The Most Important Bike Accessory You'll Ever Own

©. Adeline Grover (age 6)/ TreeHugger Sami on an e-bike

Sometimes it's the simple things that make all the difference.

It's been a while since I posted an update of my experience owning a Blix Aveny e-bike. And the first thing to note is that the many unexpected benefits still hold true: I feel more confident in traffic; I turn up on time; and I definitely bike more than I used to.

But there's one aspect in particular that has turned me into a convert, and it has nothing to do with the Aveny's electric drive. Instead, it's as simple as one of these:

bike basket

Marco Monetti/CC BY-ND 2.0

That's right. The fact that the Aveny comes already equipped with a humble, sturdy bike basket (plus a solid rear luggage rack too) has been one of the most substantive differences compared to my old bike. It probably sounds obvious to anyone who has already discovered the joy of a bike basket, but there's something immensely practical about not having to worry about backpacks or pannier bags when you want to run a quick errand to the grocery store.

A case of beer? No problem. Two six-packs of beer? Also no problem. A small bag of non-alcohol related groceries? Also totally doable, although a lot less fun. And because the Blix's basket has a built-in coffee cup holder, I could—if I wanted to—go pick up a latte without worrying about spilling it.

Now my bike is equipped to run such small errands without a second thought, I'm reminded of an often overlooked fact: Cars are actually not as convenient as we've been led to believe. Whether it's finding a parking spot versus pulling up at the bike rack, or getting through downtown traffic just to pick up that aforementioned six pack, there's no doubt in my mind that the bike is now faster, more fun, healthier and more practical in almost every way.

It only took the humble bike basket to finally hammer home this fact.

I share this in the full knowledge that most around town bikers are simply going to respond with a simple "duh". But for those of you who, like me, for no real discernible reason have been making do with an old mountain bike to get around town—with no splash guards, luggage racks, basket or fixed lights etc—I highly recommend spending some time adding the simple, cheap add-ons that make biking more practical.

Sure, e-bikes are magic and, if you're a lazy soul like me, they'll likely increase the amount you bike. But bike baskets are magic too. And they are a whole lot cheaper to own.

What's your favorite life-changing, low-tech bike accessory?