How to Make a Bicycle Basket Cheap

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A good bicycle basket improves your ride, whether for transportation or recreation, by allowing you to carry items without straining your back or needing to carry a bag with you just in case you need to carry something. There are several ways to make your own bicycle basket cheaply.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 basket, crate or bucket made of plastic, sturdy wicker or metal
  • 6 sturdy zip ties (optional)
  • 2 to 3 bungee cords (optional)
  • Old bicycle inner tube (optional)
  • Measuring tape
  • 3 rubber-insulated metal circular or U-shaped clamps, with matching bolts and nuts (optional)
  • Marker
  • Pick your container. Old plastic shopping baskets, small plastic baskets, or wicker baskets can be attached to handlebars to carry light items such as water bottles, small books and snacks. Milk crate-sized storage boxes or metal shopping baskets can be attached to front or rear luggage racks and are the perfect size for a bag of groceries, a backpack or a messenger bag.

  • Find your desired container. Purchase plastic baskets at dollar or discount stores. Thrift stores frequently have piles of old wicker baskets; look for one with a flat side to fit against your handlebars with a loose enough weave to attach fasteners. For plastic crates and metal baskets, check the organizing or storage section of larger stores. For the cheapest basket, look around your house or ask friends and family if they have extra containers. Garages and basements can be great sources of unused baskets and boxes.

  • To attach a container to a front or rear luggage rack, use bungee cords or zip ties. To attach baskets or crates with bungee cords, stretch two of them in an "X" and either run them across the inside bottom and out to hook the ends into the rack, or run the cords underneath the rack and pull the hooks up into the corners of the container. You may need a third bungee cord to run the length or width of the container to keep it from sliding around. Zip ties are another option if you can attach them so that the container doesn’t slide.

  • To attach a basket to handlebars, use a few tightly cinched zip ties, or short lengths of an old bicycle tube, tied through the top of the basket and your handlebars. This may not be sturdy enough, especially if you have chopper or cruiser style handlebars. In that case, measure the diameter of the ends of the handlebars, and buy 3 rubber-insulated round clamps with holes in both ends from your local hardware store. Hold your basket up against the handlebars and use a marker on the basket to indicate where the clamps should attach to the sides and bottom of the handlebars. Hook the middle of the clamps into your basket and secure the ends with a bolt and nut.

Tips & Warnings

  • Loose bungee cords can tangle in your spokes and ruin your wheel. Make sure they are attached firmly to the rack, stretching but not straining. Thick zip ties or metal hardware fixtures are safer.
  • Test ride your bike around the block, with the basket attached and holding some typical items you might carry, to make sure everything stays put.

References

  • Photo Credit Maria Teijeiro/Lifesize/Getty Images
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