14 May, 2018

Bike Build Idea: Welcome to the Basket Life

by Igor

My first extended use of bike basketry was in college. In between cutting pennies in half to save up for new panniers and running to classes that were way too early, I would ride to the local grocer on my MTB/Townie conversion with a well used Jim Blackburn rear rack and basket found around (not in!) a dumpster. Loaded with the staples of college life, I would ride back hoping that the bungees would keep everything secure long enough to get home. Since then, I moved on to panniers, handlebar bags, and dedicated rack mounted bags.

In more recent years, the simple basket has made a resurgence in popularity for mainstream tourists and commuters alike. I think it's a bit of a backlash from bikepacking luggage and its often times over-complex system of straps, pads, inaccessible from the saddle dry bags, more straps, lashes, plastic holders, and straps. It's a happy medium between the practicality of traditional touring bags and the out-of-the-way-of-obstacles afforded by bikepacking bags.

Whether practicality or guidance from the Deep Basket State, I was feeling the gravitational pull of Basketlife. And with our new Transporteur Bag, I can relive throwing everything in a sack on the go, while having everything properly secure and dry.

Here is my Polyvalent to which I added a Wald 137 Basket and Transporteur Bag. The daily commuting load isn't heavy enough to necessitate the carrying potential of a Porteur Rack, but the added volume is welcome for grocery runs on the way home, portaging business stuff around town, or packing extra photography equipment.

Adding a basket to your Randonneur, Constructeur, or Porteur Rack is a breeze. P-clamps are sturdy and semi-permanent, but I like the option of taking the basket off if I want to use a traditional handlebar bag for on-bike accessibility during long rides. A hearty set of strategically placed zipties makes quick work of installation.

While the Transporteur is designed to work best with our Porteur Rack, the bag also works perfectly with the Wald 137. The lower straps and buckles go right through the wire mesh and connect to the upper roll-top buckles. It's easy as pie. You can use the included velcro straps as well, but I didn't find it necessary once the sides are cinched up.

I added a Snapper Sack and Cell Phone Pocket to the outside of the basket for quick access to my angry (seltzer) water and snapgram machine.

I've been happy with this new do-it-all setup? How is your do-it-all ride set up? Flat bars? Internal gearing? Wet brakes and robo-shifting?


Jon BALER said...

I have a roll-top bag, and find bag designers over complicate how to keep it closed. I simply have two bungees strapped across the top of basket. I push them slightly to the side to fill the bag, roll the bag closed, and then let the bungees sit over the top bag and keep it closed. I can adjust the height by moving the bungee position on the basket rails, but that is very rarely needed. I use tarp/ball bungees, so I can also simply pull half the bungee to quickly get more height without unhooking it.
Works great for commuting at higher speeds, and never had an issue with the bag opening up.


Ken Mastri said...

A bike with a basket is a beautiful thing! I too love Wald baskets because they’re strong and they’re still made in the USA like they’ve been doing for many decades. My bit of advice: Make sure a front basket installation won’t interfere with your front brake. Also, if you don’t use a bag with your basket, get a stretchy cargo net to keep your contents inside, because they can really bounce out all over the street. I speak from experience.

Beau said...

This bike is set up almost exactly like mine. I even have Campy shifters. That VO stem has been perfect (although I did trim it down to get low in my small headtube) My basket touring bike has been the best addition to my stable in years.