In praise of baskets

10729311_356503034527321_1797813743_nThe most useful feature a bicycle can have, after wheels, and maybe a seat — is a basket! Nothing makes it easier to live the bicycle lifestyle than simple, practical cargo capacity.

We don’t always live in ways which are suited for panniers or luggage racks — especially if we’re used to hopping in a car and tossing bags and kit in the floorboards or on the passenger seat. A basket can really augment a bicycle’s ease of use – especially if you have some sort of bungee cord over the top of it, to keep things from jumping out en route. It’s not practical to put a loaf of bread on a luggage rack, or in a pannier, where it might get crushed. Enter the basket!

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Baskets aren’t for every bike and every person, but they’re a great place to start. A lot of inspiration can be drawn from various Flickr groups – like Lovely Bicycle Baskets, 2 Mile Challenge – By Bike, and the Rivendell Bicycles pool. Go see for yourself!

So, do you use a basket? What cargo-carrying method is your preference?

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An update, January 2015: here’s a similar article in French! Includes some great photos of various setups.