Secure Your Wicker Basket: Straps vs. Rack vs. Cable Ties

Spring is a clear indication that the new bike-buying season has commenced. One of the most common queries I received during this period was about baskets, specifically, the best way to secure your wicker basket to an upright transport bicycle.

Does the Wicker Basket Require a Front Rack or Other Support?

The answer to this question is, ‘It depends!’ The context is crucial in cycling. Generally, a bicycle handles better when a front load is tightly secured and well-supported. The more performance-oriented a bike is, the more critical it becomes.

For instance, a front rack is ideal on a touring bike where you ride many miles over mountain passes, do quick winding descents, lean into corners at speed, etc. But is it necessary for a bicycle you will be riding less than 5 miles to work and back? Probably not!

Are the Buckle Straps That Come with Wicker Baskets Sufficient?

The leather (or similar) straps with many baskets are suboptimal. No matter how tightly I pull them, the basket slides side to side and bounces over bumps or potholes. The metal buckles tend to clank against the handlebars, which can be irritating.

What is the Alternative to Front Racks and Straps?

Instead of the front rack or the straps method, I recommend the high-tech and lightweight solution of using cable ties (also known as zip ties). Two around the handlebars and one around the headtube pulled tightly, do the job splendidly. The basket does not bounce or slide and remains stable even when heavily laden.

What Kind of Cable Ties Should You Use?

For this job, it’s important to use thick, industrial-strength cable ties, not wispy household-use ones! The latter will easily snap under a weight load; the former is practically unbreakable. You should be able to find them in a hardware shop, commonly in a choice of black or white – and, if you’re lucky, sometimes even green.

While not as attractive as leather straps, the cable ties are pretty subtle once in place. If you long for a quaint look, you can always twine them!

How Adjustable are the Cable Ties?

The best feature of the ties is the level of adjustment they allow. Just thread them anywhere through the basket’s wicker or wiring and pull as tightly as you like for a secure, stable fit. You can cut or drill four holes if your container is made of more solid stuff (e.g., a wine crate).

This method is pretty effective for avoiding a front rack or other hardware. It does the job nicely on a bicycle used for unaggressive transport cycling.