A tisket, a tasket–

–a folding bike basket!

I’ve been using a milk crate zip-tied to my cycle for load-carrying for, oh, a month or so.  It works better than a bag, but I’ve frequently found myself wishing for both more room and a lower center of gravity.  With the load as high as it is, it can get a little precarious sometimes.

While some folks use nice panniers for this, I have avoided them thus far.  For one thing, I can’t afford them, and for another they’re likely to get re-homed in the parts of town I frequent.  So I wanted something that was inexpensive, sturdy, and utilitarian enough to be overlooked.

I also faced the constraint of intermodal transport.  In theory, I could have just used a couple of hose clamps and some zipties, and made perfectly functional basket panniers with milk crates.  No problem!  But if I wanted to use the bike rack on the bus, this would prohibitively wide.  I might could squeak by if it was just my cycle on the rack, but that is infrequent.  So, I puzzled over this, and ended up buying a pair of the folding baskets from Wald.  These were so easy to put on that I didn’t take any pictures of that.  Really, there’s a couple of screws, and that’s it.  But I will show you how they work.  Here they are in “cargo mode”.

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Nice, sturdy baskets.  Perfect!  But if we want to take the bus, we transform them (Michael Bay directing optional) into mass transit mode.  This requires about twenty seconds, and a minimum of fuss.

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Cool, huh?  I decided to take them on a field trial.  I thought they might rattle, but they do not, in either mode.  The load is lower in these than in the milk crate, which improves the ride stability.  Also, they leave the top of the cargo rack open, so you could strap something bulky (like a big package of TP or dog food) across the top, and still keep things manageable.  Size-wise, they’re big enough for a couple of bags of groceries apiece, but not so big that you get heel strike as you pedal (at least on my old frame; your chainstays may vary).  I like them a lot, and I think you will too.

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