I tend to carry only a few items when I ride, including a u-lock and laptop in a backpack (It's not a grocery-getter or anything.) Even so, I'd like to get this stuff off of me and onto my bike. I'm thinking a front basket would be adequate for an average-sized backpack load, and it would allow paranoid me to keep an eye on my stuff as I ride. It might also keep the backpack higher up from ground level, which may or may not reduce bumps and shocks to it.) Also, my hip isn't so great at swinging a leg over a rear basket or crate when mounting my bike, which makes a front-load option seem more attractive to me.
1. How much will front-loading the bike affect response/steering?
2. Would an ultra-lightweight basket (wicker, etc) mitigate this problem?
I imagine different bike geometries handle front loads with varying success; this is the bike I'll be equipping: RA14_Venture_M_dkblue.jpg