July 5, 2009
I thought I would do a blog post answering some of the frequently asked questions I get in the comments section of the blog - they're easy to answer, but I figured I would post them if any of you were curious.
I've had inquiries into what kind of helmet I'm wearing. Ditto with the basket I've got on my bike.
I ordered both from Jorg & Olif when they were still open for business in Vancouver. The helmet works great for me, but has attracted some ridicule because it's not actually a bike helmet. I didn't know this when I bought it (the helmet was from a bike place) but the helmet is a black kayaking helmet that says "predator" in shiny black lettering on its matte surface! I still wear it anyway.
My basket is hard core! A reader correctly pointed out that I don't use the standard Pashley basket. The Pashley one is cute and wicker and all... but the wicker is thin and the base of the basket is quite narrow which makes it really difficult to carry lots of groceries. All the basket cargo ends up sort of spilling up and over the basket brim. It's alright if you have bungee chords to keep it all down so I still use it on my other bikes since it's easy to detach and attach with little leather buckles.
My non-Pashley basket that I use on the Pashley bike (I hope this isn't confusing you all) has a round and deeper base so the basket is shaped more like a cylinder and less like a cone. More volume means being able to carry way more stuff, and the wicker is thicker and stronger. It also has these two super strong metal prongs so it hooks onto the handlebars and is also easy to detach and attach. I lot of people like the idea of taking the basket to go shopping. I used to do that until I found out that the ends of wicker in the weave would bruise and poke open my peaches and tomatoes. I find it way more convenient to carry a reusable bag (the ones that fold into a little pouch) and just put the bag into the basket.
A tip for you basket users: I found that the basket bottom would bounce around and was putting a dent in that front, vertical tube. Sorry, I'm not a technical bike buff. The tube that the handlebars come out of. To fix this I bought a roll of velcro tape. Cut off a long strip. Wove it through the wicker at the basket's base to create a bit of a puffy cushion. Then I wrap the velcro around the aforementioned vertical tube so it stays put while I'm riding. Ta da!
So my hard core basket is from a place that is no longer in business. So sad. I went to buy Leanne a good basket last week and found a very nice one at redbbike so I'm sure anybody looking for a good wicker basket will find a suitable one. Things to look for are just making sure the mounting apparatus fits on your handlebars (I hate seeing saggy baskets), and that the cargo capacity suits your needs.
When Chelsea was looking for a basket for her Amsterdam we opted for one that mounts on the rear rack. Her handlebars has this gorgeous headlight on it and a basket wouldn't fit. I've also heard of lights being re-wired and mounted elsewhere to make room for baskets but you don't have to if you're satisfied with the back basket. Hers is wire and black. Looks great!
Don bought this one (above) for his rear rack. I find it heavy. He likes it fine, and puts bottles of wine in it with bungees to keep things from falling out. Lining it with some ghetto cardboard also helps keep things from falling through the big squares.
There are all these baskets that have wire cages on top for pets. I find that Dougal is just fine hanging out over the top. If you're bicycling with a pet make sure that his harness/leash are securely fastened to your handlebars. Pets are smart but there is no guarantee!
I heard from a friend that in Japan she would just see ladies put their babies right in their bike baskets! Believe me, I would do the same if I wasn't sure that I would probably get stopped by the cops here and subsequently get reported to social services. Here in non-Japan we're all about rules and safety and fearing for our lives. Yeah yeah yeah...
Even disguised as a bunny, I don't think Dexter and I could get away with it.