On Halloween, I made my way to Target for the makings of a holiday fete. I tossed my Basil basket on the ODT and off I went. When I arrived at the cherished big box retailer, I was bummed to find that one of the welds on the arms had weakened.
Fortunately, I was able to make it home with my precariously balanced 5lb bag of sugar, multiple 2 liters, and gobs of candy and hair product. This is just the kind of thing that would happen when I'm carrying a load like this, I thought.
But the reality is, I have been hauling loads like this several times a week for the past year as I've done my grocery shopping and commuting. The year before that it was daily loads of books. The demands I have made on this basket have not been insignificant. I mean, the day before it broke I hauled a pumpkin in it, and the day before that I filled it to overflowing with objects from a thrifting excursion. While I think I may be able, in the short term, to jimmy it back together with some super glue and industrial tape or something, but I'm taking the demise of my basket as a cue that I need to reevaluate my cargo hauling strategies.
I've been thinking about that for a while. I tend to hoard library books at home because the thought of one bulky trip to campus with them all is so unappealing. Recently I bought and subsequently got in a fight with a plastic drawer unit that I attempted to anchor to my rear rack (it came apart- I had no idea those were so modular!). There are limits to what I can haul even with the basket- macaroni and cheeses work better than enormous packages or Ikea hauls.
So, what to do? In a fantasy universe (one where I have a garage and more extra cash), I'd maybe opt for an Xtracycle setup like Big Brother's. But realistically, I see two good options. One is to get another basket or pannier. I really like the concept of Public's rear bike basket, as I prefer rear loads, but I've been spoiled by the mesh on the Basil Bern. There are of course a number of options around the web if I wanted to go in that direction.
The other option, and the one that I think might be most practical in the car-free long run, would be to get a trailer. I've been loving on trailers since I saw Jeff's bicycle ice cream trailer last summer. Kent's review of the Burley Travoy only heightened the appeal-- I love that the Travoy is Dahon compatible (like my defunct basket!) and that it folds up for storage. It is quite expensive though. Yet coming across the Bike Trailer Blog today further enhanced my trailer awareness. Philly's Craigslist trailer postings unfortunately tend towards the suburbs- outside my car-free access area- but certainly there must be a cost effective way to move in the trailer direction.
For now, I'm limited to my rack and my unfortunate little pannier (its hooks aren't quite big enough for the ODT's meaty rack).
What are your thoughts on upping the cargo capacity of my bikes?