I've read of many misperceptions about bicyclists. (i.e. the ultra-athlete, being poor, being homeless, etc.). I have one more. Please follow.
I've seen durable metal baskets that are made to hold just about anything. Like paniers, they are mounted on the back of cruisers, mountain bikes, and other such bicycles. Many years ago, my parents aquired one of these and had it mounted on the back of the Schwinn 5-speed cruiser that I was riding back then.
The baskets definitely proved useful in many ways. For instance, they gave me a good place to put books while riding back and forth to school. When the returnable bottle bill laws were enacted, I had fun making quick cash by riding around and picking up empty bottles that other people had discarded on the side of the road. But one day I found the baskets were dismantled and lying on the floor of the place where trash was picked up. When I asked my parents (back then) why this had been done, I was told that despite the usefullness of the baskets, they (the baskets) would only make people think that I have a visual disability and encourage other misperceptions about myself and bicyclists in general.
Today I ride a Trek 21-speed with a rack trunk. While I don't need to carry items of the same size and weight as the ones I needed the basket for, I wonder if the metal baskets are still used, and if so, do they create misperceptions of cyclists using them and bicycling in general?