5 Solutions For Carrying Nearly Anything on the Back of a Bike
Photo of a Pomeranian in a Basil Animal Basket via Michelle @ A House Called Nut.
One of the best parts of urban city cycling, once you get into it, is seeing every day what other people come up with in order to get themselves and their stuff- and sometimes their entire families - around on a bike. We reviewed some of the great ways to haul stuff on the front of your bike, and now here are five ways to carry a little or a lot of stuff on the back of your bike. But if you've devised a better way to do it, don't be shy. Tell us about why it's a great back-of-the-bike hauling solution in the comments, and include links!
1. Basil Pasja Rear Animal Bicycle Basket
The Netherlands' Basil has got to be the leader in inventive and cool bike carrying devices. The largest Pajsa basket will fit a medium-sized pooch and mounts above the back baggage rack (not included). About $85. Basil also separately sells a safety wire frame cover if your dog is prone to taking wild leaps. Many pet owners also use a harness to keep their dog (or cat) safely in the bike basket. The basket is so beautiful it can do double duty for groceries, though lacks a carrying handle. Other Basil bags we love are the Newspaper Bag and the admittedly girly Rosa Double Bag.
Photo of three kids and backpacks (no dog, however) in a Madsen, via Carfreedays @ flickr.
2. Madsen Cargo Bike
To haul a few kids and/or lots of stuff in this 40-gallon capacity, rigid LLDPE bucket, you'll have to buy one of the few U.S.-made cargo bikes, the Madsen. It's priced at $1,299 and has an easy-step-through frame, eight speeds, and is adjustable to body heights from 5 feet to 6'6". The Madsen bucket is not terribly pretty, but it's sturdy, and comes with a rear removable seat and two seat belts handy not only for the little kids but also any strangely shaped cargo, from your surfboard to your garden tools, to (of course) your pooch.
Photo Jon Sheldon via Xtracycle gallery — fully loaded with 3 kids, 6 bags groceries, 3 baseball gloves and a doll!
The Xtracycle, which essentially adds a narrow back seat and a set of deep carrying pockets to your existing bike by extending the chassis, is a superior city utility machine. The Xtracycle platform is designed to be light and stable, to maintain your riding pleasure while you add the weight and extras that full urban cycling eventually demands. To turn your own bike into an Xtracycle requires at minimum a FreeRadical base frame extender and LongTail kit, for about $500. Loads of accessories available.
Photo via Queen Bee Creations.
4. Pink Pluma PanniersThere are loads of bike panniers, but those just released by Queen Bee Creations in Portland, Oregon, are especially nifty. The Pink Pluma Panniers, sold in a pair for $230 (and also available in black with silver wings) use PVC-faux leather and features reflective side panels. They mount at the back of your bike's baggage rack with steel o rings and then clip to the top with J hooks. There's a handle for picking up the pair of panniers, as well as a removable shoulder strap. Total weight of the bag is 1 pound, 10 oz. As with most panniers, you can't really just throw stuff in as you can with a basket, but they are great and protective for clothes and work stuff. Also check out Cyclelogical for good panniers with urban sensibility. The $40 Minima and $50 Mento are both especially cool, going from back of the bike to your office conference room with ease. And if you want high fashion in your back-of-the-bike tote, new Po Campo bags, manufactured in Chicago, are also very fun.
Photo of CycleTote trailer attached to an e-bike via Carl Chatfield.
5. CycleTote Trailer
The folks at CycleTote have thought long and hard about ways to make bikes versatile stuff-hauling machines. But you never see their great line of trailers in stores — they hand-make their trailers in Colorado and only sell direct, with a lifetime warranty. They also have added a 'Recycle' page where people sell their used trailers, as they seldom come up on Craig's List or Ebay. The Touring Model, priced at $380, will carry everything from a bale of hay to a fully-packed Rubbermaid 28.8 gallon tub with ease. These aluminum trailers are lightweight and have their own braking system - but don't forget they do swing out behind your bike, so take care on corners.
Visit the Treehugger archives for more on bike bags
Five Cool Cargo Bikes and the Return of the Long John
Brad and Angelina's New French Home
The Apprentice Features Eco-Bike Bag
Bike Carriers for the Supermarket Run