Bike Basket Options and Alternatives

From bike baskets and panniers to rear racks made of milk crates, learn what type of bike storage works for your needs.

| June 17, 2013

Everyday Bicycling (Cantankerous Titles, 2012) is a guide to everything you need to know to get started riding a bicycle for transportation. Author Elly Blue introduces you to the basics, including street smarts, bike shopping, dressing professionally, carrying everything from groceries to children to furniture, and riding in all weather. In this excerpt from chapter four, “Carrying Things by Bike,” Blue shows you the possibilities of bike storage, including how to construct a DIY bike basket.

"Experiment, don’t give up, lash it down good, go slow.” — Sara S.

When I first started riding a bike, I slung my purse strap across my chest, hopped on, and rode off. I soon graduated to putting the purse in a rickety metal front basket. This was my first bicycle accessory and the most revelatory by far until my discovery, years later, of the rear rack.

My front basket meant speed and freedom. Suddenly I could return my library books on the way to work and pick up a load of groceries afterwards without worrying about marring my professional outfit with a backpack. I could run spontaneous errands and bring leftovers home from a restaurant. In a city built for cars, I suddenly had a taste of how daily life could be not only functional without one, but easier and more flexible.

In the decade since then I’ve carried a lot of things on my bikes, and done it a lot of different ways. There’s no better feeling than arriving across town with your unlikely load intact, be it cupcakes or lumber. I’ve had my share of misadventures too, and hopefully this chapter will save you from repeating some of them. You learn, over time, to double check that your bungie cords are tight. You also learn that when you apply your brain to the task of carrying something by bicycle, there’s very little you can’t bring with you.

Wearing Your Cargo

The simplest way to carry something on your bike is often the same way you would carry it off the bicycle.

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