If you put the words ‘basket’ and ‘bike’ in the same sentence, most folk will conjure an image of a straight backed (probably female) Dutch bike equipped rider. Many ‘proper’ cyclists will sneer or shuffle uncomfortably when in the prescence of a basket user.
However, if you’re among the doubters but use a bike for practical reasons and not just ‘sport’, then I urge you to give a front basket a try. For if you do, you will find that a humble basket is the most useful thing that you can strap to your bike.
Why? Put simply, it makes the bike/life union sweeter. If you’re heading out of the door, you can just throw your stuff into the basket and pedal away. If you’re at the market you can wheel your bike around and throw your goods and chattels right in. If you’re riding along and need something on the move – a map, drink, camera, etc. You just lean in and pick it out. A basket converts your normal everyday handbag or manbag into a bike bag. Dang, it can even carry your dog (anything bigger than a Jack Russell Terrier might be pushing the envelope).
I’ve toyed with baskets on ‘serious bikes’ since reading Rivendell’s mind-opening piece on them and like the chaps at Riv, I’ve mounted mine to a Nitto rack, which, before the basket addition was pretty useless (i.e. it was pretty but useless). The basket I’m using right now is an old, broken rusty thing that’s sat in my garden for two years on an old Rodeo Dutch Bike (acting as a home for potted plants). However I needed something that would carry my camera bag and allow quick and easy access to my cameras for a summer of photo assigments at Sky Ride and also a spot of bike camping.It’s just zip tied on, a la Rivendell and it does the job for now.
However, I’ve ordered a smart new Oxford mesh basket which is a little narrower and is mesh, meaning that small items, bag straps etc won’t fall through the rungs and jam in the front wheel. The narrower bit is good because the existing one interferes slightly with my drop position.
Lastly, I think drop bars and a basket looks funky and unexpected and the whole package is devistatingly practical for everything from grocery getting to dog carrying to bike camping.
So come on, let’s start a basket revival!