I remember the first time I needed a bike with a basket. I had a paper route and to fit all the papers, I had to mount the biggest basket I had seen or have seen since. It was the size of a small bathtub. And when it was full of newspapers, the kickstand would be overwhelmed by the ungainly load and fail in it's duty to keep the bike upright. But the basket and the bike and I adjusted to one another and papers were delivered and money was made. My bike had become a utility bike.
When the paper route ended because it was just too miserable to keep it going, I couldn't wait to get off that basket. To liberate my bike from the yoke of labor and make it into a sportsman's bike again. With a kit from the bike store my steed was soon transformed into the first of what was all the rage: a BMX bike. Or at least something that looked like a BMX bike. But from then on my relationship with bikes--from BMX to road racing--was always about sport. Not utility.
It took 35 plus years for the basket to make it's way back on my bike. And as a fan of the bike, it has been nothing short of an epiphany. As we reinvent transportation, it's easy to look for esoteric and high tech solutions. But let me say that a bike with a basket is a completely different mode of transportation than a bike stripped of it's basketness. A basket is the essence of function. The unexpected load is welcome. And the bike becomes a BUV. Bike Utility Vehicle.
As much as I was already digging on my basket, it still decided to blow my mind with it's utility on a recent grocery trip. You see I forgot my bags and in my panic I suddenly realized my basket clips on and off. No need to roll the bike down the isle picking out fruits and veggies or chocolate bars and frozen pizza. My basket was a bag!
So put a basket or a box or an old milk crate on that bike of yours and change your life.
By Alex Bogusky