A basket is a useful addition to any bike. Some prefer wire baskets for their strength and general utilitarian nature, while others prefer wood baskets for their natural good looks. Both are great for throwing in loose items such as mail, keys, cell phones, and small bags of groceries.
Michael points out that regardless of which bike she’s riding, people always comment on her wood baskets. She feels that wood baskets give off an aura of friendliness and approachability that draws people into conversations about where she’s riding and what she’s doing on a bike. She says that, more than any other thing, her baskets have enabled her to strike-up conversations with non-bicyclists about the benefits of bike riding. How cool!
When we ordered her new bike she insisted upon a wood basket and chose an Appalachian White Ash basket from Peterboro Basket Co. Peterboro baskets are beautiful, but they’re not as robust as some of the wicker baskets she’s used in the past, so instead of hanging the basket from the handlebars in the usual manner, I mounted it on a Rivendell/Nitto Mark’s Rack. I reinforced the bottom of the basket with thin birch plywood from the hobby store and attached the base to the rack with heavy duty zip ties. The result looks fantastic and is more stable and stronger than if the basket was suspended. Here are a few photos to illustrate what I did.
The goods: a Peterboro basket, Gorilla Glue, and two small sheets of birch plywood. Cut the plywood to fit the bottom of the basket. Glue one sheet each on the inside and outside bottom of the basket.
Place heavy weights inside the basket while the glue dries.
Ready for drilling. Set the basket in place on top of the rack and trace the outlines of the rack onto the bottom of the basket. Drill holes for the zip ties in strategic locations.
Now’s a good time to apply a little finish; two coats of shellac oughta do.
Install the basket on the rack with multiple zip ties. Voilà! Solid as a rock.
Finally, cut a thin sheet of dense, closed-cell foam to fit the bottom of the basket to keep keys and cell phones from rattling around.
Now, go ride your bike and strike up a conversation with a random passerby to extol the virtues of bike riding and baskets! ;-)