We’re always looking for new ways to carry stuff on our bikes. Panniers are great, as are porteur racks, messenger bags, and saddle bags, but we’ve found one of the most useful accessories for everyday hauling is a basket. Wood and wicker baskets like the Peterboro basket on Michael’s Betty Foy are functional and visually attractive, though they can be a bit fragile. Wire baskets, while not as aesthetically pleasing as wood baskets, are more utilitarian and resistant to damage than their wood counterparts. We tested the Wald Woody earlier this year and really liked it, so now we’re trying out the smaller Wald 137.
Wald baskets have been made in Maysville, Kentucky, USA since 1929 and are undoubtedly the best wire baskets available. They’re constructed from zinc-plated steel and nicely finished with no burrs or edges to catch on bags or clothing. The Wald 137 is a medium-sized basket, perfect for carrying a single bag of groceries, or a small commuter bag, laptop bag, or camera bag. The 137 normally comes from the factory with struts, but we ordered ours without struts for mounting on an existing rack. The basket can easily be attached to almost any front or rear rack using either small hose clamps or zip ties.
When used in conjunction with an elastic cargo net, reusable shopping bags work well for carrying groceries in a wire basket. Simply do your shopping, drop the bag in the basket, and lash it down with the net. This is a workable system, but Rivendell has taken the concept a step further with their good looking and heavy duty shopping/storage bag called the Sackville ShopSack.
The ShopSack is offered in two sizes. We tested the medium which is specifically designed to fit the 137 basket. The construction is typical high-end from Rivendell including the best Scottish cotton duck (it’s the same material used by Range Rover for their protective covers), military-spec webbing, melted and smeared thread-ends, and brass fittings. It’s a simple but lovely bag with just one main compartment. It’s nice enough to be used as a carry-all in a professional environment, while also being tough enough for hauling tools or camping supplies. We really like the size and construction; the capacity is about the same as that of a standard grocery sack, but because of its more robust construction and zippered top, the ShopSack is much less unwieldy than a reusable shopping bag filled to the brim.
At $40 the ShopSack is not cheap for such a simple bag, but the price is certainly justified by the fact that the quality is as good as it gets in bicycle bags. My guess is that it will last many years and end up being a great value over time, while also being stylish and functional in the process.
The Wald 137 and Rivendell Sackville ShopSack are nice products on their own, but their functionality increases exponentially when used together. The basket can easily be attached to any existing rack, and with the addition of the ShopSack, the carrying capacity is effectively doubled while the issue of carrying small items in a wire basket is eliminated. Add to this the convenience of carrying the bag with you into the grocery store, library, or office, and you have an extremely functional system that is welcome addition to almost any bicycle used for commuting, shopping, or errands.
Disclosure: Wald and Rivendell are sponsors of this site and provided some of the items used in this review.