Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Basket Case (a sequel to Life Without a Basket)

This whole bike basket situation is driving me batty.

The rabbit carrier did its job for a few days until the door hinges started disintegrating (I don't blame them; they were made of grass!).

My next basket was an oversized white hand basket I found at the thrift store. I held it onto the back rack with a length of bungee cord I keep in my car.

I really enjoyed tooling around with this basket on my bike, because, although it looked even more incongruous and rigged-together than its predecessor, it also had an undeniable element of cuteness. It was a goofy and fun addition to my bike. It was also amazingly spacious and easy to remove if I wanted to bring it into the house—just unhook the bungee cord and go! This basket lasted a day, until the ancient bungee cord snapped. Fortunately it did it overnight, rather than mid-ride!

It just so happened I had an old metal folding basket waiting in the wings. I had carried it faithfully on my handlebars for at least a couple years, but there were a number of things that annoyed me about it, so when it came time to replace it with a bona fide official handlebar basket, I wasn't sad to see it go.

But beggars can't be choosers, and as soon as I knew I was back in the bike basket market, I contacted my ex-boyfriend (at whose apartment I had left it) asking for it back. I brought it home just one day before it had to spring into action! I decided to hook it onto the side of my rack (it kept collapsing when placed on top, and the mounting bracket for my real basket was taking up all the handlebar space). I'd been considering using panniers, as they seem to be popular among the serious bike commuters—you know, the ones who wear helmets and reflective vests and such. So this seemed like a good time to try the side-mounted basket.

I'm not sure I'm impressed. There was very little clearance between it and the pedals; a few times I hit it with my foot. But of course the worst thing about this basket was its contents were too heavy for the Velcro straps holding it on, and it fell onto the trail halfway to work (and I think this is where I lost the combination lock that I keep in the side pockets of my backpack). I had to reattach the Velcro once more when I got on campus. Obviously, this cannot be my basket solution, at least until I find a more reliable way to keep it on my bike.

While at the office, I taped the bottom to the sides so it wouldn't collapse spontaneously, and strapped it to the top of the rack. That seemed to work better. At least it didn't fall off on my way home, though it did slide around quite a bit.