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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-02-14, 09:01 PM   #1
Archery_Queen
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commuting to school and work. I'm new at this!

so I recently bought a rear rack for my mountain bike. I couldn't ride today because it was raining. But I wanted some advice and how to lug my backpack and possibly groceries back and forth. I'm not very wealthy so I'm looking for something of a cheaper value. I was thinking milk crate on my rear rack but its not very attractive. I don't want a pannier because they are very expensive. Do you have any advice for any alternatives I can use or is using a milk crate the best way to go?

edit: if a milk crate is the best choice can it be installed with bungee cord so I can be taken on and off with ease?
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Old 04-02-14, 09:30 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums

Some people use bungee cords while others use zip ties.
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Old 04-02-14, 09:36 PM   #3
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Buy panniers used on Craigslist
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Old 04-02-14, 09:45 PM   #4
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i've seen pretty slick panniers made out of re-purposed cat litter pales.
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Old 04-02-14, 10:09 PM   #5
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I don't like milk crates because they crowd up against my butt when seated, and are also hard to swing my leg over on mounting/dismounting. Panniers also hold the weight of your cargo lower than a milk crate, which improves bike handling/stability. However if you get panniers check for heel room before you buy. If they do seem to crowd your heels as you pedal, it may be possible to position them farther back on the rack, or sometime the rack itself can be raised by screwing out extenders where the struts attach to the rear axles, and that can also help. Or else you may be able to lengthen the connectors that attach the front of the rack to the bike.

Having said that I sometimes do bungee or tie a crate to the rack and that is not difficult.

A back pack can be bungeed to the rack. I also see a lot of people carrying backpacks or other bulky items in a fold-out/collapsible wire basket that attaches to the side of the rack.

Last edited by cooker; 04-02-14 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 04-02-14, 11:06 PM   #6
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If you need help with how to attact a milk crate to your bike rack, this guy posted tutorials.

How to Add a Milk Crate to a Bicycle - YouTube

How to Install a Milk Crate on a Bicycle (using Zip Ties) - YouTube

Last edited by anon06; 04-02-14 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 04-03-14, 01:48 AM   #7
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Front basket?
milk crates are a bit too big so I have a variety of wooden planks that I strap, ziptie or wire to the rear rack as extenders.
You make an extender out of corrugated plastic that folds flat when not in use..
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Old 04-03-14, 06:29 AM   #8
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Tractorlegs has an interesting setup in the thread Overwhelmed on Rack and Pannier choices. Also, do leather saddles stain clothes?
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Old 04-03-14, 08:28 AM   #9
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I've seen a few good ideas on the net to repurpose laptop bags to panniers. And you might find such bags at a thrift store.

Last edited by treadtread; 04-03-14 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Typo. I must be careful with tablet auto-correct!
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Old 04-03-14, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archery_Queen View Post
so I recently bought a rear rack for my mountain bike. I couldn't ride today because it was raining. But I wanted some advice and how to lug my backpack and possibly groceries back and forth. I'm not very wealthy so I'm looking for something of a cheaper value. I was thinking milk crate on my rear rack but its not very attractive. I don't want a pannier because they are very expensive. Do you have any advice for any alternatives I can use or is using a milk crate the best way to go?

edit: if a milk crate is the best choice can it be installed with bungee cord so I can be taken on and off with ease?
I bought something similar to these items from nashbar about 10 years ago. I use them mostly for extra tubes, first aid and other items on family rides. if you're shopping new, you'll not likely find anything cheaper than nashbar.

Nashbar Universal Fit Mountain Rack - Bike Packs / Bike Racks

Nashbar Daytrekker Panniers - Bike Panniers/ Rack Trunks/ Handlebar
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Old 04-04-14, 09:21 AM   #11
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I've seen a few good ideas on the net to repurpose laptop bags to panniers. And you might find such bags at a thrift store.
Going to have to try and remember that one.. seems a perfect repurpose choice.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:05 PM   #12
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First off, riding in the rain isn't that bad once you get or make a cheap rain suit. They're only like $20 for a "frogg toggs" which is what I use. As for the milk crate, try spray-painting it a little just to give it some happiness. It's definitely a nice thing to have while riding. You can haul all kinds of things. Of course, a backpack will work but may get your back all sweaty.

I just use bungee cords for the crate and it works great.
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Old 04-05-14, 10:43 AM   #13
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Here in my town in Sweden, where a large percentage of the population gets around by bicycle, a lot of people have sprung mouse-trap style racks, similar to but nicer than the common Pletscher I once used in the USA. They'll use the trap to confidently attach expensive looking European handbags, regardless of the sex of the rider...

A big issue for you is going to be: What happens if it rains? I once kind of ruined some engineering textbooks when using a cheap backpack in the rain. I used them through the end of the semester, but they were wavy and crinkly. Today I use a very water repellent messenger bag that I bought ten years ago. This reminds me that it's time to replace the broken buckles...
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Old 04-05-14, 10:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 View Post
First off, riding in the rain isn't that bad once you get or make a cheap rain suit. They're only like $20 for a "frogg toggs" which is what I use. As for the milk crate, try spray-painting it a little just to give it some happiness. It's definitely a nice thing to have while riding. You can haul all kinds of things. Of course, a backpack will work but may get your back all sweaty.

I just use bungee cords for the crate and it works great.
I think I spent 40 bucks on my cycling specific rain suit, what are frogg toggs like? Wondering if I overspent.. but I do love the ones I bought.
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Old 04-05-14, 11:08 AM   #15
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This is what I imagine.



I'd like to note that this is not me in the photograph.
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Old 04-05-14, 11:39 AM   #16
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I think I spent 40 bucks on my cycling specific rain suit, what are frogg toggs like? Wondering if I overspent.. but I do love the ones I bought.
Frogg toggs are extremely breathable but somewhat fragile. It tears pretty easily if you're not careful. But other than that, it's amazing for only $20.
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Old 04-05-14, 01:18 PM   #17
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I've done this before and it worked out great. Not as goofy looking as a milk crate, and with a $7 bungee net, you can strap a backpack down to the top of it. It worked great for me since I needed the backpack for classes at the time and didn't want to haul multiple text books around campus in panniers.
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