One of the things that drivers rarely think about is carrying cargo in their vehicle. After all, when you have a bunch of horsepower available, who cares about carrying things? And on top of that, even the smallest cars have ookoodles (that means “a lot”) of space next to what a cycle can offer.
This was a problem for my particular bike. Not only was it propelled by my admittedly lackadaisical propulsion, but it also had no way to carry cargo other than in a bag. After once again trying to fit a week’s worth of packages into my European Shoulder Satchel (totally not a man-purse), and ending up tying packages to the handlebars, I bitterly vowed to find a better solution.
The problem was than my bike is old, and lacking any sort of braze-on where I could affix a cargo rack. After perusing the various options, I settled on this rack from Amazon. After all, it was universal, and rated for a whopping 170 pounds! Surely a few packages would be okay…
Well, I went to install it, and was a little underwhelmed. First, there were no instructions, not even a hastily cobbled together, poorly translated mimeograph. But I eventually figured it out and got the thing together on my bike to mirror that shown on the internets.
However, the “universal” attachment proved to be unworthy of use. Even a slight push on the rack was too much for the supports to bear, and the apparatus swayed drunkenly (even unloaded!). I pondered this for a moment, and after a few minutes of making sure everything had been attached properly (and no small amount of grumbling), I decided to discard most of the supplied rack.
I had a little bit of 1 ¼” wide, 1/8″ thick steel lying around, so I decided that if I replace the supports with something more substantial, I could probably get the cargo rack to work. I started by cutting out a piece of steel.
Then, I marked out where I needed the attachment holes to be and used my brace to spin up a drill bit–
Okay, not really. I draw the line at metalwork. And anything that seems really difficult. So I harnessed some electrons and drilled out where I needed the holes. Cutting fluid is important here because it keeps you from overheating (and ruining) your drill bits.
To attach the braces to the frame, I used a couple of holes that were already in the frame (presumably for just such an application) and tapped them for ¼-20 threads.
After I had the first piece all figured out, I could use it as a guide for the second piece. Notice that in order to properly fit, the top of the stays have to be beveled.
A couple of bolts (make sure they’ll clear your spokes before you start riding!), and the rack was attached.
Once that was done,
I painstakingly attached the bespoke cargo basket I zip-tied a milk crate to it and called it good. It’s held up so far, under a fair bit of weight. So though the factory settings were pretty abysmal, it ended up being pretty useful with a bit of modification. It also has the added benefit of being so ugly that no one is likely to steal my bike…