself article tailored specifically to my needs: Low-cost Bicycle Baskets. My husband and I are a one-car family, which didn’t become a problem until recently when I began working three times a week at a fair distance from home. He got a job in our town, and our bus system is just slow enough to get him to work in the time that it would take him to walk there (and back some days). Needless to say, we needed a fix, and buying another car was not an option.

We decided to buy him a bicycle, which was, in and of itself, quite a chore. We bought a beautiful dark-blue 10-speed with a rear rack, unassembled. We lugged the box into our apartment, where it took up the majority of the space in our living room, and I, the “handyman” of our family, began the assembly process. I remember thinking, “How hard could it be?” right before I opened what this bicycle company had the gall to call “instructions.”

An hour later, I was sitting on the floor, close to tears, surrounded by tools and glaring hatefully at those “instructions,” which were printed in a font size so small that my 20/20 eyes could barely read them. The numerous tiny diagrams–bike parts were labeled with numbers, yet no numbers were ever defined–stared back at me from the pages, mockingly.

Today, my husband has a fully-assembled bike, but only after more excitement. He took the first bike back to the store and begged a worker for help. Then he came home and took his newly-assembled bike for its first ride…and all of its chains fell off. Muttering under my breath that buying a brand new car would be worth avoiding this nonsense (I may be the family handyman, but I’m also the designated drama queen), we trudged back to the store and took the floor model this time. No problems so far, fingers crossed.

After all of that pain and torture, I finally talked myself into starting the project that I had assumed would be at least as tedious as the bike assembly: tying baskets to the rack. My husband had been concerned, and rightfully so, about taking small errands to the grocery store on his bike and then trying to cart the bags back home. Baskets were our best bet, and we needed them to be durable.

It’s hard for me to express my gratitude for a project that is simple, takes only a few minutes and delivers. We bought a couple of cheap plastic trash cans and rope, tied it all together on the rack, and now my husband can grocery shop to his heart’s content without needing our car. Best of all, we’re saving on gas, and our carbon footprint will stay small.

I learned through Tax Credit for Bicycle Commuting that my husband may be able to score $20 a month just for riding his bike to work a few times a week or more. Maybe the whole thing will be worth it after all.

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